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Apex v4.0 Message Processor
(c)1993 Imperative Software, by Brandon Staggs
Apex is Freeware. See ODDS AND ENDS for details.

INTRODUCTION

Apex is written to right some of the wrongs within Silly Little Mail Reader,
Offline Express v2.x and Qmodem Pro (Offline Express v3.x). SLMR and OLX both
lack header construction, quote boxes, static taglines and nice tagline
managers. The QModem Pro version of OLX has a ridiculously long tagline
prefix making tagline length too short.

Well, Apex takes care of these oversights. All you do is create a batch file
to run Apex from either your editor or in your reply batch, simple as that.

And for FREE! Apex is 100% FREEWARE! You may copy and distribute and use this
at no cost whatsoever! I don't expect payment of ANY kind. Apex is not,
however, Public Domain; that is, you may not alter Apex in any way for
distribution. Apex IS copyrighted software where I reserve the rights to the
program, and grant you unlimited usage rights and distribution rights, aside
from charging for the program.

OVERVIEW OF FEATURES

* Header construction: Have you ever seen a line at the beginning of a
message that says something like: "Quoting Susie Que to John Doe concerning
BBS's" and wondered "why doesn't SLMR/OLX make these nifty things?" Well, if
you haven't, you should, and in either case, Apex is here to make this dream
possible. This is by no means a mandatory option of Apex, so if you don't
like these headers, you can still benefit greatly from Apex and feel "cool".

Apex will allow you to design up to 20 "header blueprints" for headers, which
you can select after writing your reply message. These header blueprints can
contain various variables for you to mess around with. You can make header
insults and praises which not only clarify the quoting, but make you feel
really "warm" inside.

* Quote Boxes: There are a ton of programs out there that will process your
pre-reply message and put a box around the quoted strings. But these programs
are inferior to Apex because they usually just put one big ugly box around
the text, and then make you go into the text and separate the box if you want
to reply line-by-line. And most of them don't put the name of the quoted in
the box border, either. Isn't that stupid? Now that you're nodding your head
and thinking to yourself "that's right," let me explain to you how Apex does
the quote boxing.

Apex processes the message that YOU write AFTER you write it. Apex determines
from the Quote String Prefixes which lines belong in a box and which don't.
Apex then draws one of two types of boxes (user selectable!) around EACH
section of quoted text, with a line in the top border identifying the quote
(ie Brandon Staggs to CJ Little). Not each line, but each section. This makes
your replies look really neat and orderly. And as with Apex's other
functions, this is not a mandatory function and can be skipped. (Some
networks don't like people using fancy or even simple boxes in messages.)

* Static taglines: In addition to Apex's superior tagline manager (explained
later), Apex allows you to create a tagline that will be appended to your
message proceeding the main tagline. This can be your routing address, phone
number, name, occupation, martial status or whatever. And again, this is
optional. (Some networks may scream bloody murder at you for using this
option.)

* Tagline Manager: Let's face it. SLMR and OLX tagline manager's suck. And
let's face this, too: QModem Pro's OLX has THE WORST tagline length, with all
of that registration number and stuff. You can't fit squat into it.

While Apex's tagline manager is no where near as extensive as Tagline Express
is, it sure is a breath of fresh air for SLMR and OLX users. Apex's tagline
manager contains many features that make taglining a fun family pastime for
everyone of all ages.

And if you are a Tagline Express user, there is no reason why you couldn't
use both Apex AND TLX.

Among other novel options, Apex's tagline manager has a Strangize option that
can turn a tagline into hit-ascii scribbles. This one's great! Apex's tagline
manager also includes a tagline editor to change and/or add taglines on the
fly.

Apex's tagline manager supports both 7 and 8-bit tagline types, user
selectable. (You can even configure the default type.) Not only that, but if
you are using OLX v3.x (Qmodem Pro), you can define certain BBS's which are
OPPOSITE of your default! OLX doesn't even let you do that. How pathetic.

But that's not all! Apex's tagline manager supports TAGLINE VARIABLES! These
are similar as the header variables used in the header blueprints! You can
create a tagline that says the person's name you are writing to in it, the
conference you're in or even the subject matter of the message. You can
create clever generic personalized-insult taglines to anger the moderators!

