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Arachnid for Macintosh (and Power Macintosh)

ß1.6 ReadMe

Arachnid is COPYRIGHTED by the University of Iowa.

Welcome to the Beta 1.6 release of Arachnid. This is a maintainence release to correct a couple of problems.
Version 1.5.7 suddenly stopped playing QuickTime movies and displaying linked image files in the Active Mode. This has been fixed.

JPEG import now DOES work. NOTE --JPEG import is about 5 times slower than importing the same image as a GIF. It is VERY important to note, the Cursor will NOT change until the first stage of the import is done. This can mean that for some large or high-res images(JPEG or GIF) the cursor is not going to change for as long as 10 seconds or more. A typical high resolution JPEG image of 48K compressed can take 10 - 13 seconds on a 6100/60, so be patient when importing JPEGs, and don't always assume that a non-spinning cursor means a lock up when importing.

Note on image resolution. When you import a high resolution JPEG into Arachnid, it is ALWAYS dithered to 8 bits. This means that imported JPEGs(and GIFs with unusual CLUTs) will regularly look terrible in Arachnid. Don't worry about this, the import does not change the file at all, it will look correct when viewed with your Browser.

I have been in touch with the developer of the XCMD which handles image import. Hopefully all problems associated with image import, including RAMDoubler problems, will be fixed.
Problems still to be addressed.

There are still flaws in the page management code which cause the layout of objects to become scrambled.

An occasional bug causes rectangluar "Hot regions" to show up with an outline after being linked. This is not how it is supposed to be, they should be completley transparent unless the Pointer tool is chosen. When this happens, Active Modes clicks do not work unless you click on the colored border.

Another problem occurs when the creation of a "hot region" corrupts the image file data for the in line image that is receiving the "hot region". This affect both Active Mode behavior and the image is NOT correctly exported to HTML. The only solution is to delete the image(which will delete all regions associated with it) and import it again.


New in version beta 1.5.7
NO EXPIRATION DATE!! This copy of Arachnid can be used permanently, if you can live with the bugs that are left, so be it.

Easier and more reliable access. The web page to download Arachnid now allows you to enter an e-mail address and have the application(or any of the other archives) mailed directly to you. Many, many thanks go out to my fellow Weeg Computing Center employee, Ed Hill for cranking out a Perle Script to mail the file and for taking the time to help configure and debug the setup.

Open ftp distribution. We are now going to stop being the only official site where Arachnid can be downloaded. Anyone who has access to an ftp directory can upload the application for distribution. All that is asked is that if you do put Arachnid on an ftp site, please e-mail me to let me know the address. I will list as many ftp address's as possible on the Arachnid page to allow the most flexible access. If you put a copy in an ftp directory, or know of one where it already is, please E-mail me at with the address so I can add it to the list.

Now for the good stuff!!!!

In line Image import can now include JPEG in addition to GIF.

Fully integrated WYSIWYG support for creating clickable regions within any in-line image on a page. A new row of buttons on the tool palette allow you to draw rectangles, ovals, and freehand polygons directly on top of your images. In the Active mode, the regions are completely invisible. With the Pointer tool selected their borders are visible. Using the Pointer tool, you can cut/copy/paste, move or resize the regions. Linking to a "hot region" is exactly the same as linking to an in line image, drag and drop. Regions respond to clicks in the Active Mode the same as any other linked object or text. The Export to HTML now has a menu for choosing a default MapServer application for Server applications which need one to process image maps. The export to HTML generates a Map file for every image with clickable regions.

NOTE********You CANNOT test the behavior of clickable regions with just a Browser application. You MUST be running a server to even test the simplest of links. The platform and application itself determine what has to be done to make maps work. Using MacHTTP or WebStar, another mapserver application is required. Arachnid's menu supports using MapServe.acgi, imagemap.cgi, and another application called imagemap.cgi. My tests suggest that MapServe is the easiest to set up. It does not require MacPerle(which one of the other 2 does) and works seamlessly if it is in the same directory as MacHTTP. If you link to local files for regions, the files will need to be within the same folder hierarchy as the MapServe app, so this is where you should put your project and media folder.

Note, Most Unix servers use a file called "imagemap.conf" to hold the paths to map files. The Arachnid menu of MapServers has a "None" option to allow encoding HTML for unix servers.


FULL support for all additional HTML tags and Extensions. The beta 1.5.1 was the first version to specifically trap for "<",">","&" characters and convert them into the corresponding HTML macros. The export dialog now lets you choose that as an option. If you Allow HTML Codes, you can directly type codes not supported by Arachnid. But you do NOT have to type codes.

