Category : BBS Programs+Doors
Archive   : RIPSC154.ZIP

Output of file : TEMPLATE.DOC contained in archive : RIPSC154.ZIP

A template is a special variety of a host command that is used to
construct other host commands. They are only used with the
RIP_BUTTON command, not with RIP_MOUSE or RIP_QUERY. Their use is
solely dedicated to the Button command. In fact, their usefulness is
predominantly designed for Radio Buttons and Check Box Buttons but
this doesn't mean that you cannot use them for other purposes.

A template, like a normal "raw" Host Command, is stored in the Host
Command field of the RIP_BUTTON command. Unlike Raw Host Commands
that get sent to the Host immediately, templates do not transmit
immediately. In fact, it's possible for a Template to never get
transmitted to the BBS at all. Templates are not normally sent
directly to the BBS - they are almost always used in conjunction with
some other button's host command.

As you know with normal Mouse Host Commands, you can send any piece
of text you want when the user clicks on that button. You could send
the word "HELLO" to the BBS for example if they click on a certain
mouse button. This is an example of a "Direct Host Command".

There are three types of Host Commands. There are:

1) DIRECT HOST COMMANDS - Send a string of text to the host
immediately after the associated button is clicked.

2) TEMPLATE DEFINITIONS - Defines a template to be used by
other buttons (if ever). See below for further details
about how to define templates.

3) TEMPLATE EXECUTION - This allows you to plug a piece of
string data into one or more templates (defined previously).
The resulting string is then acted upon like a Direct Host
Command and transmitted to the BBS immediately.

The RIP_BUTTON command "segments" its Text Parameter Block into three
portions - the Icon File, Text Label followed by the Host Command
block. Each of these segments is separated by the two character
delimiter "<>" like this:


With the Button command, the Host Command segment can be sub-divided
into numerous smaller sub-segments, or Command Blocks. This is done
with another two character delimiter "[]". So, technically, you could
do this:


This command would show an Icon Button using the file ICONFILE.ICN as
its Icon Image, labeling it with the phrase "Button Label", and
defining an extended Host Command block with two segments. If the user
clicks on this button, the following will be sent to the BBS:


Notice how the "[]" is not transmitted. This is because it is simply
a delimiter separating two Command Blocks from each other. Now each
of these two command blocks are DIRECT HOST COMMANDS, but they don't
have to be. One of them could have been a Direct Host Command, and
another could just as easily have been a template definition.

There can be up to 36 different templates defined simultaneously.
Each template number corresponds directly to a Button Group Number.
Templates are identified by a single meganum 0-9 and A-Z, leaving 36
distinctly separate groups. To define a template, you use a
variation of the Command Block delimiter "[]" with the template
identifier followed by a colon like this:

[5:]This is template #6's definition
[G:]This is template #16's definition

Defining a template is simple. Activating a template however, is
another story. What if three buttons in the same group all define
their own templates for the same group/template like this:

Button #1: [5:]This is button #1's template
Button #2: [5:]This is button #2's template
Button #3: [5:]This is button #3's template

Now, when these three buttons are received by the terminal, it
[the terminal] knows the Host Commands for each button (it memorized
each of them). Now, which of these three templates is the currently
active one? None of them! A template definition doesn't become the
active template until that button containing its definition is
clicked (selected). What this means is, you can have a bunch of
buttons all belonging to the same Button Group with their own
respective template definitions, but only the template relating to
the most recently clicked button will be the currently active
template for that group. Whew, that was a mouthful!

There are two ways of activating a template:

1) Draw a button as "pre-selected" - in other words, the
button is drawn pre-clicked immediately when it is
received by the terminal. When this happens, the
Host Command for that button is processed immediately
and if a template definition exists in that host command,
it is acted upon immediately thus making that template
the currently active template for that Group.

2) The user clicks on a button containing a template
definition. If a template is already active in that
group, it is overwritten by the newly activated template.

In either case when templates are defined, nothing is actually
transmitted to the BBS unless the Command Block contains some Direct
Host Command sub-block(s) like this:

[5:]Template definition[]hello world^m

If this button were clicked, then Group number 5 would have the
template activated with the template text "Template definition".
Then the Direct Host Command "hello world^m" would be transmitted to
the BBS. In this example, we see how a single host command can do
multiple things - in this case, it defined a template in group #5 AND
transmitted something to the BBS!

