View Full Version : Downloading from this board


Selig Starr
04-18-2000, 05:06 PM
I do a fair amount of downloading now and would like to
simplify my procedure.

1 First I capture the complete list as a text file.
2 I then edit this file with my favorite text processor
retaining only the items I want to look in detail.
For reasons too lenghty to go into I find the use of
my text processor much simpler to use than either Wordpad
or Word.
3 I print my edited text file and use that as a basis for
bringing up a thread of interest.
4 If I think is worthwhile, I capture it as a text file using
wordpad. (my text processor is DOS so I can't paste there

Here are the rubs

While the board shows all the info on one line, the captured file
shows the timee on a second line. Does any one know how to get all
this captured exactly as displayed.

Secondly, when I capture a nessage, you get message Id on one
line and the ud on the next line, ditto subject, author.

Does anyone know how to avoid this splitting?

On another tack. I would like the original message and subsequent
messages all left aligned. Does anyone see the virtue of the
present scheme? More to the point - does anyone know an easy way
to do that aligning using word or other device?

Before any one jumps on me, I categorically state that the message
board is great. Far, far superior to the old one. So don't take this
as a gripe. Just trying to make my MO a little easier.

Thank all.

04-18-2000, 07:18 PM

I don't know how to solve your problems but I think I can give you some idea of what's causing them.

The basic issue is that this message board uses HTML for all the messages. Even though you simply type plain text, it is converted to HTML when sent. The way this messag board is set up is typical of HTML pages - each 'item' is actually placed in its own cell much like in a spreadsheet. In this case, the "Message ID, Subject, etc" TITLES are in their own cells and the DATA for each is in its own cell. When you cut and paste this (or whatever other method you may be using), each 'cell' gets its own end-of-paragraph marker. This is why you "get message Id on one line and the ud on the next line, ditto subject, author."

As for the left justification, IF I understand your question accurately, this board was designed so that each response (which is in its own 'cell') would be indented one level from the item where you clicked the 'Response' button. The idea was that it would be easy to see, for example, that response #4 was actually a reply to response #3 and only indirectly to the original question. This is a good idea if users are aware of it but many people simply click the 'Reponse' button at the bottom of the list even if they are replying to the original question only. This sometimes causes an unnecessary amount of indenting. Now, having said that, I'm not sure why it would end up being indented on your 'downloaded' version - I would think it should be treated just like the data in any other cell. I would need to investigate further.

One other surprise. Most messages will expand the lines to match the full width of my screen. I noticed that all of your responses, and some other people's, seem to have an end of line character which means that your line lengths are shorter than my screen would allow and they do not word wrap correctly when I change my screen size. Just out of curiosity, is this because you are hitting the 'Enter' key at the end of the lines or is it something that your 'system' is doing?

04-18-2000, 07:41 PM
Did a little more research on the left justification issue. The creator of this board, Jose de Leon, cleverly used an "unordered list" definition to create the indentations rather than using 'cells' as I had previously assumed. (Cells are used but not to create the indents.) When I cut and paste this text to a word processor, the system somehow decides to add a series of blank spaces at the beginning of each line.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how you would overcome this unless you could create some type of macro to perform an auto-correction. For me, that would be more effort than it's worth.

Michael Humby
04-19-2000, 12:43 AM
Why not let Alpha store your data. Create a simple table with Title Character Field, Message as Memo Field, Date as Date Field.

Right click any messages, select all and paste into the Memo. You will have a neat dataBASE of your favourite messages.


Selig Starr
04-19-2000, 01:21 PM
Thanks Cal and Michael for your replies.

Cal, I do indeed you ENTER at the ends of my lines.
This is deliberate since I want to be sure that my
lines are short enough to be read without scrolling.

I suppose my preferred DOS text processor probably
has a right margin check. I will check that and depend
on word wrap.

04-19-2000, 09:06 PM
I think I finally realized why you might be complaining about scrolling left and right. There are 2 possibilities I can think of:

1. There are two ways to get to this board. If you get here from the Alpha home page, you will see a blue area to the left of the screen. When this happens, you may have to scroll the screen. The solution is to make sure your bookmark is set to: "http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/alphaphorum/alpha_page.php3?command=loginform"
This should bring you directly to the login but WITHOUT the blue area to the left.

