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/.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Airmail 3.3.2 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Numi 3.15.1 - Menu-bar calculator suppor...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
Airmail 3.3.2 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Numi 3.15.1 - Menu-bar calculator suppor...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
Backblaze 4.3.0.44 - Online backup servi...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Numi 3.15 - Menu-bar calculator supports...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
EtreCheck 3.3.3 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
BusyContacts 1.1.8 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best new games we played this week
We were quite busy this week. A bunch of big mobile games launched over the past few days, alongside a few teeny surprises. There're lots of quality games to load your phone with. We've gone and picked out five of our favorites for the week. [... | Read more »
Magikarp Jump beginner's guide
Magikarp Jump is a mystifying little game. Part Tamagotchi, part idle clicker, there's not a whole lot of video game there, per se, but for some reason we can't help coming back to it again and again. Your goal is to train up a little Magikarp to... | Read more »
Goat Simulator PAYDAY (Games)
Goat Simulator PAYDAY 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICES **iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better Goat Simulator: Payday is the most... | Read more »
GRID Autosport delayed until autumn
Sorry mobile racing fans -- GRID Autosport has been delayed a few months. The game is now expected to launch this fall on iOS. Feral Interactive announced that they wanted more time to work on the game's UI and overall performance before launching... | Read more »
Zombie Gunship Survival Beginner's...
The much anticipated Zombie Gunship Survival is here. In this latest entry in the Zombie Gunship franchise, you're tasked with supporting ground troops and protecting your base from the zombie horde. There's a lot of rich base building fun, and... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish (Games)
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish 1.2.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.2.2 (iTunes) Description: Explore the ruins of the City of Mordheim, clash with other scavenging warbands and collect Wyrdstone -... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish brings tablet...
Legendary Games has just launched Mordheim: Warband Skirmish, a new turn-based action game for iOS and Android. | Read more »
Magikarp Jump splashes onto Android worl...
If you're tired ofPokémon GObut still want something to satisfy your mobilePokémon fix,Magikarp Jumpmay just do the trick. It's out now on Android devices the world over. While it looks like a simple arcade jumper, there's quite a bit more to it... | Read more »
Purrfectly charming open-world RPG Cat Q...
Cat Quest, an expansive open-world RPG from former Koei-Tecmo developers, got a new gameplay trailer today. The video showcases the combat and exploration features of this feline-themed RPG. Cat puns abound as you travel across a large map in a... | Read more »
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels (Games)
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** WARNING: iPad 2, iPad Mini 1 & iPhone 4S are NOT compatible. ** *** Special Launch Price for a limited... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Memorial Day savings: 13-inch Touch Bar MacBo...
B&H Photo has the 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 11-inch MacBook Ai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models recently discontinued by Apple), available for up to $170 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1449.99 $150 off... Read more
15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro o...
MacMall has the 15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLW82LL/A) on sale for $2569 as part of their Memorial Day sale. Shipping is free. Their price is $230 off MSRP. Read more
Free Tread Wisely Mobile App Endorsed By Fath...
Just in time for the summer driving season, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has announced the launch of a new Tread Wisely mobile app. Designed to promote tire and vehicle safety among teens and... Read more
Commercial Notebooks And Detachable Tablets W...
Worldwide shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs), comprised of traditional PCs (a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables), are forecast to... Read more
Best value this Memorial Day weekend: Touch B...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available for $230 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 o...
Overstock.com has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973 with free...
Adorama has the 2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973, $16 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.