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Website Meta Language / src / wml_docs / wml_faq.pod

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##
##  WML FAQ
##  Copyright (c) 1997 Ralf S. Engelschall, All Rights Reserved.
##  Copyright (c) 1999 Denis Barbier
##

=encoding utf8

=head1 NAME

WML FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions on WML

=head1 DESCRIPTION

This is the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) list with answers on WML. It is
divided into question/answer parts, each answering one particular topic.

=head2 General questions:

=over 5

=item B<G01:> What is WML?

=item B<G02:> WML is distributed as free software, does this mean
              I also can use it free of charge?

=item B<G03:> Why is WML a toolkit of disjunct programs instead of
              one big integrated program?

=item B<G04:> Which tools are included in the WML distribution?

=item B<G05:> WML is as powerful as it can, but are there
              even any restrictions?

=item B<G06:> Where do I find documentation?

=item B<G07:> Is there any official support for WML?

=item B<G08:> How I can I send a bug report to the author?

=item B<G09:> I really want to use WML for textprocessing because it's such
              powerful, isn't it?

=back

=head2 Questions about passes:

=over 5

=item B<P01:> How can I avoid conflicts with a particular WML pass?

=item B<P02:> How can I avoid conflicts with a particular WML pass
              for only some areas of the input file?

=item B<P03:> Is there a way to change pass order?

=item B<P04:> Why shall I not change original pass order?

=back

=head2 Questions about include files:

=over 5

=item B<I01:> How can I install or activate my own include files?

=item B<I02:> How can I overwrite the knowledge of the info-tag from wml::std:info?

=item B<I03:> How can I combine the gfont- with the href-tag?

=item B<I04:> How can I combine the gfont- with the rollover-tag?

=back

=head2 Error messages:

=over 5

=item B<E01:> Cannot load C</tmp/wml...> for unprotection

=item B<E02:> ePerl:Error: Perl runtime error

=back

=head2 GENERAL QUESTIONS

=over 5

=item B<G01: What is WML?>

WML is a free and extensible Webdesigner's off-line HTML generation
toolkit for Unix, distributed under the GNU General Public License
(GPL v2).

WML consists of a control frontend driving up to nine backends in a
sequential pass-oriented filtering scheme. Each backend provides one
particular core language. For maximum power WML additionally ships
with a well-suited set of include files which provide higher-level
features build on top of the backends core languages. While not
trivial and idiot proof WML provides most of the core features real
hackers always wanted for HTML generation.

=item B<G02: WML is distributed as free software, does this mean
             I also can use it free of charge?>

Yes, WML can be distributed free of charge and used free of charge without any
exceptions. You can even use WML to generate a commercial website, no problem.
But please give credit to the author where credit is due. Either by using
wml::std::info(3) which includes a WML identifier or by explicitly saying
somewhere on the generated website that you used WML. This just would be fair.

=item B<G03: Why is WML a toolkit of disjunct programs instead of
             one big integrated program?>

The first reason is because WML was born out of the need to generate a huge
webarea in spring 1997 (http://www.engelschall.com/sw/) and an appropriate
tool had to be found in finite time. So the author decided to use maximum
software leverage and just compiled a toolkit of existing programs and only
programmed the missing stuff itself.

After this approach showed that WML is flexible and powerful enough as the
solution to generate huge webareas, the author started to compactify it and
stripped the toolkit to its essential parts. But it is still a toolkit, even
when you have only one frontend to control the parts.

=item B<G04: Which tools are included in the WML distribution?>

Well, you certainly know C<wml>, the front-end for WML.  But there are
other cool front-ends for the most useful tasks:

=over 4

=item C<wmk> - Website META Language Make

Build your web pages without writing Makefiles.

=item C<wmd> - Website META Language Documentation Browser

This is your visa for all the documentation you want.