2. If you are using a 640x480 screen you could also have a problem. I use an 800x600 screen (to match most of my customers) and don't have any problem.

Rose Weir
04-20-2000, 06:29 AM
GREAT suggestion...storing files in dB in Alpha. Tried that out this morning and what a time saver that will be!

I store all my Alpha db in a subfolder under My Documents and I wondered if this particular Forum folder wouldn't be better placed on the desktop?
Rose Weir

Selig Starr
04-20-2000, 07:32 AM
Thanks cal, but I am alredy doing that. BTW I am not complaining.
The board is great. I just thought there might ne a method
simpler than the one I have been using,

Rose, I am glad that my message produced an intersting way of capturing
messages. That's what this board is about.

Jose de Leon
04-20-2000, 05:03 PM
Hello Selig,

Can you attach examples of what the board does (from the source) and what you would like it to look like (in source).

Perhaps I can make some adjustments to the HTML code without changing the look but make it easier for you to download and process?

In HTML, spaces have very little meaning. If it is a matter of removing spaces, adding some spaces or even removing CR/LF pairs, that may be possible.

As a side note:
Another possibility is that you may want to look at Perl 5.6 for Windows. The new version of Perl has a feature that will strip or breakout paired HTML tags. Perl also has very good string manips that you may want to preprocess the text in Perl before sending to your word processor.


Selig Starr
04-20-2000, 07:18 PM
Thanks Jose for your reply.

Let me think about this some more before I send you any

I am very happy with the board!

Right now I would like to see the indentation eliminated.
I don't find particularly useful. Perhaps others do. Invite
comments from users.

Of course my situation may be different from others who
download messages pertaining to their particular problem.
I download lots as a means for studying the various problems
and solutions posed to better understand A5, especially Xbasic.

I do this primarily as a hobby providing some assistance to
a non profit (volunteer work).

I would not presume to ask you to modify the board on my

All this is done at my expense. As I noted in another message
at Alpha's prices it is a cheap hobby that keeps me intellectualy

Sorry for the lenght of this. I do appreciate your interest and efforts.

Selwyn Rabins
04-20-2000, 07:42 PM

The indentations do actually server a purpose.

They show the parent messages that the current reply is for.

In effect, it lets you reply to specific messages in a thread.

04-21-2000, 04:06 AM
Hi Selig,

I like the indentation as it is a quick reference, cheat sheet if you will. Sometimes a post with a lot of responses can get confusing so it helps, for example, refer a # 14 response to the # 4 response. Otherwise, one could not be sure just which repsonse the response if refering to as the subject changes a bit. Hope this make sense?


Jose de Leon
04-21-2000, 07:35 AM

Just to be clear, I wouldn't actually change the look of the board in any way, unless Selwyn asked me to. But, I CAN change the underlying look of the CODE. This is what you would only be able to see by selecting "View Source" in your web browser.

For example: In HTML, if I make a sentence that has 10 spaces between words, the display will actually have 1 space between words. If I add twenty CR/LF in the code, the Display will not even show the CR/LF but the underlying code would. To show CR/LF in HTML, I have to use a special tag. I can even go so far as to put HTML COMMENTS into the HTML code formatted to make it easy for automated programs to extract data. The HTML COMMENTS never display. But in order to do those kinds of things or to if it is possible, I need to see exactly what you are trying to do. It isn't clear to me from your messages exactly what you are parsing and how.

Those are the kinds of things I might be able to change to help you and others and yet not change the layout or look of the message board in any way.

Otherwise, you will have to build some sort of HTML parser into your extraction code to split out the HTML and then process your data.


Jose de Leon
04-21-2000, 07:39 AM
Of course, I am assuming you are able to get the source of an HTML page and process it. If not, I would still suggest PERL or PYTHON as it has functions to read raw HTML pages.

Perl is available for Windows, I'm not sure about Python.


Selig Starr
04-21-2000, 05:42 PM
Thanks Jose, Selwyn etal
I did not intend to generste this extensive. discussion on my behalf.
I am extremely happy with the board. But it is clear that trying to
eliminate what are, in retospect, very minor annoyances, involves
more effort on the part of Jose than it is worth.

The responses are very illuminating and I hope other users will
benefit from them. Thanks again, Jose, for a great board.