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Zigzag/C Alpha available soon

Hi everyone! Rambling development account to follow (maybe I should get
a blog!)

This is an announcement that after a couple of weeks of hard work (not
that hard, not hard enough that I have to ignore things like watching
Max Headroom episodes),

Way back in october 2001, I contacted Ted Nelson (Doctor I think now)
about a webserver I was working on. He asked me if I would help him out
with porting Zigzag into C. I said I could probably do this.

I met Ted at a lecture in Sheffield, and we chatted a bit. I agreed to
try and port the Perl version (by Andrew Pam and Gossamer) directly into
C. For various reasons, it took me a while to get started (I read a
'Perl in 21 Days' book right through to the end to learn Perl), then it
took me longer to iron out a few puzzlements (with thanks from Andrew).

Recently, about 2 weeks ago, started work again, because I think the
other C porter, Ashley Smith, hadn't worked on it in a while (I hadn't
heard from him), and I'm starting University in 2 months, so I thought,
better get this done before Uni, or I may never get it done.

Anyway, I worked steadily and finished my work, threw away some data
structures and just went along with the original design (which is nice
and simple, based around text variables and numbers and associative
arrays or hashes). Making my own hashing array (which doesn't actually
hash - yet) in C was kind of fun.

I implemented Slice, Push, Delete, and all the other Perl functions that
are used in the Perl Zigzag, in C, they are quite simple routines

I got a port of PDCurses and bunged the .lib and the curses.h file into
the VC6 project folder to link with (amazingly enough, doesn't require a
DLL, just links right in).

So on sunday, having implemented enough of the Zigzag functions to get
it working, and enough of the Curses interface, I fired it up. I was
amazed to see the opening screen in all its glory. Actually, it wasn't
the proper screen, but it was too late as I'd sent out binaries to

Anyway, 3 days debugging, and here I am, it's working very nicely, and
soon I'll post the beta up on a webpage.

BTW, I'm looking at the Java version and it's very nice, I hope to get
something like this working under Windows sometime, although maybe
someone else would do a better job than me with the C code.

The C code is not yet available as I need more bug reports, and need to
tidy up the source. According to Andrew Pam, the code is copyright to
Xanadu as it's "derived", but I don't think this means I should get
nothing for my work. However, people who work for software companies
don't maintain copyright on their work either (except patents). I will
discuss this copyright issue with the relevant people.

Well, that's about all. I just wanted to make this announcement to let
everyone on the list know what's going on.


R.I.P 1997 - June 27th 2002 Netscape Online - You burned out in a blaze
of glory