TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 97 MacTech Online

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: MacTech Online

MacTech Online

by Nicholas C. "nick.c" DeMello <online@mactech.com>

Building a Better ReadMe

You just finished your latest program and realized that the average user will never discover three of the new features on their own (or at least not appreciate the advantage of those features without a little explanation). That same user will find out that your program is incompatible with seven shareware system extensions that you couldn't accommodate, and that user will send you e-mail about each one -- separately. It's time to create your release notes (creatively titled "ReadMe"). This column lists a few online resources to make building your ReadMe just a little easier.

Keep it Simple

Most release notes are distributed as documents of the type "ttro" and creator "ttxt" -- SimpleText read-only documents. Originally, TeachText, SimpleText is that small text editor that gets added to your hard disk with every Apple software installation. Various groups at Apple enhanced TeachText to make it a better vehicle for their particular technologies. In 1995, a half dozen of these "enhanced" versions of TeachText were combined to form SimpleText, which can now create styled text, display colored text, play QuickTime movies, drag and drop text editing, convert text to speech, record sounds, play sounds, and has limited support for QuickDraw 3D.

Notice I said "display colored text" -- not create it. The easiest way to add colored text to your ReadMe files is with Alessandro Levi Montalcini's SimpleText Color Menu utility. This utility can modify a copy of SimpleText by installing two new menus. Features in the new menus allow you to colorize text, search, search and replace, store a default text style, and gives you the option of opening read only documents as editable text.

Pictures can be added to your SimpleText documents with a resource editor. Open the document with ResEdit or Resorcerer and save your pictures as 'pict' resources (number them 1000 and up) into the resource fork. Then, open the document with SimpleText and enter a non-breaking space (option-spacebar, the ASCII character $CA) where you want each picture to appear. SimpleText will draw 'pict' ID 1000 horizontally centered on the screen. The top of the picture will begin where the first non-breaking space appears. SimpleText will display 'pict' ID 1001 at the second non-breaking space and so on. Because SimpleText is a text editor, it will only allocate enough space on the screen for the non-breaking space character (not the picture), you will have to add sufficient white space to make sure the picture doesn't overlap text. Apple's Technote 1005 (by Bryan Stearns, revised by Mark Cookson), "The Complete Guide to SimpleText," provides a detailed description of fine art of importing 'pict' resources into SimpleText documents.

Download PICTify by Scott A. Johnson to help you collect those 'pict' resources. PICTify is a system extension which allows you to grab screen shots (cropped as you take them or of the whole screen). In addition to being able to take screen shots with menus down, PICTify has a feature to allow you to grab only the contents of the foremost window--ideal for taking quick pictures of dialog boxes. Best of all, PICTify allows you to save your images as either pict files or 'pict' resources.

SimpleText is not able to save documents as 'ttro'--but that is how Apple recommends you distribute your release notes. There are a number of utilities for changing file types, but I'm particularly fond of a freeware utility called "TEXT <-> ttro." It toggles files dropped on it between "TEXT" and "ttro" types, and causes the finder to immediatley update the icon (something many type utilities fail to do).

SimpleText
ftp://swupdates.info.apple.com/Apple.Support.Area/Apple.Software.Updates/US/Macintosh/Utilities/SimpleText_1.3.sea.hqx
Alessandro Levi Montalcini, author of SimpleText Color Menu
http://persoweb.francenet.fr/~alm/
Technote 1005: The Complete Guide to SimpleText
http://gemma.apple.com/dev/technotes/tn/tn1005.html
Scott A. Johnson's PICTify
ftp://mirrors.aol.com/pub/info-mac/gst/grf/pictify-15.hqx
TEXT <-> ttro by Laurence Harris
ftp://mirrors.aol.com/pub/info-mac/text/text-to-ttro.hqx

Beyond SimpleText

SimpleText isn't your only choice for creating distribution documents. Mark Wall's feature rich DOCMaker is the standard for creating stand-alone, self-running document files. DOCMaker allows you to add hypertext, pop-up graphics, startup-splash screens with sound, and even lets you import RTF files. It's overkill for a ReadMe, but when you find it's time to start including a manual with your application, this is the right tool.

Marco Piovanelli is the author of the WASTE (WorldScript-aware Styled Text Engine) library. This powerful text editing engine has been incorporated into many text editors, and appropriately enough into Marco's own answer to SimpleText. Piovanelli's scriptable Style editor lets you paste graphics from your clipboard within styled and colored text, then save those documents as stand-alone self-running documents, as read-only SimpleText, RTF, or your choice of over a dozen word processing formats.

DocMaker 4.8 by Mark Wall of Green Mountain Software
http://www.hsv.tis.net/~greenmtn/
Marco Piovanelli's Style (also the WASTE -- WorldScript-aware Styled Text Engine -- Library)
http://www.kagi.com/authors/piovanel/

These and other links are available at the MacTech URL database www.mactech.com/magazine/urls/.

