Stupid question about VED documentation files 
Author Message
 Stupid question about VED documentation files

This is a dumb question, but then I'm a complete Pop novice.

Looking through printed manuals (like the postscript version of the primer)
I see references to VED commands like this: "teach teach", "teach ved", etc.
But looking through the files as they are stored on disk, and also in a VED
session, I see references like this: "teach * teach", etc.  What is the
asterisk for?

I'm using the Windows version of POP, if that helps.  (I guessed that the
asterisk might be some kind of formatting code, but of course the Windows
version has almost no fancy display capabilities.)

Thanks,

-- Derek



Wed, 05 Feb 2003 13:47:51 GMT  
 Stupid question about VED documentation files
[NOTE CAREFULLY: To reply replace "Aaron.Sloman.XX" with "A.Sloman"]

Quote:

> Date: 19 Aug 2000 05:47:51 GMT

> This is a dumb question, but then I'm a complete Pop novice.

It's not a dumb question, actually. I guess I should put something
about this in the primer, when I have time.

Quote:
> Looking through printed manuals (like the PostScript version of the primer)
> I see references to VED commands like this: "teach teach", "teach ved", etc.
> But looking through the files as they are stored on disk, and also in a VED
> session, I see references like this: "teach * teach", etc.  What is the
> asterisk for?

This is a relic of the days when the editor was being developed in
the early 80s before we had bit-mapped displays with mice, and the
only way to move the cursor was via keys on the keyboard. Someone
had the bright idea that a cross reference in a documentation file
had an asterisk preceding them then the keyboard sequence
    ESC n
("n" for "next") could be mapped onto a Ved procedure vednexthelp,
which would search forward to the next one.

It was already the case by then that
    ESC h
would read the item to the right of the Ved cursor and fetch the
help file corresponding to it, if possible. So with the cursor on
the asterisk here: * STRINGS, the ESC h sequence would fetch the
HELP strings file. (Upper case was mapped to lower case. Many of the
documentation files used upper case to make the cross references
stand out).

This was further generalised as follows. If one of the key- words
"TEACH", "HELP", "REF", "DOC", "SRC", "LIB" (and others which could
be added as needed) was found immediately to the LEFT of the cross
reference (before the asterisk, if an asterisk was used, which was
optional), then that key-word would determine what sort of cross
reference it was. E.g. using ESC h with TEACH * MATCHES would get
the file called 'matches' first found in the list of teach directories
(vedteachlist) whereas "HELP * MATCHES" would get the first file called
'matches' found in the list of help directories, vedhelplist.

Those lists usually overlap, so if there's no corresponding teach file
it might look for the help file. E.g. TEACH * STRINGS will actually get
you the help strings file.

The "LIB" or "SHOWLIB" keyword will invoke ved_showlib (= ENTER showlib)
and search in the list popuseslist, which contains a list of program
source directories.

The "REF" keyword (like the "ENTER ref" command) had an extra feature:
if a file was not found with the appropriate name (E.g. REF strings)
then a special index could be used to find an entry WITHIN an
appropriate REF file, (e.g. REF substring)

All this allowed Ved's online documentation and program libraries to
function as a huge self-referencing hypertext system.

If you want to know more about the mechanisms used, see
    HELP vedsysfile, HELP vedgetsysfile

For people who are used to it and become fluent with ESC h, and related
facilities, it provided a very  useful source of information about a
very large and complex toolkit. For novices it could be very confusing.
Various attempts were made to provide helpful routes into the
documentation to facilitate the learning process, but you can't learn to
drive a car or play a violin in a few days.

See: HELP documentation, HELP LIBRARIES, HELP HELPFILES,
TEACH TEACHFILES,  REF REFFILES

Incidentally a lot of the AI teach files and associated libraries that
come with poplog are out of date, and some use old, out of date, pop-11
syntax or programming style (e.g. with "vars" for local variables
instead of "lvars", and "-> y -> x" instead of "->(x, y)" for
multiple assignment).

There are many new versions of the teaching files and programs developed
in Birmingham, with associated libraries in the Free Poplog directory

    http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/poplog/

e.g. in the teach/ help/ auto/ and lib/ subdirectories. The most useful
of these, at least for our teaching purposes, have been combined in the
gzipped tar file:
    bhamteach.tar.gz
which can be unpacked in the $poplocal/local/ directory.