We have seen how templates are defined and activated. Before we go
any further, let's explain how they are used for Radio Buttons and
Check-Box buttons.

Radio Buttons are a "type" of button group. Only one button in that
group can be active (clicked) at any one time. If a button that is
not active is clicked, any other buttons in that group that ARE
clicked are de-selected and the one that is being clicked is
selected. If that newly clicked button has a Host Command, it is
processed. If it has a template definition, it too is processed,
overwriting the currently defined template for the specified group.
Since Radio Buttons can only have one currently active button in a
single given Radio Group, similarly you can only have one template
active for that group at any given moment.

Check Box Buttons are another "type" of button group. Unlike Radio
Buttons, Check Box buttons can have zero or more buttons active
(clicked) at any one time. If a check box button group has ten
buttons defined in it, zero, five or all ten of those buttons can be
active simultaneously. What about each of their respective Host
Commands? They too are all processed when the buttons are
individually clicked. Now what about templates? Since you can only
have one template defined in a group at any given moment, how do
check box buttons accomplish this multiple-template concept?
Whenever a check box button is clicked (or unclicked), the template
for that group is re-calculated. Any buttons in that group that have
template definitions are scanned, and any check box buttons in that
group that are selected, have their template definitions concatenated
together (strung together) end on end. The result is one large
template which is built up from the template definitions of each
selected check box button.

Let's take a couple simple examples step-by-step to see how templates
are maintained internally. In the first example, we will explore the
Radio Buttons and the way templates relate to them. In the second
example, we'll examine check box buttons and templates.

Let's say you have four buttons in Button Group #3, and that button
group is defined as a Radio Button group. Here are the host command
definitions for each of those buttons in this example:

Button #1: [3:]ABCD
Button #2: [3:]EFGH
Button #3: [3:]IJKL
Button #4: [3:]MNOP

Now, if none of the buttons are clicked, then template group #3 is
blank. If button #1 is clicked, the template for group #3 would be
defined as "ABCD". Now, if button #4 is clicked, what would the
template definition for group #3 be? That's right, "MNOP". Notice
how only one of the given templates is active at any given moment.

Now let's explore the slightly more complex world of check box
templates. As stated previously, check box templates can be strung
along together to make a larger template - template construction of
sorts. Let's say you have a Button Group #2 defined as a check box
group with 7 buttons defined in it. Each of the buttons are
initially drawn as "unselected", or unclicked (inactive). Here are
the button host command definitions for each of the 7 buttons:

Button #1: [2:]Apples^m
Button #2: [2:]Oranges^m
Button #3: [2:]Cherries^m
Button #4: [2:]Grapes^m
Button #5: [2:]Pears^m
Button #6: [2:]Banannas^m
Button #7: [2:]Lemons^m

Now, if all 7 buttons are not clicked, then template group #2 would
be blank. Let's click on some buttons and see what the template will
become as we change which buttons are clicked and which aren't:

Button #3 clicked (ON) .... Template: Cherries^m
Button #5 clicked (ON) .... Template: Cherries^mPears^m
Button #3 clicked (OFF) ... Template: Pears^m
Button #5 clicked (OFF) ... Template:
Button #2 clicked (ON) .... Template: Oranges^m
Button #1 clicked (ON) .... Template: Apples^mOranges^m
Button #4 clicked (ON) .... Template: Apples^mOranges^mGrapes^m

As you can see, the active template for a check box group is actually
a combination of all selected buttons' templates, in ORDER OF
DEFINITION, not in the order that they were clicked. Pay close
attention to the end of the example where buttons were clicked in the
order of 2, 1 then 4. If you notice the active template though, they
are in 1, 2 then 4 order! They are in the order that the buttons
were originally defined.

We've already gone through and shown you how to define templates and
how to activate them. Now you need to know how to put them to use -
how to take a template and make it do something. If you've been
confused up to this point, don't worry - we're going to put it all
together in a few minutes into one big picture.

There are two ways of using templates. One is called Template
Chaining, and another is called Template Embedding. Each of these
two methods are quite different, but give you quite a bit of
flexibility. Let's take each of these methods step-by-step by
describing each in detail separately.

