Wednesday, December 21, 2005

RB Browser/Editor for Language Reference

I've written a "quick and dirty" RB Browser/Editor that not only makes it easy to add your own annotations and code snippets to the Language Reference files so that your additions can be accessed from within the RB IDE, but also makes it easy to add links to relevant outside materials in HTML.

Some Mac users may have discovered the book (in HTML format) I Declare: Calling External Functions in REALbasic by Charles Yeomans. If not, you can find it at this address:

After downloading the HTML files to disk (making sure all links in the book to other places in the book were in relative rather than absolute format), I used my RB Browser/Editor program to modify the first page of the Language Reference so that it contained a link to the home page on disk of that shareware book.

It works beautifully! (I've since removed the link, since the book seems to be more oriented toward Mac users than Windows users, but the experiment confirmed how simple it is to increase the material that is accessible from within the RB IDE.)

My program can be used, of course, not only with the Language Reference in HTML format (it is that version rather than the PDF version that is being accessed from within the RB IDE), but also with any normal collection of interlocking Web pages (including CSS as well as HTML). Warning, however: Although it works fine in Windows, it has not been tested on the Mac or in Linux.

Since the program's primary function is to edit Web pages but it contains no provision for FTP, it is designed to work not on the Internet but with disk files, especially Web sites on disk (and that is basically what the Language Reference and the book I Declare are). Instead of linking to I Declare, you could link , say, to your own collection of code snippets (after you've put them on HTML pages)..

One more thing I should perhaps mention. Although my program makes it possible to surf fowards or back through HTML pages and makes it possible to preview the results of your changes and/or additions before you decide whether or not to save them, therre is one shortcoming: Any annotations and code snippets and outside links you may add are NOT included in RB's Search within the RB IDE. But I do not consider that to be an especially significant drawback.

The program (including source code) is available at this address:

It's called RB-BE-LR.rbp because it's an RB Browser/Editor for the Language Reference.

Barry Traver

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