And of course, if you are seriously deranged and actually find SLMR/OLX's
tagline managers sufficient, you can opt not to use this wonderful
earth-shattering feature of Apex.

* Time/Date stamp: Have you ever used a Renegade-type BBS that CHANGES the
time/date header of your messages to the time they are uploaded? What a
crock! Well, Apex will (at option, of course) stamp the bottom of your
message the time and date it was written. This is a VERY useful feature for
users of FidoNet, because most Fido boards change the message times when they
are imported.

* Signature append: Apex will (at option) append a signature file to your
messages. This great if your Text Editor doesn't have macros or you're too
lazy (like me) to use your signature macro. The signature file can be of any
length and any characters. (Be careful, though... some networks have limits
on the lengths of your signatures.)

* Apex includes a configuration program that allows you to create your own
defaults for just about every Apex feature. The default tagline type, the
default quote box type, the default static tagline append switch, and more.
This makes Apex EASY to use. Most of the time Apex can be used to it fullest
with no more than TWO keypresses! Apex's operation is streamlined into
one-keypress functioning for ease of use.


INSTALLING AND CONFIGURING APEX

Copy APEX.EXE, CONFIG.EXE and HEADERS.APX to your mail reader's directory. It
is mandatory that APEX.EXE and CONFIG.EXE are in the same directory.

The first thing you will need to do is run the CONFIG.EXE program. Here is an
explanation for each option:

Default box type: Select this to either SIMPLE or EXTENDED. The simple
quote box looks like this:

ÖÄBrandon Staggs to Naomi JensenÄ·
º º
ºQuoted message text..... º
ÓÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄĽ

The extend box looks like this:

Ú´Joe Blow to John DoeÃÄ¿
³ ³Û
³Quoted message text... ³Û
ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙÛ
ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß
(Note: The quote boxes adjust size to fit the length of the quoted strings
and box title.)

Default tagline type: Select either 7 bit or 8 bit. 7 bit taglines look
like this:

* Apex v4 * This is a sample tagline.

The 8 bit taglines look like this:

---
þ Apex v4 þ This is a sample tagline.

7 bit taglines are for low-ascii networks like FidoNet. The 8 bit taglines
are suited well for anything else, but are stripped from messages in
low-ascii networks that don't accept high-bit characters. 8 bit taglines also
proceed a "tear line". Set the default to whichever you use MOST. Later you
can define BBSs which are the opposite of this default.

Default static tagline append: Select either YES or NO. The static
tagline (which you can define in option D) will be appended to the message
after the main tagline. The static tagline will conform to the proper tagline
type selected. This is how the end of a message would look like with the
Static tagline ON and the tagline type being 8 bit:

---
þ Apex v4 þ This is a sample tagline.
þ This is a sample static tagline.

Static tagline: Here you may define your own static tagline. You can
change it only in the CONFIG program. NOTE: Static taglines do NOT support
tagline variables. Also, I have no idea where the term "static tagline" came
from. Don't ask me why it's called that.

Strip "Re: " from subject headings: Select this to either YES or NO. Some
BBS systems have an ugly habit of putting an Re: in front of subject headings
when replied to. When turned on, Apex will remove the Re: from the subject
headings (when they exist) for Apex's use in headers and taglines. I highly
recommend that this option be set to Yes, as it makes headers more readable.

Default affix time/date stamp to messages: Select this to either Yes or
No. When turned on, Apex will add a line to your message containing the time,
day and date. If you use any Renegade/Teleguard type BBSs, or any Fido-type
network, I recommend this be set to Yes. These systems and networks usually
change the time/date heading of messages as they move around. The stamp looks
like this (with the proper time and date, of course):

Message written at 12:02am, on Saturday, September 4, 1993.

Affix Signature file to messages: Select either Yes or No. When this
option is set to Yes, Apex will add the signature file (defined in option Z)
to your message. If the file does not actually exist, Apex will simply ignore
this setting.

Header file: This MUST be set to the ENTIRE PATH of the Apex header
blueprint file. For example, if you are using OLX, and you have the header
blueprint file in the C:\OLX directory and is called HEADERS.APX, set this to
"c:\olx\headers.apx" (without the quotes). A sample HEADERS.APX file is
included in the APEX40 archive and you should put it in the same directory as
your mail reader. You can, however, put it wherever you want and name it
whatever you want. Just be sure to have this set to the proper name and path.
If this file does not exist when Apex executes, you will be prompted for the
correct path and filename. You will still need to change it in the CONFIG
program, however.