Template embedding is a way of "inserting" a template inside another
host command. What this means is that you can insert the contents of
an active template inside of a button's Direct Host Command. The
direct host command is "expanded" around the inserted template and
the contents of the specified template are made part of the direct
host command.

Let's illustrate this with an example. Taking the check box example
above which had a list of fruits as check box buttons, we can expand
on this example to show how template embedding can be a useful tool.
In this example, we will build a menu to take someone's order for
fruit. Here is what the simple menu screen will look like:

| What would you like to order? |
| |
| +-----------+ |
| |X Apples | |
| | Oranges | +------------+ |
| |X Cherries| |Submit order| |
| | Grapes | +------------+ |
| |X Pears | |
| | Banannas| |
| |X Lemons | |
| +-----------+ |

As you can see, we have a set of 7 check box buttons on the left of
the menu with the choices of the fruits for sale. On the right is a
button to submit your order. To implement this example, we will use
two separate button groups. Group #0 will contain one button, the
"Submit Order" button. Button Group #2 will be a check box button
group containing our seven choices of fruits as in the preceding
example. Here are the Host Command definitions for each of the eight

Group #0 (normal button - not a radio or check-box button)
SUBMIT ORDER: I wish to order $?2$ right now^m

Group #2 (check box button group)

Notice in the "Submit Order" button that there is a special code in
the Direct Host Command "$?2$". This is a special variation of a text
variable. This form of text variable is used only in Template
Embedding. What it does is instructs the terminal to "insert template
#2 here". The format of the template embedding code is:


...where "x" is the template identifier (0-Z) that is to be inserted.
Now back to the example, if the user clicked on "APPLES", "CHERRIES",
"PEARS" and "LEMONS" as in the menu shown above, then clicks on
"Submit Order", what would the Host Command look like when it gets
transmitted to the BBS? Well, for starters, the Submit Order
button's host command reads:

I wish to order $?2$ right now^m

After template #2 is inserted where the embedding code is, the host
command would look like this:

I wish to order APPLES^mCHERRIES^mPEARS^mLEMONS^m right now^m

And after the ^m's are converted to carriage returns the final host
command would be like this:

I wish to order APPLES
right now

What if the user didn't click on any of the fruits, but did click on
the Submit Order button? Well, since template #2 belongs to a group
that is a Check Box group, which can have zero or more items selected
simultaneously, the $?2$ code would be expanded to a null string, or
nothing, so the final host command would be:

I wish to order right now

If template #2 was associated with a Radio group which has to have
one button clicked at all times, and none of the buttons were active,
then the terminal would hilight all the radio buttons in group #2 and
instruct the user to choose one first. This is done automatically by
the terminal, you don't need to worry about Radio Buttons.

Just remember, Check Box buttons can legitimately have a blank
template, but Radio Buttons cannot due to the very nature of the

The final host command after template embedding is limited to 4096
bytes of data. If a host command would grow beyond 4096 bytes due to
embedding, it is truncated to exactly 4096 bytes.

Now, on to the second form of using templates, Template Chaining.
Template Chaining is another method of using templates. Unlike
Template Embedding though, template chaining is quite different.
Rather than inserting the contents of a template into a host command,
like in embedding, template chaining feeds data into a template and
then takes the result and transmits that to the BBS. In other words,
Template Embedding inserts a template into a Host Command. In
Template Chaining, a Host Command is inserted into a template (the
exact opposite).

If you recall from the Template Embedding discussion earlier, there
was a code for inserting a template into a host command. The command
was $?x$ where "x" was the template number. Template Chaining uses a
similar insertion code but with a subtle different - there is no
template identifier. The code is:


This is a "generic insertion code". It is used in the template
definition itself, not in the Direct Host Command like the template
embedding code was used. The actual data that replaces the $?$
depends on the Direct Host Command that is "feeding" the template.