=item C<wmb> - Website META Language Bug Reporting Tool

The preferred way to report a bug, this tool will send a mail to the
maintainer with your problem and the characteristics of your
installation.

=item C<wmu> - Website META Language Upgrade Utility

Upgrade and build new versions of WML like a charm, with the same
options as those of your current installation.

=back

=item B<G05: WML is as powerful as it can, but are there
             even any restrictions?>

Sure, WML has some restrictions which cannot be eliminated easily.

=over 2

=item o

there is no real debugging mode which makes tracing back of problems very
hard, especially for the ePerl pass.  Currently the best way to debug is to
use the B<-p> option with args `C<1>', then `C<12>' then `C<123>' etc.  and
comparing the result in each step.

=item o

the WML language is very complex because of the 9 independent languages which
are used intermixed. Because of this WML is not easy to understand and use for
the average webdesigner.

=back

=item B<G06: Where do I find documentation?>

=over 2

=item o

Invoke the Documentation Browser by typing F<wmd> and navigate through
the installed documentation.

=item o

The WML Online documentation is located at

  http://www.engelschall.com/sw/wml/docs

The webpages are the same as the ones viewed with F<wmd>.

=back

=item B<G07: Is there any official support for WML?>

Yes, there is. First there is an official support mailing list for WML users:

  sw-wml@engelschall.com

Here you can reach the WML author Ralf S. Engelschall, the current
maintainer Denis Barbier, and the other people who use WML and which can
help you in case of problems. Use this forum to spread your WML-related
ideas and suggestion, too. Feel free to ask anything WML-related you
want.

To subscribe to this Majordomo-controlled mailing list, just send an E-mail to
majordomo@engelschall.com with only

  subscribe sw-wml you@domain.dom

in the I<body> (leave the subject empty). After sending this, Majordomo will
respond with an authentication challenge which has to send back again for
security reasons (to avoid that others subscribe you without your ok). Now you
are successfully subscribed to this list.

Second you can directly contact Ralf S. Engelschall <rse@engelschall.com>
or Denis Barbier <barbier@engelschall.com> via E-mail in case of very
important problems.

=item B<G08: How can I send a bug report to the author?>

You have four options:

=over 4

=item Bug Reporting Tool WMb

This is the recommended way because it automatically includes all parameters
of your WML installation in the bug report which (most of the time) is
essentially for the author to be able to successfully solve your problem.
Just run the F<wmb> program and enter your problem description. But make sure
you have at least a workable E-mail link to the Internet, because WMb wants to
send the bug report via E-mail to rse@engelschall.com.

=item Bug Reporting Webpage

This is the general bug report webpage on

  http://www.engelschall.com/sw/bugreport/

for all programs from Ralf S. Engelschall. Please include your `wml -V3'
output, too.

=item Mailing List

This is the official support mailing list for WML which can be
contacted via

  sw-wml@engelschall.com

=item Direct Contact

This is the last chance, if all others failed. Just send your problem directly
to the maintainer via barbier@engelschall.com

=back

=item B<G09: I really want to use WML for textprocessing because it's such
             powerful, isn't it?>

Yes, WML is, but only for HTML generation.

Although WML provides a lot of hot features (like Slicing or Diversion) one
often also wants for textprocessing, WML is not a general textprocessing
language.  WML is HTML-dependend at a lot of edges and it lacks features which
a text-processor really needs (like paragraph formatting, footnote support,
etc). And even if you really decide to use WML for writing other stuff than
HTML, you should be as crazy as you have time. Because WML is slow compared
with any general textprocessing tool like TeX or even SGML-Tools. For its
target format HTML this was and is never a problem, because the largest
Webpage is never greater then approximately 10-100 KB. But for real
textprocessing this size is peanuts.

So, please don't think about using WML for text-processing, even if one of
your primary target formats is HTML. Instead use a language like LaTeX2HTML,
SDF or SGML-Tools to create the HTML format and I<only post-process> this via
WML. In other words: Use WML only for the dirty work of including the
generated HTML stuff into your webpages. But don't think any longer about
using WML as a text-processor.

