[fpc-pascal] OS/2 INF help support

Tomas Hajny XHajT03 at mbox.vol.cz
Wed Sep 9 11:01:40 CEST 2009

On Wed, September 9, 2009 09:18, Graeme Geldenhuys wrote:
> Tomas Hajny het geskryf:
>> remembered it wrongly. I'm happy to be proven wrong.
> http://owbuilder.malakovi.cz/snapshot/
> I downloaded the Linux IPF compiler from here... I don't know how recent
> that copy is though.

Apparently more recent than the latest release (1.8), because it's the
snapshot building machine for OpenWatcom.

>> Simple pictures are certainly no problem (although I believe that the
>> INF
>> format only supports BMP files - no JPG, no GIF or PNG, etc.). However,
>> I
>> was more referring to more advanced formatting possibilities; yet again,
>> this may or may not be important depending on your needs and
>> expectations.
> I do not understand "advanced formatting possibilities"? INF supports

One simple example - INF/IPF specifies the size in characters (see e.g.
table column size). The format (IPF this time) is primarily based on the
assumption of working with monospaced raster fonts (which btw makes the
specification of fonts completely non-portable). There are many more
examples for sure, I'd just need to dig through the documents to remember
them. In any case, the limitations make the format very nice for stuff
like our text mode IDE.

> only BMP and MET (meta graphics). INF also supports hyperlinks via text
> and graphics. For the graphics you can also support segmented graphic
> links -- one image containing various links to different help topics or
> other help files etc... Similar thing to HTML's image map support.
> http://tinyurl.com/nvjvdz
>  or
> http://publibfp.boulder.ibm.com/cgi-bin/bookmgr/BOOKS/ej6c2b00/

Neither BMP nor MET are very efficient from storage/compression point of
view. Yet again - it was fairly advanced at its time, but its age is
visible now. Still, it works pretty well, it's just not that "fancy" any

> What I am doing at the moment is reviewing various help formats so I can
> implement something that works for fpGUI based applications. I do not
> limit myself to the exact feature list of previous help formats. The INF
> is a case in point. If I want to support png images in INF, I will add
> such support in the viewer and compiler. Obviously, then I will change
> the help file extension as no to confuse other users thinking the INF I
> use is the same format as the INF used in OS/2.

OK, that is certainly a viable approach (with its obvious limitations
stemming from the fact that it becomes a new format).

> I'm collecting a feature list for application help. Good compression,
> speed, size, easy help authoring etc... Obviously I start off with the
> stock help formats and add my personal needs from there - if the stock
> help format doesn't support what I want.

OK, clear.


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