by Steven Flintham (15A) Introduction This program allows you to write messages in a wordprocessor (such as Wordwise, InterWord or View) or text editor (such as Edit) and then convert them into the !Mesg format. Writing the messages With a few exceptions, you simply type the text of your messages into the wordprocessor and edit it as required. There are two ways to prepare the text:1) Set the line length to 38 or 39 (depending on the wordprocessor) with no left margin and no paging. You must then 'spool' the text to disc (this will require an extra utility with View) and use that with the converter program. You should keep a copy of the messages saved in the normal way so that you can edit them easily, producing a new 'spooled' version when you want to convert them. To use this method with Wordwise you would enter ll38 at the top of the text (because the default is no left margin and no paging). In InterWord, you would adjust the ruler to start at the far left and to be 38 characters wide and turn paging off. 2) Type the text in with no 'formatting' at all and let the converter program deal with line length. This is the method which you would use if you are using a text editor, but you can also use this method with Wordwise if you put no embedded commands in the text and just use menu option 1 to save the text. The second method is probably the easiest, because you do not have to 'spool' the text before converting it and if you use Wordwise you will not even have to see the words splitting at the ends of lines when you are editing the messages. The text itself must follow a few simple rules so that the converter program can determine who the messages are from, who each one is to, and what it is about. The first line must contain your user ID, and the second line must contain your name as you wish it to appear in the message heading. After this comes the details of the first message. The first line of the message should be the ID of the recipient (999 for everyone), followed by his/her name if you wish. The second line of the message should be the subject of the message. If you give "CCC" or "Program comment" as the recipient's ID, the second line will be taken as the name of the program you are commenting on. You can then either start the message, or if you wish you can specify a colour for the message by having another line containing any of the following: Red Green Yellow Blue Magenta, Purple, Pink Cyan, Light blue, Turquoise
If you do not specify a colour, yellow will be used. The message should be laid out just as you wish it to appear, but with RETURNs only when you want to start a new line, rather than to avoid a word being split. You can have as many or as few messages in the file as you want. If you have more than one, they should be separated by lines containing a tilde (~) and each new message should start with the recipient's ID and the subject as before. With the exception of the message text itself (where they will appear as blank lines in the final message), blank lines are ignored so you can put them in or leave them out as you wish. The program will accept capital or lower case letters, but where text will appear in the !Mesg file you may wish to use both for neatness. Running the program The text file (spooled where appropriate) should be placed on your submission disc. On running the program, you will be asked to insert your submission disc into drive 0. You can then press A if your submission disc is in ADFS format, D if your submission disc is in DFS format or SPACE if it is in the current filing system format. If you use both filing systems, this should make sense, and if you don't then pressing SPACE should work. You will then be asked for the filename of the text file. You should enter this and press RETURN, making sure that you give the filename of the spooled file if you are using method 1.If there is already a !Mesg file on the submission disc, you will be asked if you want to add the new messages to it or replace them. This allows you to prepare some messages in the messaging system and some in your wordprocessor if you wish. Be careful not to accidentally wipe any messages when you are trying this program out. The program will now carry out the conversion, keeping you informed of progress as it does so. If any problems occur you will be warned and sometimes requested to alter the text file as appropriate. The program may take a few minutes to convert your messages, but as you will usually only need to do this once the speed is not a great problem. Once the program has finished you do not have to do anything else, but you may want to use the messaging system to view the new messages and check that they are OK. You can, of course, edit these messages in the messaging system as usual but if you delete them and later re-convert the text file, any changes made in the messaging system will be lost. You should therefore make any major changes in the text file and re-convert it.