Tagline file: This MUST be set to the ENTIRE path of the tagline file for
your mail reader. Look in your mail reader's directory and find it, it
usually is TAGLINES.***. Again, the this file can be wherever you want it and
named whatever you want it, but the file MUST exist and have the proper path
in it.

Signature file: This should be set to the entire path of your signature
file. It can be whatever you want and wherever you want, so long as you set
this to the proper path and name. If the file does not exist when Apex
executes, Apex will simply ignore all settings related to the Signature file.

<1-5> Anti 7/8 bit default boards: This will only matter if you are using OLX
v3.x (Also QModem Pro). You may define up to five boards that will be the
opposite tagline type of your tagline type default. You must use the BBS ID
string. This is what the .QWK file is called. IE, The Killer Bees BBS's QWK
packets are called KILLER.QWK, so the BBS ID is KILLER. NOTE: if you are not
replying to a message, this option will not work. You will have to manually
change the default if you need to in the Apex Tagline manager. SLMR and OLX
v2.x do not include the BBS ID in the message header info, making this option
impossible for those readers.

Quit without saving: That one is pretty basic. If you change your mind
and don't want to create this configuration, select this.

Save and quit: That is self explanatory. This will save the new
configuration to CONFIG.APX. NOTE: If you are running CONFIG.EXE for the
first time, you MUST save it. Apex will not run without this file.

There. Now that you've created your configuration file (which you can modify
at any time with CONFIG.APX), let's continue installing Apex.

Now you need to create a batch file and put it in your mail reader's
directory. Call it REPLYBAT.BAT.

If you are using SLMR v2.x and your text editor is SLME, your batch file
should look like this:

cd..
slme mr$work/%1
apex mr$work/%1
cd mr$work

If you are using OLX v2.x and your text editor is OLXED, your batch file
should look like this:

cd..
olxed olx$work/%1
apex olx$work/%1

If you are using OLX v3.x (QModem Pro), your batch file isn't as easy to
create. Because OLX is so restricted in its "usability," you will not be able
to use the internal OLX editor. It isn't really a good editor anyway. Here is
my REPLYBAT.BAT file. I use Galaxy Lite word processor for editing my
messages. The editor is in the directory C:\GW and is called GLITE.EXE, and
my OLX directory is C:\OLX.

cd\gw
glite %1
cd\olx
apex %1

If you are using QEdit or any other word processer (maybe even WordPerfect)
the procedure is the same. If you have WordPerfect in the directory C:\WP51
like I do, your batch file would be:

cd\wp51
wp %1
cd\olx
apex %1

NOTE: For all of these batch files, APEX MUST be called from the directory
where CONFIG.APX resides.


Okay. Now we move on to configuring the mail reader so it works with Apex.
Don't worry, this is the last step. As soon as you configure your mail reader
to work with Apex, you're done.

SILLY LITTLE MAIL READER CONFIGURATION

Run SLMR. From the main opening screen, press ALT-C to enter the
configuration. Select DIRECTORIES in the configuration menu. Make sure the
work directory is MR$WORK. Press F-10 to save it.

Now select TOGGLES in the configuration menu. Make sure the To/From instead
of From/To is set to NO. Save it.

Now select EDITOR in the configuration menu. Change the Editor command line
to REPLYBAT.BAT. Make sure that the Quoted original message file and the File
to take reply text from are THE SAME file. Save these changes.

Now select REPLIES in the configuration menu. Make sure that When to edit
reply info is set to either BEFORE or BEFORE AND AFTER. Apex's tagline
variables will NOT work if this is not properly set. Make sure that Quoting
prefix string is set to ">" (without the quotes). Apex's quote boxing will
not function if this is set improperly. Change Message header in quoted reply
to YES. Apex's header construction will fail if this is not set properly. Set
Enable taglines to OFF. Set Fido style taglines to YES. This prevents
multiple tear lines. Save these changes.

OFFLINE EXPRESS v2.x CONFIGURATION

Run OLX (or OLXTD). From the main opening screen, press ALT-N to enter the
configuration. Select DIRECTORIES in the configuration menu. Make sure the
work directory is OLX$WORK. Press F-10 to save it.

