Contents of the IRIS.TXT file
Iris: Electronic Books Made Simple!
Binding sheets of paper together to form books was a landmark
idea. Papyrus scrolls were suddenly obsolete. The book format made
a table of contents and index practical. Steering the reader to
another part of a book was as simple as citing a page number. Best
of all, you never had to rewind a book. This was the beginning of
Iris has taken books one step further. Instead of citing page
numbers, authors can cite topic names. The names can be woven into
the text itself, or displayed in popup menus. Electronic books
can ask questions and respond to the answers. Readers can jump
from one topic to another with the flick of a key. Windows can
change color and size, and be accompanied by pleasant tones.
When you use Iris, the first thing you see is a friendly help
screen and a menu of available books. This menu works like all
Iris menus. A single sorted column with items that can be selected
with cursor keys, or by typing the first letter of the item. If
all the items cannot be shown at once, readers can quickly scroll
up and down the list.
The Iris distribution disk comes with three sample electronic (or
"virtual") books. One is a tutorial. Another is a reference work.
The third is a catalog.
The tutorial and reference books covers Iris itself, and contain
everything you need to know to read or write a virtual book. The
catalog describes other books available direct from UserWare.
Although a sample text adventure was not provided, it's obvious
that Iris was designed with gaming in mind.
If you already have material stored in an ascii text file,
converting it to a virtual book is a snap. Internally, Iris uses a
format similar to the well-known DOS batch file. The major
difference is that "unmarked" lines are displayed, while "command"
lines use a special one-character prefix.
To get started, all Iris needs is an occasional "topic name." These
look just like a batch file "label". Just type a colon followed by
the name you want to give the following text. Topics can be any
length. Rename the file with a .PGE extension, and you're in
business. Of course, you might want to go on and take advantage of
the many special features Iris offers, but that's optional.
UserWare is building a "library" of virtual books. Your
submissions are invited, and royalties will be paid. You may also
distribute your books independently. No license required.
A registered copy of Iris sells for $8. An advanced version,
Prism, is $24. Prism adds many features that would interest people
writing books themselves, and includes a complimentary text editor.
Iris, a MS dos program, uses 256k of free memory, and works well
with both color and monochrome monitors. Iris is also compatible
with most speech synthesizers.
UserWare, 4 Falcon Lane East, Fairport NY 14450-3312,
For readers: select screen colors, borders, and CPU speeds, sound
switch, bookmark, topics list, view list, DOS shell, speech
For authors: color, sound, windows, variables, arithmetic and
logical operators, procedural commands, external programs, user
input, link topics via menus or "hotwords", (advanced version also
includes) autoplay, topic and variable listing, command trace,
editor support, optional compressed and encrypted formats.
Iris. "Electronic book processor." Link topics. Store input. Merge
variables. Run programs. Use color, sound, windows.
$8-$24 registration. 256K, monochrome or color. Disk _____.
Here's what people are saying about Iris ..
"Iris is very well conceived and designed. It makes the most of
the advantages of reading text on-line rather than on-paper."
-- PSL News, May 1989.
".. my overwhelming admiration .. It is very simply organized and
readily accesible to the average reader."
-- Harvey Wheeler, Director, The Virtual Academy.
"I've had a chance to put Iris through its paces, and I must say
-- Thomas Easton, Analog, June 1990.
"There is no easier or cheaper way to get started with hypertext."
-- Ron Albright, Technical Editor, Vulcan's Computer Monthly.