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Author: Jim Fisher
Title: Introduction to the Printed Version

Creation Date: 8/6/2004 10:38:42 PM
Last Updated: 8/6/2004 10:38:42 PM

An Inform Developer's Guide: Introduction to the printed version

This guide, in its latest form exists at inform.onyxring.com. All of the articles contained here are stored as HTML fragments in a database. When a browser requests an article the HTML fragment is pulled from the database, munged together with generic web-site code and displayed. This is how the site's article archive has been designed and it has operated successfully in this fashion for years now. One page, one article. For a time, everything was good... or so I thought.

As the web site began to accumulate more and more regular hits, and the number of articles began to grow, I began to receive innocent e-mail requests:
"Mr. Fisher, I really love your site, but I really would like to print off all the articles at one time. Can you produce a single version that I can print off?"

"Hey OnyxRing guy! It hurts my eyes staring at the screen all the time. Can you produce a single version of your Inform Guide?"

"Jim, I'm tired of this whole Internet thing and I really hate having to look at your site's articles one at a time. Can you produce a PDF file or something?"

"Look you lazy, Dweeb! You should quit holding Roger Firth's awesome TextPad article hostage for site-hits and share it everyone else. Why don't you make a PDF file or something. The DM4 and IBG are both in that format. It can't be that stinking hard, you selfish twit!"
So, deciding to give in to this constructive stream of suggestions, I began to look into what it would take to do a conversion. Obviously a major concern was the frequency in which the site articles changed. A conversion needed to be relatively painless since it would need to be updated frequently.

In the end, being a somewhat lazy individual (as one person pointed out), I wrote a little code to do this for me. My HTML to PDF converter took a few weeks to write, but seemed to be more or less successful at what I was trying to accomplish. If you are reading this from Adobe Acrobat or flipping through a printed hard copy, then you are reviewing the result.

Some of the articles translated extremely well to the printed version. Others translated with a lesser degree of success. For example, the FAQ -- which was designed to be read online -- is riddled with references to Cascading Styling Sheets and the Article Rating System (neither of which exist in the printed version). Hyperlinks also have not been translated so particularly ugly remarks akin to "click here to see such-and-such" seem particularly out of place. As time goes by, I hope to modify the articles to make them more agreeable to both web and printed mediums.

Despite short comings in the translation, this product represents a sizeable amount of work, and I am proud to present what has been repeatedly requested of me for several years: An Inform Developer's Guide in PDF form, the most recent version of which can be found at:


Thank you,

Jim Fisher

Copyright 2004 - 2021 : Jim Fisher
OnyxRing.com has been given the potentially non-exclusive right to display the content of this article. However the original author retains all rights. Permission to reproduce this article -- either in part or in whole -- is left strictly to the discretion of the original author.

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