=back

=head2 QUESTIONS ABOUT PASSES

=over 5

=item B<P01: How can I avoid conflicts with a particular WML pass?>

When you are sure you don't need this particular pass, you can use WML option
B<-p> and just leave out the number of the pass.

=item B<P02: How can I avoid conflicts with a particular WML pass
             for only some areas of the input file?>

Use the internal C<E<lt>protectE<gt>> container tag which entirely protects
its body from evaluation by any pass. To protect the body from evaluation by a
particular pass only, you can use C<E<lt>protect pass=NE<gt>>.

=item B<P03: Is there a way to change pass order?>

Yes, since WML 1.7.3, you may change it with the B<-p> flag. But you are
warned this should be used by WML gurus only and for very particular
reasons. For some internal reasons, processing will always stop after pass
9, even if you specify additional passes. This is a feature and is not
subject to change on future releases.

=item B<P04: Why shall I not change original pass order?>

WML has been designed to use passes in numerical order. This feature has
a strong influence on how WML include files are written and there is no
warranty these include files will still work when changing pass order.

=back

=head2 QUESTIONS ABOUT INCLUDE FILES

=over 5

=item B<I01: How can I install or activate my own include files?>

There are many ways, but the most elegant and useful way is
the following: First create a directory named F<$HOME/.wml/> and
then a directory named F<$HOME/.wml/home/> via

  $ cd $HOME
  $ mkdir .wml
  $ mkdir .wml/home

Then create a F<$HOME/.wmlrc> file with at least the following contents:

  -I .wml
  -D HOME~.

Now just install your private include file F<foo.tmpl> as
F<$HOME/.wml/home/foo.tmpl> and you are automatically be able to use it via

  #use tmpl::home::foo

from within any WML source.

=item B<I02: How can I overwrite the knowledge of the info-tag from wml::std:info?>

Because the C<E<lt>infoE<gt>> tag constructs its information out of
C<WML_GEN_XXXX> variables which theirself can be overwritten by the B<-D>
option, you can just do this in your F<$HOME/.wmlrc> file. For instance the
authors F<$HOME/.wmlrc> file contains the following three lines:

  -D WML_GEN_REALNAME="Ralf S. Engelschall"
  -D WML_GEN_USERNAME=rse
  -D WML_GEN_HOSTNAME=engelschall.com

The most important one here is C<WML_SRC_HOSTNAME> for the construction of the
email address. Because WML cannot know the email domainname we really have to
help it here.

=item B<I03: How can I combine the gfont- with the href-tag?>

Just put the C<E<lt>gfontE<gt>> tag directly into the C<name> attribute
of C<E<lt>hrefE<gt>>:

  <href name="<gfont>The Hyperlink Text</gfont>"
        url="http://...">

=item B<I04: How can I combine the gfont- with the rollover-tag?>

Use C<E<lt>gfontE<gt>>'s C<notag> in combination with its C<file> attribute as
follows:

  <gfont file=button-n.gif bgcolor="#ffffff" notag>Text</gfont>
  <gfont file=button-o.gif bgcolor="#ccccff" notag>Text</gfont>
  <rollover src=button-n.gif oversrc=button-o.gif url="http://...">

=back

=head2 ERROR MESSAGES

=over 5

=item B<E01: Cannot load C</tmp/wml...> for unprotection>

One pass did not produce any output. This message certainly indicates
a WML's bug, and so should be reported.

=item B<E02: ePerl:Error: Perl runtime error>

An error occurred during pass 3 (C<wml_p3_eperl>). The contents of the
standard error channel is printed and may contain useful information for
debugging.

=back

=head1 SEEALSO

wml_intro(7),
wml_tutorial(7),
wml_tags(7),
wml(1),
wml::all(3).

=cut

##EOF##