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Author Topic: A QB Online Help Online (QBOHO) for the 21.1st century  (Read 12251 times)
Jofers
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« on: September 11, 2011, 12:35:21 AM »

About a decade ago I was learning perl, and programming QBASIC, and so I took a stab at making this:
http://qbasicnews.com/qboho

It was basically a translation of the old QuickBasic 4.5 online help files to HTML.  Wildcard agreed that it was ballin' and put it up for the world to see.

At the time, it was a huge project for me.  I tried so hard to find information about the Quickhelp format that I somehow contacted Ralph Walden of Microsoft about it. He actually replied by email, basically telling me that he lost the 1980s-era source code between his couch cushions and that I should find a girlfriend or something.   What I ended up creating was a mix of regular expressions, IE's propietary DOS codepage support and horribly broken IE-only shtml that would make your face melt away Raiders-style if clicked "view source".

Of course, since then I've acquired many a job and degree and my better half that normally keeps my stupid-project-starting in check is out of town.  So I thought it would be a cool labor day project to revamp the old girl, and give her some friends:

QuickBASIC 4.5
http://betterwebber.com/projects/qoho/qb45.php?article=qck!h.default

QuickBASIC 7.1
http://betterwebber.com/projects/qoho/qb71.php?article=qck!h.default

QBASIC 1.1
http://betterwebber.com/projects/qoho/qbasic.php?article=qbasic!h.pg1

DOS 6.22
http://betterwebber.com/projects/qoho/dos622.php?article=help!h.pg1
http://betterwebber.com/projects/qoho/dos622.php?article=help!cmdcontents

This time around I wrote a full-on RTF parser, and HTML emitter that keeps track of tag order uses Unicode instead of hoping that you're just using a dos-based browser.  It's in Python, while it's contradictory to write a QBASIC love letter in Python, it gets the job done.  Gets the job done about as fast as a handicapped turtle climbing upstairs to pass a reform bill through congress, but it gets the job done.

Source code:
http://betterwebber.com/projects/qoho/qoho.zip

I was hoping to use just straight-on UTF-8 encoding and the white-space: pre CSS tag, but IE8 hasn't really gotten it's act together with CSS 2.1 support and MySQL doesn't like non-BWM unicode pages so I'm stuck using HTML special tags for everything.  But it's flexible enough to produce output however you like.

If anyone is interested in hosting a copy on their website, including the proprietor of this fine website, all the machinery necessary is included in the source code.  I'd be happy to provide support if there are issues.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 12:38:41 AM by Jofers » Logged
wildcard
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2011, 07:13:56 PM »

Really nice work, I will put up the new version when I get a chance.

Good to see you still around.
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