Before template chaining becomes crystal clear, we need to muddy the
waters some more by introducing one more thing - the Chaining
command. A template chaining operation is performed almost exactly
like defining a template with a subtle difference, the colon (:) is
omitted from the template definition like this:

[5]This is template chaining
[5:]This is template definition

What's the difference? In the case of the [5:], a template for group
#5 is defined. In the [5] example, the template chaining instruction
is invoked on Template #5. The phrase "This is template chaining"
will be fed into template number 5. If template number 5 has a
generic insertion code $?$ in it, then it will be replaced with the
phrase "This is template chaining". The final result after the
replacement will be a direct host command that will be transmitted to
the BBS. Since template #5 doesn't have an insertion code, the
phrase "This is template chaining" will be lost in the chaining
process and the final host command would be "This is template

Here are a couple examples of template chaining illustrating several
ways that it may be used (we'll only show "active" template

[3:]This is a plain old template
[4:]This template inserts $?$ here!
[5:]This has two insertion codes $?$ and $?$

[3]This text is lost in the chaining process

This would be the result of the three chaining operations:

3 ... This is a plain old template
4 ... This template inserts SOMETHING here!
5 ... This has two insertion codes HERE and HERE

We skipped over the "user clicked on this button" operations and went
directly to the end results to make the example as clear as possible.
There are three distinctly different situations in this example. The
first shows a regular template without an insertion code being used
in a chaining operation. As you can see, the data that was fed into
template #3 was lost because template #3 didn't have an insertion
code. In the second example, a single insertion code is used and the
word "SOMETHING" is inserted in place of the insertion code. The
third example shows that an insertion code can be used more than once
in a given template.

What if you tried to chain to a template that hasn't been activated
yet (ie, a blank template)? If the template in question belongs to a
radio group, then the terminal would instruct the user to click on
one of the radio buttons to activate the template (he doesn't know
that templates are invovled of course). If it was a check box
template, then the final host command would be nothing and in effect,
nothing would be transmitted to the host. If the template in
question belonged to a generic button group, then also nothing would
get transmitted to the BBS.

In the preceding Template Chaining examples, only one template was
used (chained-to). In reality, you can chain to multiple templates
with ease. The format of multiple Template Chaining is simple, just
add the template identifiers for the templates you want to chain to
in the order you wish to chain to like this:

[1E3]This is a three-level chaining operation

Notice how the Template Chain command has three template identifiers
in it, 1, E and 3. The Host Command would be fed into template #1
first. After any replacements, the final result of the template #1
chaining would be finished and that string of text would be fed into
template #E. After any replacements/insertions are performed on
template #E, then the final result is fed into template #3 and the
final result of that chaining operation is sent to the BBS.

Here is an example of multiple template chaining calls:

[1:]red green $?$ blue
[3:]soft $?$ hard smooth gritty

[1E3](host command)

In this example, the phrase (host command) is fed into template #1,
then the result into template #E then that result into template #3
then finally transmitted to the BBS. We can break this down
conceptually into three separate chaining operations to illustrate
what happens step-by-step:

[1E3](host command)

Results in:

[E3]red green (host command) blue

Resulting in:

[3]LOUD QUIET red green (host command) blue YELL

And then finally:

soft LOUD QUIET red green (host command) blue YELL hard smooth gritty

This last phrase is then sent to the BBS verbatim. As you can see,
things can get pretty complex when multiple template chains are used,
however some dramatic things can be achieved with a little bit of
effort and some well thought out planning of your template
definitions. Template chaining is useful for controlling HOW
particular data is transmitted to the BBS, while template embedding
is useful for controlling WHAT data is transmitted to the BBS.

You can think of template chaining as a method of defining "commands"
that will be sent to the BBS where the commands can be different
depending on which buttons are clicked in that group. Template
embedding on the other hand is often used for controlling the data
parameters that are used with particular commands.

You are allowed up to 36 separate template chaining levels in one
template chaining operation. After all chaining is completed, the
final host command cannot exceed 4096 bytes. If a chaining operation
would exceed that amount, it is truncated to exactly 4096 bytes.

You've already learned about Template Embedding and Template
Chaining. These two methods of using templates do not need to be
separate methods. You can combine these methods if you wish. This
means that you can have embedded templates inside of template chains.
This provides for utter flexibility in doing whatever you want.

Here are a couple of examples of combinations:



[3:]Here is a $?$ and an $?5$


This would result in:




[3:]Here is a $?$ and an $?5$


This would result in:




[3:]Here is a $?$ and $?5$


This would result in:


Taking this one step-by-step:

Step #1: Here is a CHAINED COMMAND and $?5$

Step #2: Here is a CHAINED COMMAND and ANOTHER $?5$




[3:]$?5$ $?$ WORLD



This would result in:

print("print("HELLO (silly) WORLD")^m")^m

Example #1 shows a situation with a single chaining operation and a
single embedding operation done at the same time. You can see how
the final host command is in relation to the data fed into the
templates at different points.