Now select TOGGLES in the configuration menu. Make sure the To/From instead
of From/To is set to NO. Save it.

Now select EDITOR in the configuration menu. Change the Editor command line
to REPLYBAT.BAT. Make sure that the Quoted original message file and the File
to take reply text from are THE SAME file. Save these changes.

Now select REPLIES in the configuration menu. Make sure that When to edit
reply info is set to either BEFORE or BEFORE AND AFTER. Apex's tagline
variables will NOT work if this is not properly set. Make sure that Quoting
prefix string is set to ">" (without the quotes). Apex's quote boxing will
not function if this is set improperly. Change Message header in quoted reply
to YES. Apex's header construction will fail if this is not set properly. Set
Enable taglines to OFF. Set Fido style taglines to YES. This prevents
multiple tear lines. Save these changes.

OFFLINE EXPRESS v3.x CONFIGURATION
AND QMODEM PRO CONFIGURATION

Run OLX and select the OPTIONS window.

Select DIRECTORIES from the OPTIONS window. Make sure the work directory is
the same directory as the mail reader. You shouldn't need to change this.

Select PREFERENCES from the OPTIONS window. Make sure that Swap To/From
fields is turned OFF.

Select EDITOR from the OPTIONS window. Change the editor to REPLYBAT.BAT. It
may be necessary to include the full path if errors occur. Make sure that
Quoted message file and Reply message file are the SAME.

Select REPLIES from the OPTIONS window. When to edit reply info should be set
to either before or before and after. If it isn't, Apex's tagline variables
won't work. Make sure the Quoting style is set to ALL. Set Enable taglines to
OFF (This will get rid of that nasty registration number!). Make sure the
Quoting prefix string is set to ">" (without the quotes). If it isn't set
properly, Apex's quote boxes won't work. Set Header in quoted reply to ON. If
you don't, Apex's header and quote box functions will not work.


USING APEX

Apex is called from your batch file right after you edit the message with
your text editor. Here is a description of all the features, in order, of
Apex.


The first screen of Apex is where you choose the header you want and decide
the header/quote box combination. It is very straightforward. One display box
contains the Quoted message information, one contains the current header, and
the third contains the command menu. NOTE: If you are writing a message which
is not a reply, or you are editing a previously written message, this screen
will be skipped, since there is no quote header or boxes to make.

Select header: These keys will cycle through the various headers
you have to choose from.

Box type: Use this to toggle between the simple and extended box type.
The one currently selected is indicated here.

Header only: Pressing ENTER will use the currently selected header
and NOT use quote boxes in the message, and then take you to the tagline
manager screen.

Quote boxes and header: Pressing B will use the currently selected header
AND use quote boxes in the message, and then take you to the tagline manager
screen.

Quote boxes only: Pressing W will only use quote boxes in the message,
and ignore the header selection, and then take you to the tagline manager
screen.

Quit, no header or boxes: Pressing Q will simply leave the message as it
was and do nothing with it, and then take you to the tagline manager screen.


The second screen of Apex is the TAGLINE MANAGER. You will see the command
menu directly above the tagline selection. The tagline manager always saves
the tagline list to disk after use. Apex keeps track of the last tagline used
so that you can have sequential tagline usage. It does this by adding the
number of the last used tagline to the top of the tagline list on disk, and
removes it when the tagline list is loaded into memory.

To select taglines, use the UP/DN crsr keys, the HOME and END keys, and the
PGUP and PGDN keys.

None: This will abort the tagline manager and neither append a tagline or
a static tagline.

Go: This will use all the current settings in the tagline manager,
and use the tagline currently selected.

Add: This will allow you to add a tagline to the tagline list. Apex's
tagline manager will support up to 3,000 taglines. When you add a tagline,
you can use the tagline variables (explained in a later section).

Edit: This will allow you to edit the current tagline.

Delete: This deletes the current tagline from the tagline list.

Random: This will move to a random tagline in the list.

Order: This will put all the taglines in order of ascii value. This is
virtually Alphabetical order, but it IS a case-sensitive sort. Keep in mind
that tagline variables can make some taglines appear out of place.

Strangize: This will turn the current tagline into readable high-bit
scribbles. NOTE: If you use this feature on a tagline with variables in it,
the variables will be lost in the next Apex execution.