There are a lot of new commands to insert HTML tags and extensions. For example, to create a Blinking span of text, simply select the text and choose the Blink command from the HTML TAGS-ON menu, located under the Format menu. This will insert both the leading and trailing "<Blink>" tag to generate the HTML needed. HTML tags are inserted as Outline styled text, so they stand out from the WYSIWYG text.

There is an Edit menu command for global replacement of tags. You can specify the range of pages to work on: only the current page, all of the pages in the project containing the current page, or all open pages.

The rest of Netscape's extensions are supported similarly. Some tags need to be inserted at the very top of the HTML file to be recognized as valid HTML. Because of this, some codes generated by Arachnid are not inserted visibly into a text field. Using the ColorPicker, you can select background colors(as many as you want, they ALL get exported and that's how you create a cascade of colors when a page opens), text colors, link colors and the File dialog to choose an image file for the background image. These tags are not normally visible. There is a new Page Info command within the Page menu under the Edit menu to view and change all of this information.
***text, link, and background colors and images do NOT have a visual representation within Arachnid. Hopefully in a later version there will be WYSIWYG support for these features but for now you are limited to only setting the values.

There are additional interfaces for creating Tables, not in any kind of WYSIWYG fashion, but you can set values for any available options when defining a table or table data tag. When you choose the Table command, a dialog opens for setting these options. There are popup menus for setting the table's Border size, height, width, cell spacing and cell padding. When you designate some text as table data, a dialog opens in which you can set the data's alignment, its height in rows and its width in columns.

**Arachnid requires that actual text be selected to insert these tags. After selecting text and inserting the table definition tag, you can cut the "</table>" tag from the field and paste it into another field below on the page. Now if you do the some thing with a table data tag(cut and paste the "</td>" tag into the lower field) you can drag in line graphics between the fields and have images appear within the Table.

Export option1: There are several new export options. You can choose whether to allow HTML codes within your text or not. If allowed, you can take advantage of many pull down menus to insert HTML tags and extensions not previously built into Arachnid. When turned off, you can type "<",">","&" characters normally and the export will generate the corresponding macros to represent those characters.

Export option2: Default URL for image maps and default MapServer for Mac based servers. Type or paste the name of a URL for image maps, choose a MapServer application(or none)from a popup menu.

Export option3: Default CGI for Forms. Type or paste the text for the location of a CGI script. If this is entered, the Export will no longer prompt you to choose a URL. If no CGI location is entered, the export sequence proceeds normally as it does now.

Fixed or Changed in beta 1.5.7

ALL problems with New Project creation have been fixed. Arachnid now allows projects to be created where YOU specify.

New Project creation is reworked so that Arachnid finally WILL work correctly running from a locked volume. In this situation, URLs cannot be added, removed or edited. Templates cannot be added or removed either. So make sure these are configured before putting it on line.

**Note, to set it up so that it can be networked, "Get Info" on the application at the Finder and choose the "Locked" option. Arachnid will now allow multiple users across a network from a locked volume.

Export to HTML now detects when the routine has crashed without exporting. User now gets the option of saving the partial HTML to a text file.

Export bug where words with nested quotes would get spaces before and after quotes is fixed.

Export bug with True Spacing on where only 1 space was between words and export generated no spaces is fixed.

Bugs with Lists. Text that was linked does not become so messed up when the text is made part of a list. The biggest problem was when the first word of a text field was linked and then made into a list. Fixed.

Various fixes to HTML import. Bugs causing infinite loops fixed. Bugs which lost spacing between words are fixed. Unsupported HTML tags are now inserted instead of ignored.

The code which manages the layout of objects on a page was fixed slightly. There are still some real problems in this. This will be addressed in the next release, hopefully completely rewritten using a variation on the more stable layout code used by the HTML import.

Links to Text. This has been totally reworked. The information that Arachnid stores has changed so that in the Active mode, the actual span of text becomes the destination of the link. Previously, a simple Find was used which meant a text link always went to the first occurrence of the span of text on that page.

Text that is the destination of another link is now colored and underlined. The code to fix the links within a field was not detecting this text as links and wiping out the information stored for it.

Original file name: Read Me 1.6 - converted on Tuesday, 7 December 1999, 18:04

This page was created using TextToHTML. TextToHTML is a free software for Macintosh and is (c) 1995,1996 by Kris Coppieters