Example #2 shows a more complex situation where multiple levels of
template chaining are going on while embedding is also being used.

Example #3 is somewhat different though. Why weren't the embedded
template codes expanded at the lowest level of template #5? If you
look closely at template #5, it has an insertion code instructing the
system to insert template #5 (itself) in the middle of the template.
This is legal, but only because an embedded template inside an
embedded template cannot have any more embedding performed on it. In
other words, you are allowed up to two levels of embedded templates,
but the lowest level (2nd) cannot have any insertion codes, text
variables, control characters or pick-list definitions in it - if it
does, they will be treated as "raw" text instead of host command

Example #4 shows a more involved Template Chaining operation in which
the same template is chained to more than once in a given operation.
This is allowable for extra flexibility, although in the real world
will probably not be used much.

Now that we have thouroughly discussed templates, we come upon
another subject - that of text variables, pop-up pick lists, and
control characters. In any template definition or host command, you
can have text variables, pick lists or control characters anywhere.
This gives you the ability to do a great many things.

You can freely use text variables, control characters or pick lists
anywhere in a Direct Host Command, in a template chains and embedded
templates. There is nothing unusual about text variables, pop-up
pick lists or control characters when they're used in template chains
or Direct Host Commands. They do get a bit odd though in how they
interact with Embedded Templates - but only if you have an embedded
template within an embedded template.

Recall from a previous discussion about embedded templates within
embedded templates. At the lowest level of the embedding, there is
no processing done on the string of text. This is to prevent endless
loops and combinatorial explosion of data and CPU time. Text
Variables, pick lists and control characters WILL be processed at the
first level of an embedded template, but not at the second level.

Here are some examples that better illustrate text variables:


[3:]The date is $DATE$ ... $?$


Results in:

The date is 07/18/93 ... HELLO


[3:]The date is $DATE$


Results in:

HELLO THERE, The date is 07/18/93


[2:]The time is $TIME$^m
[3:]The date is $DATE$^m

HELLO THERE^m$?3$$?4$

Results in:

The date is 07/18/93
The time is 03:43:32


[1:]The day is $DOW$^m

[2:]The time is $TIME$^m
[3:]The date is $DATE$^m$?1$^m

HELLO THERE^m($?3$)($?4$)($?1$)

Results in:

(The date is 07/18/93)
The day is $DOW$^m
(The time is 03:43:32)
(The day is Sunday)

Notice how the $?1$ embedded template used in template #3 does
not get processed - it is just inserted raw.

As stated previously, template definitions may contain text
variables, pick lists, control characters, and template insertion
codes. When do these special "directives" get processed? The answer
is when the template gets USED, not when it becomes ACTIVE! To
better illustrate this, let's look at a simple example.

Let's say you have three radio buttons (group #2) on the screen and
another button (group #0) which uses the template for the radio
button group 3. Here's the host command definitions for each of
these four buttons:

Group #2 - Radio Button Group

Button #1: [2:]It's a pretty day at $TIME$
Button #2: [2:]It's a rainy day at $TIME$
Button #3: [2:]It's a hazy day at $TIME$

Group #0 - Ordinary button group

Button #4: Today's forecast:^m$?2$

Now, let's say that none of the radio buttons are drawn as "selected"
for starters. At 11:45:03 in the morning, the user clicks on button
#2 indicating it's a rainy day. The active template for group #2
would be defined as:

It's a rainy day at $TIME$

At 11:46:37 he clicks on the Forecast button. What would be the host
command sent to the BBS in this example? It would be:

Today's forecast:
It's a rainy day at 11:46:37

Notice that the time that is inserted in place of $TIME$ is the time
that the user clicked on the Forecast button, NOT the time he clicked
on the "rainy day" button which activated the proper template. This
illustrates that text variables, pick lists, and control characters
are not "processed" until they are referenced (used) by some other
button or template in an active Host Command situation.

Near the beginning of our discussion of templates we spoke about
Direct Host Commands, Template Definitions and Template Execution.
You have seen how to define templates with a template definition
command like [3:]HELLO, and how to execute templates by either
Chaining (eg, "[3]WORLD"), or by using Embedded Templates
(eg, "$?3$ WORLD").