Mirror: This will reverse the tagline. NOTE: If you use this feature on a
tagline with variables in it, the variables will be lost in the next Apex
execution.

Center: This will center the tagline.

Case jumble: This will jumble the upper/lower case of the tagline.

Space randomize: This re-arranges the spaces in the tagline.

Static tagline append: This toggles the static tagline on and off.

Time/date stamp: This toggles the time/date stamp on and off.

<7> 7 bit: This toggles 7 bit mode on and off. When on, the tagline prefix
will contain asterisks, and when off the tagline prefix will contain boxes
(ascii code 254). This does not affect the tagline selected.


USING HEADER BLUEPRINT VARIABLES

You can construct your own header blueprints simply by editing the
HEADERS.APX file. You may have up to 20 different header blueprints in the
header file. Any past that will be ignored.

Header blueprints can be up to four lines long. Each blueprint must have an
explanation mark (!) directly under it, so that Apex knows when it comes to
the end of the header blueprint. Make sure that each line is no longer than
80 characters, or the parsing may fail.

You should be able to figure out how to make header variables by looking at
the HEADERS.APX file included with the APEX40 archive. Here is a detailed
explanation of each variable.

@[email protected] Who the quoted message was written to.
@[email protected] Who the quoted message was written by.
@[email protected] The original subject of the quoted message.
@[email protected] The date the quoted message was written on.
@[email protected] The time the quoted message was written at.
@[email protected] The quoted message's number.
@[email protected] The conference the quoted message was written in.

For example, take this sample header:

Quoting @[email protected] to @[email protected] regarding @[email protected]:

If the message I was replying to was written by Joe Shmoe, and written to
John Smith, and was about Hunting, the header would look like this:

Quoting Joe Shmoe to John Smith regarding Hunting:

Keep in mind that the actual length of the variables can be up to 25
characters long. Be sure to leave enough room in the line for the variable.


USING TAGLINE VARIABLES:

You can use variables in taglines similar to the ones in the header
blueprints. You can edit the taglines either within the Apex tagline manager
itself, or with a text editor. Either will work fine.

The tagline variables are specific to the message YOU are writing, not the
message you are replying to. That is why it is important to edit the message
information (the to/from/subject stuff) within the mail reader BEFORE you
write it. Here is a detailed explanation of each tagline variable:

@[email protected] The first name of the person you are writing to.
@[email protected] The last name of the person you are writing to.
@[email protected] The subject of the message you are writing.
@[email protected] The conference you are writing in.

For example, take these taglines:

U.S.S. @[email protected], drop your shields or you will be destroyed.
@[email protected] knows nothing about @[email protected]

If I were writing a message to John Smith regarding Hunting, these taglines
would then look like this:

U.S.S. Smith, drop your shields or you will be destroyed.
John knows nothing about Hunting.

Keep in mind that the actual variables can be pretty long. Sometimes a
tagline may not fit if it has many variables in it.


ODDS AND ENDS

Apex is copyrighted 1993 by Brandon Staggs, Imperative Software. Apex 4.0 is
Freeware, meaning that you are granted unlimited usage and distribution
rights (barring selling) with the APEX40 archive. You may use it freely with
no obligation to pay me, no matter how long you use it. As long as you keep
the files APEX.EXE, APEX.DOC, HEADERS.APX, CONFIG.EXE, README.1ST and
FILE_ID.DIZ in the APEX40 archive in their original state (you do not have
the right to alter these files for distribution), you may distribute it as
you wish. In fact, I'd appreciate it if you did.

Apex is provided AS IS, no warrantee expressed or implied. You use it at your
own risk, so to speak. I will not be held responsible for any mishaps that
result from using Apex. (There shouldn't be any anyway.)

If you want to contact me, send me SnailMail at

Brandon Staggs
c/o Imperative Software
26837 Contignac Dr.
Murrieta, CA 92562

Or, I can be reached on the following BBSs (as Brandon Staggs):

The ESCape
(909) 698-9568

The Grave Yard
(909) 304-0336


MY THANKS

My thanks go out to CJ Little and Naomi Lynn Jensen for being such wonderful
Beta testers. Extra Special thanks to Naomi for the free Dr. Pepper. My
thanks also go out to anyone who uses this product.