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lynx-dev MacLynx Update...? [was: Newbie Question]

From: pAb-032871
Subject: lynx-dev MacLynx Update...? [was: Newbie Question]
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 00:04:09 -0700

>> The chance to share information,
>> and possibly be of assistance to someone on a completely different
>> hardware/software platform appeals, but I don't want to be rude,
>> appear stupid or go over things that have already been discussed to death.
>> I also don't want to give bad advice.
> it's not clear what you mean.

Just that any long-standing group will develop its own culture.  You can
see it in Usenet newsgroups, on Hotline servers, and [surprise] in the
real world.  I don't mean clannish behavior neccesarily, just the
natural tendency to build communities, with their own rules that
everyone IN that community seems to understand.  Basically, I don't want
to piss anyone off without meaning to.

About the "strengths, weaknesses & eccentricities". . .  I think I'm
going to like it here :-)

> if you're stupid, someone will probably inform you of the fact politely.

Honesty is the best policy. . .

> topics which keep coming up are tables & Javascript,
> mainly because no-one has found time & will-power to tackle them.

Personally, I don't see much point in supporting JavaScript, but then
again, one of my favourite things ABOUT Lynx is that it's stripped:
lean, fast, basic, and brutal, with no unneccesary features and and
absolutely NO window-dressing.  Next to Mozilla, compare a bus to an
offroad motorcyle.  Some sites are innaccessible without JS support, but
most authors use <NOSCRIPT> wisely.

However, a little quick-and-dirty table rendering might be nice.  Some
thoughts about that are in another letter.

> if you are a Mac user, you do fill a gap.
> any chance you could try porting 2-8-3 to the Mac OS ?

Hmmm, maybe THREE.8.3 ?  I don't know much about coding, but in a short
time I've learned a lot about modifying existing applications in
ResEdit, HexEdit, EtcEdit. . .  One thought I've been entertaining
lately is to add reference material to the MacLynx application itself,
making it easier for beginners to figure out [you're right: there really
aren't many MacLynx users out there, and it could be the steep learning
curve at the beginning that does it].

The thing is; it's is VERY much a UNIX program operating in a Mac
environment.  Quite alien.  If I were to set you down in front of this
box right now, you'd probably be totally lost, but if I fired up MacLynx
for you, you'd immediately know exactly what you're doing.  The same is
true of Mac users, but in reverse.

There are other ports that are easier to use, tarmac for one.  But it
doesn't realy have much of an interface to begin with: just a simple
drag&drop utility where you select some files/folders, drag them over
the tarmac icon and TAR the lot of them.  Feathering comes later,
whenever's convenient.

Anyway, I've thought of adding a pulldown menu which lists the default
keybindings [NON-functional, but a handy reference], so a new user
doesn't have to go back and forth between LYNXKEYMAP: and the page
they're viewing.  I could even add icons to these menus -- like an
illustration of the keypad, showing what the movement keys do.

Another idea would be to translate the online help docs from HTML to
plaintext, and add these as well [in the form of submenus, branching off
from one named "Help"].  A lot of them contain links to remote documents
though, so I'd want to keep some of the original HTML.  Pretty easy to
do: 1-document = 1-menu, 1-line of text = 1-menu-item.

All that wouldn't add too much to the application size, and probably
nothing to the memory footprint if these added resources are made
purgeable.  lynx_users_guide.html is FAR too big to do this with, but
otherwise, it might actually save space.  The lynx_help folder [minus
the user's guide] takes up about 78k on disk.  Plaintext is often
smaller than HTML, and multiple texts pasted into the resource fork of
one file take up even less space [the Mac OS reserves 2 to 3k for EACH
file on disk, even if that file is only a few bytes in length.  This
"wasted space" acts as a buffer against fragmentation when, for example,
you add text to an existing file and save].

Back to porting:

MacLynx hasn't been updated in three years or so, and the author may
have abandoned his project.  Oliver Gutkneco does have his Alpha-5
source-code available for download, however, and -- provided I learn
more about programming -- I might be able to get the Beta-1 source if I
ask nicely.

In any case, it wouldn't be starting completely from scratch.

> you might learn some useful things for yourself in the process.

Hope so.  See above.  :-)

> ========================,,============================================
> SUPPORT     ___________//___,  Philip Webb : address@hidden
> ELECTRIC   /] [] [] [] [] []|  Centre for Urban & Community Studies
> TRANSIT    `-O----------O---'  University of Toronto

Nice sig btw.  Did you know Vancouver B.C. has an extensive electric
transit system?  It did when I was a kid anyway, and there were some
electric busses around last time I was there.  [Sorry about the
Mozilla/bus analogy.  Sounded good at the time.]


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