Now, remember that we spoke about how a single Host Command can be
segmented into multiple "Command Blocks" by separating them with the
delimiter "[]". An example of this might be:


This would transmit the following to the BBS:


Realistically, you wouldn't use such an overly simple example like
this, but would use the following instead:


This would produce the same result. But it doesn't illustrate the
purpose of Command Blocks. Here's a real-world example of a host
command broken down into several command blocks:

[3:]Template Definition[4]Template chaining[]BBS TEXT

If you look carefully at the above host command, three distinct
things are happening. First, template #3 is defined with the text
"Template Definition". Secondly, the phrase "Template chaining"
is chained (fed) into template #4 (whatever that one is) and the
final result of the chaining operation is sent to the BBS. Finally,
the last command block is processed which happens to be a Direct Host
Command, so the text "BBS TEXT" will be transmitted to the Host as

If a host command doesn't have one of the command block delimiters
like a template definition (eg, "[3:]"), or a template chain
directive (eg, "[3]"), or a Direct Host Command Directive (eg, "[]"),
then the Host Command is, by default, considered to be a Direct Host
Command. The following are all considered Direct Host Commands and
they all do the exact same thing:


Here are some more examples of Command Blocks using the previous
example as a foundation, but this time we throw in another command
block. Again, all four of these examples do the exact same things:

HELLO^mWORLD^m[3:]Template Definition
HELLO^m[]WORLD^m[3:]Template Definition
[]HELLO^mWORLD^m[3:]Template Definition
[]HELLO^m[]WORLD^m[3:]Template Definition

If you recall from our earlier discussions about Radio Buttons and
Check Box Buttons, the templates definitions are activated based upon
a Button being activated. If you think about Command Blocks though,
you might be inclined to think that figuring out which template
definition block of a command block to activate might get insane. It
could! Look at the following set of three Radio Button definitions:

Button #1: [3:]Hello world[3:]This is Pluto
Button #2: [3:]Hello world[3:]This is Saturn
Button #3: [3:]Hello world[3:]This is Jupiter

What happens if button #2 is clicked, thus activating that template?
What template command block is used to create the final, active
template? The answer is the last one! The text that becomes the
actual active template for template #3 would be this:

This is Saturn

If a Host Command references this template as in the following
example, you will see that the secondary template definition is
the one that is actually in use:

I'm a martian singing in the rain^m$?3$

Resulting in:

I'm a martian singing in the rain
This is Saturn

In short, Command Blocks are processed in all situations, and if a
discrepency exists where two or more template definitions in the same
Host String correspond to the same template group, the last
definition is the one that becomes active. This applies even if you
are dealing with Check Box buttons. In the above example of the
martian, if Buttons #1, 2 and 3 were Check Box Buttons instead, the
"Hello World" template definitions would still be lost and would NOT
get concatenated together to create the final Host Command. If
buttons #1 and #3 are clicked, then template #3 would be:

This is PlutoThis is Jupiter

It would NOT be:

Hello worldThis is PlutoHello worldThis is Jupiter

Not all BBS'es will allow you to use control characters on their
Service. Regardless of that, the capability to send any Control
Character exists for your Host Commands. The most commonly used
Control Characters are:

^@ ... Null (ASCII 0) ^[[A ... Up Arrow
^G ... Beep ^[[B ... Down Arrow
^L ... Clear Screen (Top of Form) ^[[C ... Right Arrow
^M ... Carriage Return ^[[D ... Left Arrow
^C ... Break (sometimes) ^[[H ... Home Key
^H ... Backspace ^[[K ... End Key
^[ ... Escape character ^[[L ... Control Home
^S ... Pause data transmission
^Q ... Resume data transmission

Some hosts use the ^ (caret) for their own purposes. In these
cases, you can use the ` (backquote) character instead of the
caret. Some systems allow you to specify the caret symbol as
two carets (^^). Consult your Host Software documentation to
determine the best method for your needs.

NOTE: RIPterm uses ^ or ` and a character to represent a control
IS TRANSLATED BY RIPterm. In other words, ^M does not send
a ^ and then an M, it sends a carriage return (ASCII 13).
Likewise, RIPscrip commands like Query do not use an ^[, an
actual escape character (ASCII 27) is used.