 
AAPL
$108.00
Apple Inc.
+1.02
MSFT
$46.95
Microsoft Corpora
+0.90
GOOG
$559.08
Google Inc.
+8.77

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Vitamin-R 2.20b1 - Personal productivity...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Dropbox 2.10.44 - Cloud synchronization...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
Sandvox 2.9.2 - Easily build eye-catchin...
Sandvox is for Mac users who want to create a professional looking website quickly and easily. With Sandvox, you don't need to be a Web genius to build a stylish, feature-rich, standards-compliant... Read more
Cocktail 8.0.1 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.3.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
VMware Fusion 7.0.1 - Run Windows apps a...
VMware Fusion allows you to create a Virtual Machine on your Mac and run Windows (including Windows 8.1) and Windows software on your Mac. Run your favorite Windows applications alongside Mac... Read more
OneNote 15.3.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.4 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.0.0 beta 3 - Powerf...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more
TextWrangler 4.5.11 - Free general purpo...
TextWrangler is the powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator's tool. Oh, and also, like the best things in life, it's free. TextWrangler is the "little brother" to... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Monster Flash Review
Monster Flash Review By Jordan Minor on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ALONE IN THE DARKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Solid shooting and a surprising amount of spooky tension make Monster Flash a great portable... | Read more »
Retry Review
Retry Review By Rob Thomas on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: SOARING HIGHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Flappy who? Let Retry wash all those bad bird-related memories away on a cool retro-flavored flight… right... | Read more »
Dementia: Book of the Dead Review
Dementia: Book of the Dead Review By Lee Hamlet on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: A TOUGH READUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A witch hunter is sent after a demonic book in the spooky but short-lived Dementia: Book... | Read more »
Card Dungeon, the Semi-Board Game Roguel...
Card Dungeon, the Semi-Board Game Roguelike, Has Been Renovated Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Logitech Protection + Power iPhone5/5S C...
Made by: Logitech Price: $99.99 Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Usability Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars Reuse Value Rating: 0.75 out of 5 stars Build Quality Rating: 0.75 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 1.25 out of 5 stars | Read more »
This Is Not a Test Goes Free, Permanentl...
This Is Not a Test Goes Free, Permanently Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 31st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Swap Heroes Review
Swap Heroes Review By Campbell Bird on October 31st, 2014 Our Rating: :: STRATEGIC SWAPPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rotate a cast of heroes to fend of waves of monsters in this difficult, puzzle rpg.   | Read more »
Night Sky Pro™ (Reference)
Night Sky Pro™ 3.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Reference Price: $2.99, Version: 3.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Night Sky Pro™Wonder No More™ Night Sky Pro™ is the ultimate stargazing experience. From the creators of the original... | Read more »
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena (Games)
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A zombie shooter audio game. Made from gut-wrenching 3D binaural sound, for a new kind of weird immersion. You... | Read more »
RPG Asdivine Hearts (Games)
RPG Asdivine Hearts 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: SPECIAL PRICE50% OFF (USD 7.99 -> USD 3.99)!!! Travel alongside four companions and a cat in the adventure of a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Tablets Ascendent Again; Global Tablet Market...
The worldwide tablet grew 11.5% year over year in the third quarter of 2014 (3Q14) with shipments reaching 53.8 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 2014 13-inch R...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Apple Regains Momentum As Windows Stutters An...
The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to March 2014, shows Apple performing strongly in the first quarter of the year, with sales bouncing back in... Read more
Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Increase 25.2%...
New smartphone releases and an increased emphasis on emerging markets drove global smartphone shipments above 300 million units for the second consecutive quarter, according to preliminary data from... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 2014 15-inch M...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Apple drops prices on refurbished 2013 Retina...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on 2013 Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros, with Retina models now available starting at $999. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and... Read more
New 2.8GHz Mac mini on sale for $949, save $5...
Abt Electronics has the new 2.8GHz Mac mini in stock and on sale for $949.05 including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller... Read more
Sale! 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro available for...
 B&H Photo has the 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro on sale for $2649 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $350 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from any... Read more
Mujjo Steps Up The Game With Refined Touchscr...
Netherlands based Mujjo have just launched their Refined Touchscreen Gloves, stepping up their game. The gloves feature a updated elegant design that takes these knitted gloves to the next level. A... Read more
Sale! Preorder the new 27-inch 5K iMac for $2...
 Abt Electronics has the new 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale and available for preorder for $2374.05 including free shipping. Their price is $125 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Being a Business Manager at an Apple Store means you're the catalyst for businesses to discover and leverage the power, ease, and flexibility of Apple Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As more and more people discover Apple , they visit our stores seeking ways to incorporate our products into their lives. It's your job, as a Store Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Solutions Specialist with *Apple* Knowledge...
Company Description: We are an Apple Authorized Sales and Service Provider. We have been selling and servicing Apple computers in the Fairfield County area for over Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.