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

CleanMyMac 3.9.2 - $39.95
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused files... Read more
Printopia 3.0.4 - Share Mac printers wit...
Run Printopia on your Mac to share its printers to any capable iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Printopia will also add virtual printers, allowing you to save print-outs to your Mac and send to apps.... Read more
Tinderbox 7.3.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
ExpanDrive 6.1.6 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Printopia 3.0.4 - Share Mac printers wit...
Run Printopia on your Mac to share its printers to any capable iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Printopia will also add virtual printers, allowing you to save print-outs to your Mac and send to apps.... Read more
Tinderbox 7.3.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
ExpanDrive 6.1.6 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
VOX 3.0.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
Merlin Project 4.3.3 - $289.00
Merlin Project is the leading professional project management software for OS X. If you plan complex projects on your Mac, you won’t get far with a simple list of tasks. Good planning raises... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 7.1 - Copy, backup, an...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp mid-game gu...
By this point, you've probably hit or surpassed mid-way inAnimal Crossing: Pocket Camp.The game changes quite a bit as your focus slowly shifts from endlessly fulfilling requests for campsite buddies to improving your amenities. Here are a few tips... | Read more »
Mille Bornes (Games)
Mille Bornes 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Blob gets a new look in Give It Up! 3
Blob makes his triumphant return, as Yoozoo Games and Invictus Gaming have joined forces to create Give It Up! 3, the third in a series of delightful action-adventure games featuring our wobbly friend Blob. In this newest adventure, you’ll get to... | Read more »
148Apps' Ultimate Guide to Black Fr...
Black Friday is here, and there are a whole lot of discounts running right now for folks on the lookout for new mobile devices, accessories, and yes, even games. Here's a helpful rundown of what you'll find both in stores and online. Happy... | Read more »
The best Black Friday mobile game deals
Black Friday's upon us, and if you've happened to nab a fancy new phone during the week's big savings, you might be searching for some new games to fill up space on your new gadget. There are a lot of great games on sale right now for Black Friday... | Read more »
The best mobile games to play while your...
Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect with loved ones, eat lots of food, and all of that jazz, but once the festivities start to wind down, folks tend to head to the couch to watch whatever football is happening for Turkey Day. | Read more »
The best Black Friday deals for Apple ga...
Black Friday is hours away at this point, but many popular retailers are getting a jump on things with plenty of pre-Black Friday sales already available. Many of those early bird sales including some sharp discounts on the latest Apple phones... | Read more »
The Inner World 2 (Games)
The Inner World 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Solve mind-bending puzzles in a world full of mystery and save the family of the flute-noses! Their dynasty has been... | Read more »
warbot.io wants you for the robot wars
Fans of epic gundam-style battles will find a lot to love in warbot.io, the first game for up and coming developer Wondersquad. The game saw a lot of success when it first launched for browsers and Facebook, and now even more people are getting the... | Read more »
Uncover alien mysteries in cross-genre s...
If the Alien franchise taught us anything, it’s that landing on a strange planet at the behest of a faceless corporation is probably asking for trouble. And Eldritch Game’s Deliria doesn’t prove otherwise. In 2107, Dimension LG7 is rich with... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple 9″ 32GB iPad for $80 off on Walmart onl...
Snag a 9.7″ 32GB WiFi iPad for $249 on Walmart’s online store as part of their Black Friday sale. That’s $80 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for an iPad so far this season. Sale price... Read more
Apple Black Friday sale for 2017: $150 Apple...
BLACK FRIDAY Apple has posted their Black Friday deals for 2017. Receive a $150 Apple gift card with the purchase of select Macs and up to $100 with various iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watches. The... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 12″ MacBooks on sale for $150 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 12″ 1.2GHz... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $130 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13″... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 27″ and 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 27... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Black Friday sale, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $399 $100 off MSRP – 2.6GHz... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Find the best deals and lo...
Scan our exclusive price trackers for the latest Black Friday 2017 sales & deals and the lowest prices available on Apple Macs, iPads, and gear from Apple’s authorized resellers. We update the... Read more
Black Friday: 27″ 3.4GHz iMac for $1599, save...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.4GHz Apple iMac on sale for $1599.99 as part of their Black Friday sale. That’s $200 off MSRP, and shipping is free. Their price is currently the lowest price available for this... Read more

Jobs Board

Information Systems Engineer, *Apple* Retai...
# Information Systems Engineer, Apple Retail Engineering Job Number: 112895982 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 02-Oct-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Read more
Commerce Engineer, *Apple* Media Products (...
# Commerce Engineer, Apple Media Products (New York City) Job Number: 113028813 New York City, New York, United States Posted: 20-Sep-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Read more
Business Development Manager, *Apple* Pay -...
# Business Development Manager, Apple Pay Job Number: 112919084 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 18-Aug-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
Digital Marketing Media Planner, *Apple* Se...
# Digital Marketing Media Planner, Apple Services Job Number: 113080212 Culver City, California, United States Posted: 03-Oct-2017 Weekly Hours: **Job Summary** 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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.