[fpc-pascal] Documentation strangeness

Graeme Geldenhuys graemeg.lists at gmail.com
Mon Apr 5 17:25:44 CEST 2010

On 5 April 2010 16:19, John Coppens <john at jcoppens.com> wrote:
> Sorry for my ignorance - what are INF files? Google seems confused too.

INF files are compiled (binary) IPF [Information Presentation
Facility] help files. It is the help file and digital document format
originally created by IBM for the OS/2 operating system. IPF is a very
easy to learn mark-up language specifically designed for documentation
and produces very good text layout. INF can be used as a help file or
as a digital book (similar to PDF).

For the fpGUI Toolkit project, I looked for a cross-platform help file
format that I can use for the fpGUI project itself and that developers
could use to implement help for their own projects/applications. I
needed something that is a single file (so no raw HTML), that is very
fast and compact. I evaluated various help file formats and decided to
use INF.

Since then, I created a add-on for FPC's fpdoc program to generate IPF
output for class documentation. I also implemented a cross-platform
INF viewer called fpGUI DocView. The Open Watcom project implemented a
open source IPF Compiler (wipfc) which runs under OS/2, DOS, Windows
and Linux. wipfc is a 1MB download. At a later date I'll implement my
own IPF Compiler in Object Pascal which can hopefully be included with

I also translated the FPC Language Reference (latex) document to INF
format, so now language reference, class documentation (RTL & FCL0
help is available in IDE's like Lazarus or MSEide. DocView is very
easy to integrate with these IDE's via their 'external tools' options
- no need to write some add-on plugin/package for the IDE's.

Docview supports: Table of Contents, runtime generated Index or can
use the Index included in the INF file, bookmarks, inline annotations,
full text searching, search keyword highlighting, reading multiple INF
files together as one help file (all done at runtime), font
substitution, exporting articles to text etc.

Wikipedia has some information on IPF.

I'm busy redesigning the fpGUI website which will then include more
information regarding INF and DocView and some screenshots.

  - Graeme -

fpGUI - a cross-platform Free Pascal GUI toolkit

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