A special feature of RIPterm allows it to understand what a Text
Variable is. A text variable is a piece of text that both RIPaint
and RIPterm know something about. For example, the Text Variable
$DATE$ is known to represent the current Date on your PC. The host
may ask your system what the values of one or more of these variables
are, and if your terminal knows these particular Text Variables, it
will tell the host.

There are three types of Text Variables.

-- Built-In Text Variables that RIPscrip products will ALWAYS
know about. These include Text Variables like date and time
that return a value

-- Another type of built-in Text Variable are Active Text
Variables, which perform an action, but return nothing to
the host. These include turning the status bar on/off,
clearing the graphics screen, and playing some simple
sounds, and many more.

-- Then there are also User Text Variables that can contain
a variety of information depending on what the user
entered at the time the variable was created. For
example, the host might ask you what the contents of the
$FULL_NAME$ variable is, and if RIPterm doesn't know, it
could pop-up a field on the screen and ask you about it.
From then on, RIPterm will remember that piece of
information for the next time it is needed by a host.

You may use either the pre-defined Text Variables, or the User Text
Variables at any place that allows Text Variables.

You can re-play a .RIP file that you have locally on your hard disk
from anyplace that allows text variables. The format of the variable
is somewhat different than user variables, or pre-defined text
variables. After the initial dollar sign ($), enter the greater-than
symbol (>) followed by the filename (with or without the .RIP
extension), then ending in another dollar sign ($). Several examples
of this are as follows:


Note in the last example, a file extension other than .RIP was used.
You are not limited to playing back local .RIP files. In fact, you
can play-back any file you want. You could load any simple text
file, ANSI picture image, or other such thing. When loaded, the data
is not sent to the host; it is strictly echoed on your local screen.
If the file is a .RIP file, it will replay any graphics that were in
the file and if any Mouse Regions are defined, it will create those
fields for you as well, thus allowing you to pop-up dialog screens or
other such things that are not built-in to RIPterm normally.

Each "local RIP playback" variable you enter will search for the .RIP
file in the current host's icon directory. If it cannot find the
file in that directory, it will check the ICONS\ directory.

When Local RIPscrip File Playback is chosen, the file is not played
back immediately. Whatever operation is being processed (like a host
command being sent to the BBS, etc) will be completed. After the
completion of the command in question, the RIPscrip file is played
back locally. An internal Queue of files is stored in memory in
RIPterm. Each time it gets a Local RIP file playback command, it
adds the filename to the queue. When the current operation is
completed, the queue is flushed by playing back all of the files in
the queue in the order that they were received.

Any place that you can use a Text Variable (Queries, Button and Mouse
Field return strings, and Keystroke Macros), you can take advantage of
a unique feature of RIPscrip - Pop-Up Pick Lists. A Pop-Up Pick List
is simply a list that pops up allowing you to choose from one of
several available values. Whichever entry in the list you choose
will insert it's associated command in the Host Command returned back
to your host.

A list is created by putting the special list instructions inside two
sets of parenthesis like this: (( and )). The list consists of an
optional question followed by two colons (::), followed by one or
more list entries. For example, ((Send Email
to?::Sysop,Cosysop,Joe)) says to pop-up a list asking you "Send Email
to?", giving you the choices of "Sysop", "Cosysop", and "Joe".

By default, if you press ESC instead of picking an entry in the list,
then nothing will be inserted into the text of your Command. You can
indicate that the user must pick an entry by putting an asterisk (*)
at the beginning of the question. For example, ((*Send Mail
to?::Sysop,Joe)). This would make it so that the user must choose
either Sysop or Joe.

In the previous examples, Sysop and Joe are the text responses that
are inserted into your Host Command. These commands are also the
same things that are displayed in the listing. If you want to use
something else in the listing instead of the return text, you can.
When you make the list entry, add an @description to the end of it.
For example:

((Send Mail To?::Sysop@Head Honcho,Cosysop,Joe))

...would display a pop-up pick list of Head Honcho, Cosysop, and Joe.

One final feature of Pop-Up Pick Lists allows you to specify a hotkey
for each entry in the list. For example, if you wanted the first
character of each entry to be highlighted (thus allowing you to
select that character to activate the entry), simply put a tilde (~)
or an underline (_) before and after the keystroke. For example
"_S_ysop" would highlight the "S" in "Sysop" appearing like this:


You can highlight more than one character, but only the first one will
be the active hotkey. If you omit the second tilde or underline,
then the remainder of the description will be highlighted.