One of the files contains a useful summary of Ved commands and key
sequences (as mapped onto the terminals we use):
    http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/poplog/teach/quickved

a more extensive overview is in
    http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/poplog/teach/vednotes

Both are in the bhamteach.tar.gz file.

Comprehensive documents included with Poplog are
    HELP vedkeys, REF vedcomms, HELP VEDSEARCH
and many more referred to in those files!

A further point: in the early 90s a decision was taken by the poplog
developers to replace plain ascii text files with files containing
special character sequences that Ved would interpret as indicating that
graphical characters or special fonts (bold, underlined) should be used.
These files include "character attributes" documented in REF ved_chat.

This made many of the documentation files look better in VED but spoiled
them completely for people using Emacs or other editors. I thought that
was a drastic error and have never used the new format for any of my
documentaion.

However the free poplog site contains an Emacs package for Poplog users
which provides a partial solution.
    http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/poplog/emacs.tar.gz I don't know
if it can be made to work with emacs on windows.

I hope that helps.

Aaron
===
Aaron Sloman, ( http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/ )
School of Computer Science, The University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

PAPERS: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/cogaff/
TOOLS: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/poplog/freepoplog.html



Wed, 05 Feb 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stupid question about VED documentation files


Quote:
>All this allowed Ved's online documentation and program libraries to
>function as a huge self-referencing hypertext system.

Does this predate BT's 11-year old "hypertext" patent, filed in the USA,
in relation to which, they are claiming the intent to pursue American
ISPs for license fees?

Regards,
--
Jeff



Wed, 05 Feb 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stupid question about VED documentation files

Quote:
> Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 12:32:42 +0100
> Organization: SouthStar Computers Ltd.

[I previously wrote]

Quote:
> >All this allowed Ved's online documentation and program libraries to
> >function as a huge self-referencing hypertext system.

[Jeff]

Quote:
> Does this predate BT's 11-year old "hypertext" patent, filed in the USA,
> in relation to which, they are claiming the intent to pursue American
> ISPs for license fees?

I don't know anything about the BT patent, but the ideas implemented
in Ved go back a lot more than 11 years. E.g. HELP VEDGETSYSFILE is
dated August 1985. Some of the work was done by Mark Rubinstein, the
first author of that file, who left Sussex University to join GLH
shortly after that. (They were re-implemented in a new form by
John Gibson in the mid 90s, so the original program libraries are
no longer included with poplog.)

We were working on the cross-referencing mechanisms, and included
them in poplog long before I ever heard the word "hypertext".

Poplog, including Ved, first became a commercial product in 1982 (in
that year we sold it to about 20 commercial organisations for about 3000
pounds and a larger number of universities for about 300 pounds). In
1983 Systems Designers Ltd took over commercial marketing.

The idea of search lists for HELP, TEACH, etc. commands were there
before that. At first the "ESC h" command worked only as a surrogate
"help" command. That was probably working by 1981 or 1982. So in that
sense hypertext was invented, and implemented and sold by 1982.

The mechanism was included in the version of Poplog marketed by SDL, and
demonstrated at IJCAI in Germany in 1983 on a Vax running VMS.

I don't know when the generalisation to include multiple
(user-extendable) categories of cross references was added, but as the
1985 help vedgetsysfile document shows clearly, the mechanisms were
already well worked out by then.

So if BT are claiming to have been the first to invent these ideas
around 1989, that is incorrect.

I am not claiming that hypertext was in Poplog first. The ideas are
so natural that I expect they have been reinvented many times.

Incidentally there were BT users of Poplog some time before that,
though I can't remember details.

Aaron
===
Aaron Sloman, ( http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/ )
School of Computer Science, The University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

PAPERS: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/cogaff/
TOOLS: http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/poplog/freepoplog.html

The mechanisms



Wed, 05 Feb 2003 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 4 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. Running Ved from Ved

2. Binary File Manip. - Possibly a stupid question

3. DRAFT Ved utility for editing files whose names have spaces

4. VED sometimes overwrites current buffer when reading in file

5. Error when loading files in ved

6. PYTHON: problem using file.write method (stupid, beginner)

7. Stupid Q: binary sequential files and FORTRAN-77

8. Seemingly Stupid Question

9. Stupid question

10. Stupid Question 101

11. Really stupid question

12. Stupid newb question: What am I doing wrong?

 

 
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software