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SimpleText was created to integrate the many different versions of TeachText that were created by different groups within Apple. As such, it has a number of features that are not fully fleshed out - SimpleText is not an integrated package, nor is it meant to be.
SimpleText is the utility knife of software. It's not too complicated, and it won't let you down if you don't ask for too much. Apple ships it with every Macintosh. It is a simple text-editing tool with support for the standard editing primitives, saving and printing, even with non-Roman languages and with QuickDraw GX.
SimpleText supports Drag & Drop, which simplifies the creation of documents by allowing passages to be moved around visually instead of the old copy and paste method.
SimpleText's possibly greatest feature is that it allows developers to create Read-only Release notes that include text, pictures, and sound.
SimpleText checks the file type of text documents to determine if they are modifiable or if they should be opened as read-only, allowing the user to scroll through the document or print its contents, but not to modify it. If the file type is
Adding Sound to Your Document
SimpleText allows you to record one sound, up to 24 seconds in length, which you can play back by selecting Play from the Sound menu.
Sound can be in modifiable (type
The sound is stored as
To add sound to a document: open the document with SimpleText, go to the Sound menu and choose Record. The following dialog box appears as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. The dialog box for sound recording.
Input is from the Input source selected in the Sound control panel. Simply begin recording and save the document when you are done.
If you want to put more pre-production into your sound, or have a longer sound embedded in the document, you need to have a
Once a sound is added to a document, all that is required to play the sound is for the user to select Play from the Sound menu. You will probably want to have a line of text in your document that alerts the user to the fact that there is a nifty audio clip available, and to hear it, they need to choose Play from the Sound menu.
Playing QuickTime Movies with SimpleText
QuickTime movies can also be played back from SimpleText, but they cannot be embedded in the document. If a release requires (or just happens to have) a QuickTime movie, the user simply has to have QuickTime installed and has to open the movie to view it. The movie is opened in its own window with the standard QuickTime controls at the bottom of the window.
This feature is meant to allow users to view a QuickTime movie if they do not have MoviePlayer; it is not intended to replace MoviePlayer, and as such does not allow for any type of editing (i.e., no Cut, Copy, or Paste).
3D Without the Glasses
SimpleText works with QuickDraw 3D objects in much the same way that it does with QuickTime movies. 3D objects can't be embedded in the document, but SimpleText will open a QuickDraw 3D file (type 3DMF), display it, and let you rotate, zoom in and out, and translate the object's axis. The user can even drag and drop the objects from SimpleText into the Scrapbook!
Making SimpleText Sing
Well, you can't actually make SimpleText sing, but it can talk using Text To Speech technology (and some of the voices almost sound like they are singing). To make SimpleText speak, simply install the Text To Speech software, open a document and choose Speak All from the Sound menu. You have the choice of any of the voices offered in the Voices sub-menu, some of them sound really nice, others are just for fun.
SimpleText can also speak only the selected text: select the text you want spoken and choose Speak Selection from the Sound menu.
How SimpleText Handles Pictures
SimpleText operates on documents of the two file types previously described, and both types may contain pictures. Pictures tend to disappear, however, when editing the document in which they are contained, thus all documents which contain pictures should be distributed as read-only (i.e., file type
A document's pictures are stored as purgeable '
Figure 2. Picture with non-breaking space and surrounding text
If there are more non-breaking space characters than '
As it happens, TextEdit is particularly messy about redrawing large portions of the screen when a user is entering text, and this makes editing documents with pictures rather clumsy. Since resizing the window causes another scan for non-breaking space characters as well as an update event, sizing the window in any way causes SimpleText to "refresh" the pictures.
Creating Release Notes With SimpleText
So how do you use SimpleText to create Release notes? It's easy. Get those creative juices flowing, grab a cup of strong coffee (or your favorite highly caffeinated beverage), and read on.
Write the Text
You can handle this part yourself. Use any word processor or text editor that supports saving to text-only files (i.e., those files of type
SimpleText now lets you use different fonts, sizes and styles in your documents. No longer are you held captive to only one font. Be brave, spice up your document, this is a Mac, not a VT100. Just remember that people actually have to read this document, so don't make it so cluttered with fonts and sizes that it's illegible. Also stick to the standard fonts like Times, Helvetica, and Geneva, since if the font is not installed on the reader's system, the text will end up in Geneva.
Draw the Pictures
First make a backup of your Scrapbook file (you should find it in your System Folder) if it contains anything you consider important. After backing it up, throw away the original copy (this makes things much easier later on in the process), but don't worry, if you made a backup you can use it to restore the original when finished. If you prefer, you can just rename the Scrapbook file, which effectively makes a backup copy.
Unfortunately, the ideal method for creating a picture involves both a paint program and a draw program. Once you are finished with your pictures, save them to a document, then do one of the following:
1. If you used a painting program to draw your pictures:
2. If you used a draw program to draw your pictures:
At this point, regardless of which program you originally used to create your pictures, they should all be in the Scrapbook and in bitmap form (after being copied with a Lasso tool from a paint program).
Because of a quirk in the Printing Manager and PostScript(R), you have to perform a few more steps.
Adding the Pictures
Launch ResEdit and open the text-only SimpleText document (you may want to work on a backup copy). SimpleText saves every document with a resource fork that holds the font information, so ResEdit should not warn you about the file not having a resource fork unless you created the document with a program other than SimpleText.
Open your Scrapbook file (the one with all the pictures in it). Its ResEdit window should contain a '
Now you need to put the pictures into the proper numerical order so they show up in the correct order in the SimpleText document. Numbering starts at 1000 (i.e., first picture should be 1000, second picture 1001, etc.). To order these pictures, double-click on the '
That's the difficult part; the rest is icing. Go get some more coffee or whatever it is you are drinking.
Edit the Text to Make It Look Pretty With the Pictures
Launch SimpleText and open your document. Find the location where you want to place the first picture and position the text cursor there. Enter a carriage return or two (more if you want more space before the picture) then a non-breaking space character (Option-Space Bar, remember), which will be invisible.
Now resize the window, and voilà, when the window redraws, your picture will be just below the non-breaking space character. Now enter as many carriage returns as necessary to provide space for the picture. When you enter the first carriage return, SimpleText will erase the picture, so you will need to resize the window again to verify your spacing, clicking the zoom box works well.
Once you have enough room for the first picture (you probably want to leave an extra blank line or two after it too), move on to the next desired picture location and repeat the process. Continue this process (and don't forget to save the document along the way) until you have placed all of the pictures. When you finish placing the pictures, you should save the document again and try printing it on both an ImageWriter and LaserWriter if possible. You may wish to tweak the picture spacing or location to keep them from crossing printed-page boundaries.
When you are satisfied with the results, Quit SimpleText.
Making the File Read-Only
Make a copy of the file (to save a step if you decide to edit it again) then launch ResEdit. Now choose Get Info from the File menu and change the file type from
That's all there is to it.
A Few Hints On Creating Good Documents With Pictures
The following hints should help to make your SimpleText document creation faster and more efficient as well as make the final document as nice as possible for the user.
ResEdit(TM) Reference, from Addison-Wesley