NOTE: If you use a tilde or an underline in the Text Response (not
the description), then those characters are inserted into
your Host Command when it is transmitted to the host. You
probably don't want to do this. Recommendation: only use
hotkey features on list entries where you specify a

If you do not specify a question, then the list default to the

Choose one of the following:

You may specify up to twenty entries for any one list. In RIPterm
version 1.52 and earlier, the total length of a pick list was 256
bytes. In version 1.53 and later, this limit has been increased to
1024 bytes.

Some characters have special significance in the RIPscrip language.
These characters are ! (exclamation mark, or for you Unix-heads,
bang), \ (backslash), and | (vertical bar). To use these characters
in a Text Response, they must be preceded by a backslash (! becomes
\!, \ becomes \\, and | becomes \|). RIPaint automatically adds
these when creating Text Responses. You need to be aware of this
only if you are editing RIPscrip files with a text editor. The _
(underline) and ~ (tilde) characters used to indicate the hotkey in a
Text Response are not able to be preceded by a backslash to be used
by themselves. They will be returned to the host if they exist in a
Text Response (not in the description), however everything after the
underline or tilde will be underlined, and the first character will
be considered the hotkey.


((Send E-Mail to?::Sysop,Joe,Mike))
((*Send E-Mail to?::Sysop@The Head Honcho,Joe,Mike@My Brother))
((::Sysop@_T_he Head Honcho,Joe,Mike@My _B_rother))

With all this talk about Templates, Text Variables, Local RIP file
playback, pop-up pick lists and control characters, you might be
interested in knowing what can be used where in the RIPscrip
language. It has already been stated that Templates can be used only
in Button Host Commands. Text Variables, Local RIP file playback,
pop-up lists and control characters can be used in several places
though. The places that these commands can be used and not used are
listed in the following chart:

| T | D V | T | P | C | L |
| E | A A | A E | I | T | O |
| M | T R | C X | C | R | C |
| P | A I | T T | K | L | A |
| L | A | I | | | L |
| A | T B | V V | L | C | |
| T | E L | E A | I | H | R |
| E | X E | R | S | A | I |
| S | T S | S | T | R | P |
| | | | | | |
Button Host Commands| Y | Y | Y | Y | Y | Y |
| | | | | | | Host
Simple Mouse Fields | N | Y | Y | Y | Y | Y | Related
| | | | | | | Commands
Query Command | N | Y | Y | Y | Y | Y |
| | | | | | |
| | | | | | |
Button Labels | N | Y | N | N | N | N |
| | | | | | | Text Output
RIP_TEXT_XY | N | Y | N | N | N | N | Related
| | | | | | | Commands
RIP_TEXT | N | Y | N | N | N | N |
| | | | | | |

Special care must be taken when executing Host Commands or Query
commands that contain local RIP file playback or that contain active
text variables. Either of these operations could instruct RIPterm to
destroy all Mouse Fields by either performing a RIP_RESET_WINDOWS
command ($RESET$), a RIP_KILL_MOUSE_FIELDS command ($MKILL$), a
restore mouse fields text variable ($RMF$) or other such things.

If a situation like this happens, care should be taken to preserve
currently processed Host Buffer. If it is a mouse field's host
command that is being processed, you wouldn't want your application
destroying the very buffer that you're processing before you're done
processing it, would you? In the case of RIPterm, we do a sub-string
search on the Host buffer before any processing is done. We search
for the following strings:

$RMF$ ... Restore Mouse Fields
$> ... Beginning segment of a Local RIP playback command
$APP ... Instruction to execute an external application
$RESET$ ... Performs a RIP_RESET_WINDOWS command
$MKILL$ ... Destroys the contents of the internal mouse table

If any one of the above strings are found, RIPterm will physically
back-up the Host buffer into another location - one that won't be
destroyed by the execution of the above commands. The processing of
the Host buffer is then done on the new buffer, not the actual
buffer. In this way, the application can destroy the mouse table to
its heart's content but the processing of the buffer will not be

  3 Responses to “Category : BBS Programs+Doors
Archive   : RIPSC154.ZIP

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: