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Palview4 Manual

Palview4 is a program for Windows that is used to create Html with JavaScript for replaying chess games. The program is coded by myself, Andrew Templeton, but was created by a group effort, a group that includes Eric Bentzen, Alan Cowderoy and Robert Ericsson. Together, we operate as a committee where new ideas and features are discussed, tested, and implemented. Because I do the actual coding, I take full credit for any programming bugs. But if you find this program has merit and is useful to you, Eric, Alan and Robert deserve much more credit for that than what I believe they get.

About This Manual

Version: 1.00
Date: December 1, 2003
Manual Author:Andrew Templeton

This manual uses various keywords as links to different sections for expanded information on related topics. All these links will appear in bold text and when you hover over them they will turn red to show you that they are indeed a link, as this example shows: Here is a link.

Sometimes a section of text will be highlighted like this just to bring attention to an important point.

This manual uses a number of colors for various examples.

This is the color you will see for Html fragments and examples
This is the color you will see for CSS examples
This is the color you will see for PGN fragments and examples
This is the color you will see for JavaScript fragments and examples

This manual is best viewed with any Internet Explorer 4.x or greater browser or the new Netscape 6 browser. If you are having trouble viewing this with Netscape 4.x, try using one of the above browsers.



Palview Manual Sections


Below is an index of the manual by section. Those sections of the manual shown with a closed folder image indicate separate pages of the manual. Sections marked by an open folder image denote subheadings within each separate manual page. You can click on any of the section names below to be taken directly to its place within the manual. Sections that are new to Palview4 are indicated in green.



What's New in Palview4

While there are many new features in Palview4, the most important are listed below:



Introduction

Palview is a Win32 Console program for Windows. It is used to create Html with JavaScript for replaying chess games.

The easiest way to use the program is to use Eric Bentzen's excellent GUI program, PalMate, written specifically to work with Palview. But this manual will explain how to use Palview by itself, without reference to another program. To learn how to use Eric's PalMate program, please consult his documentation. While we highly recommended that you use Eric's PalMate program, please read this manual thoroughly, as it will explain all you need to know about the features that Palview offers and how to use them.

The actual chess games that Palview will convert are read from a PGN file. PGN is Portable Game Notation. This file is a simple text file with the .PGN extension and its creation was the work of the chess newsgroup(s) and Steven Edwards. Your own chess software will allow you to create games and export them to a PGN file. (Consult your software's manual on how to do this.) You can obtain a copy of the PGN Standard here: PGN Standard . For more information on Palview and PGN, please read the section, Palview and Portable Game Notation PGN.

Once you have a game, or a collection of games, in a PGN file, you can get Palview to generate an Html-JavaScript page for you. But just what kind of page, with what features, would you like? You determine these options through the use of another file with the extension, INI. This is another simple text file that contains a number of lines that set the various options that are available with Palview. For now just accept that you can edit this INI file to change the settings. It is very easy, really.

The many options that are available with Palview will be explained in more detail in the section The Palview INI File. They will also be discussed in various sections where they are of importance to the topic at hand.

Once you have created an INI file that contains the settings for the various options that you want, you are ready to get Palview to create the Html-JavaScript page for you. You do this by passing, or sending, the PGN and INI files to Palview. You can do this in a number of ways, but the safest is to use the Windows Console. Under Win95, Win98, and WinMe, the Console is also called the MSDOS Prompt. Under WinNT and Win2000, the Console is a program called CMD.EXE.

Essentially what you do is start either of these two programs and then switch to the directory, or folder, that contains your Palview program. If we assume that you installed Palview on your desktop, then you would type cd desktop\palview. This sets the current working directory to the palview folder on your desktop. Now you need to type the name of the Palview program, followed by the name of the PGN file. You would type something like: palview4 filename.pgn. All you have to do at this point is hit the ENTER key to start the program. Once the program is finished, you can hit the ENTER key again. Finally, you can type exit and hit ENTER to close the Console Window. Here is a picture of what all this would look like:

The reason why using the Windows Console is the safest way to use Palview by itself has to do with the way longfilenames are treated under the various Windows OS. The Console method is the best way of preserving your longfilenames under every OS. Other methods of passing the PGN file to Palview are likely to result in shortened filenames. Mind you, the very best advice is to simply use short filenames at all times. Any filename of eight characters (plus three more for the .PGN at the end) should insure that any of the other passing methods described below will also work. These other methods are also more convenient, so use short names and one of the methods below, but if you must use a longfilename then please use the Console method described above. (Better yet -- use Eric Bentzen's excellent PalMate program and let Eric worry about all these details!)

Another way to pass files to Palview is to drag & drop the PGN and INI file onto the Palview4 program icon itself. To do this, click on the PGN file and then, while pressing down the Ctrl key, click on the INI file. This will 'highlight' both of the files, usually by turning their icons a bluish color. You can now grab the two files by holding down the left-mouse button on either of the highlighted icons and dragging them onto the Palview program's icon. The easiest way to accomplish this is to have a single folder that contains the Palview program and all your PGN and INI files that you intend to work with so that everything is visible. If you decide to place Palview in a folder that is separate from your working folder, then you will need to have your Palview folder open on the desktop in order to be able to drag the files onto it.

Yet another way to pass the PGN and INI files to Palview, and much easier too, is to use a Shortcut placed in Window's SendTo folder. From the Win98 Help:

You can add other destinations to Send To. In the Send To folder, which is located in your Windows folder, create shortcuts to the destinations you send files to often, such as a printer, fax machine, or particular folder.

You can create this shortcut easily by first opening the SendTo folder, located in the WINDOWS folder, and then dragging the Palview program icon into the SendTo folder using the right mouse button. When you release the mouse button, you will be shown a short menu by Windows. Select the option 'Create Shortcut Here'. Another way is to click on the File menu of the SendTo folder, select New, then Shortcut. Then follow the instruction by Windows to locate the Palview program to complete the shortcut.

Once you have created the Palview shortcut in the Windows SendTo folder, you can very easily pass the PGN and INI files to Palview. You select the PGN and INI files that you want to send to Palview by clicking on them as described above to highlight them. Now you can right click on any of the highlighted files and a menu will pop up. Select the SendTo option, and then click on Palview.

Sending, or passing, the PGN and INI files to Palview will start the program itself. Palview will first attempt to read the INI file you passed it, or, if you didn't pass one, it will try to read the default palview.INI file located in the same folder as the PGN file. If no palview.INI file is found in the same directory as the PGN file, then Palview will try to read the default palview.INI file from the same folder as the Palview program itself. If there is still no INI file that can be located, then Palview will simply use the default values for the options as set by the program.

Once the INI file has been read, the program will attempt to read the PGN file itself. If all this has been successful, Palview will then generate the HTM, an Html file, and possibly a JS, JavaScript file. These files will be created in the same folder as the PGN file. For more information on the types of Html pages that Palview can generate, please see the section The Palview Page Types.

After Palview has created your HTM file, you can still make further changes to the 'look' of the page by editing the various class properties in the CSS file linked to the page. CSS is short for 'Cascading Style Sheet'. You will no longer need to use Palview to generate a new HTM page just to affect changes in fonts, color, backgrounds, etc. You can simply change the CSS. For more information on Palview and CSS, please see the section Palview and Cascading Stylesheets. All you need to know right now is that you can edit this CSS file quite easily to create a great many changes in the appearance of your HTM file. Once you have created the 'look' that you want, you can reuse the same CSS file over and over for all the pages you create with Palview.

Once you have your Html page(s) and your CSS file all prepared, it is time to upload them to the server so that others can enjoy your work. It is important to note that many of the servers in operation today are Linux or UNIX based. These servers do not like mixed upper and lower case filenames in their Html references. For this reason we recommend that you always set your FTP program to automatically convert all filenames to lowercase when uploading your Palview generated files. This will save you a great deal of trouble. While we are on the subject, it is probably best for you to use lowercase filenames at all times since this will avoid any such problems right from the start.

You do not actually have to install Palview. Since it is just a Win32 Console program, you only need to place the program in the folder that you wish to keep it in. By the same reasoning, if you should ever decide to uninstall Palview, all you have to do is delete it. One thing that you should avoid when deciding on the folder to keep Palview, is that you should NOT use a folder whose name contains a SPACE -- that will cause the program to become inoperable, since Win32 Console programs can't understand such folder names. So DO NOT place Palview in the 'Program Files' folder! Ideally, I would recommend that you create a palview folder on your C: hardrive and place the program there.

There are a couple of other limitations to be aware of when using Palview. These are not at all difficult to live with. The first is that you should avoid using any SPACEs in the names of the files you pass to Palview, such as the PGN and INI files. (This is the same limitation as above.) You should also avoid long filenames If you are not using Eric Bentzen's PalMate program or the Windows Console. We recommend that you use filenames of eight or less characters (not including the extension name, such as PGN). Lastly, Palview allows a maximum of 1000 possible games in any PGN file you send to it. But that is far more than you will ever need for creating a web page, so this is really not a limitation at all, but we give you fair warning up front!

Finally, the last limitation deals with the browsers that will be used to view the HTM pages that Palview creates for you and your website visitors. For most of these pages your visitors will need to have a version 4 or greater browser. Some of the more advanced, and newer pages, will require a version 5 browser. Much of this depends upon what type of page you decide to create and what features you select. These details will be expanded upon in the various sections devoted to each page type. We highly recommend the Internet Explorer 5 or greater browser or the new Netscape 6 or 7 browser.

You can use the browser statistics below, collected by W3 Schools, to get a better grasp of just what most of your chess site visitors will be using to view your pages. One thing of note about the stats below is that you can clearly see the dominance of Microsoft's OS and Internet Explorer browser. As almost everyone is now using Internet Explorer 5.x or higher, your visitors should have no trouble viewing your Palview generated pages.

Browser Statistics

Stats by W3 Schools (July 2003)

Browser Statistics:         Display Resolution:

IE 6.x        59%           1024x768 or more  49%
IE 5.x        34%           800x600           44%
IE 4.x         1%           640x480            2%
Netscape 4.x   1%           Other (unknown)    5%
Other Netscape 1%           
Opera          1%           
OS Statistics:              Display Color Depth:

Windows 98/ME    40%        32 bit       47%
Windows XP       19%        24 bit        8%
Windows 2000     30%        16 bit       40%
Windows 95        2%        8  bit        3%
Windows NT        2%        Unknown       2%
Macintosh         2%         


Palview5 -- No Rest for the Weary

Here is a much shortened 'Wish List' for Palview5.

  • ECO table feature
  • Solitaire Chess (?)
  • DGT Electronic Chess Board Support
  • Improved SSI Support & Data Modularity
  • Server Side Page Creation (ASP, perl, PHP, ...)

If you have any suggestions for Palview5, please be sure to contact us -- we'd love to hear from you! Please see the Contact Us section on just where to find us.



Thank You Everyone, but Especially ...

Palview is a communal project. Contributors come and go much like players in a chess club who drop in for a time, play a while, and then move on to other more important things in life. It has been our great pleasure to have met and worked with a number of pals who have left their mark on Palview, and us. We would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution, but we would especially like to thank the following individuals.

Alan Cowderoy: Alan was the driving force behind the very successful Palamede.com group of chess sites. It was for this group that the original Palview program was created. This is where the program name originates: Palamede + Viewer. Alan was one of the original three program designers for Palview and he made a great many contributions from Palview to Palview3. Alan was instrumental in making Palview known around the chess world. Sadly, Alan has left chess for a while to pursue other interests, especially his much loved flute, but we hope that he'll join us again some day soon. But just like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, wherever Alan goes next, others are sure to follow.

Loc Magnin: Loc wrote the very popular program WinPal that worked as a GUI front end for Palview2. Loc also made many contributions to Palview3, especially in the area of its new CSS. We have lost Loc for a time, as he is off to complete his higher education in France. We wish him all the best and hope that he'll return some day to join us for another round with his Pals!

Robert Ericsson: Robert worked tirelessly for us, long into many nights, helping us to get the program working for the Live coverage. He is also our beta program tester and has helped us out immeasurably to remove as many bugs as we could find. As if this were not enough, he has also contributed a lot of great ideas to Palview. Many of the features that you will come to appreciate were Robert's inspiration. We owe a large debt of gratitude to Robert. You can see more of Robert's work at his site www.linkeboda.com.

Paul Onstad: Paul contributed most of the p3eco program to Palview along with the p3eco.txt file that is the basis for the Opening position table. The p3eco.txt file is a slightly modified version of Paul's ECOMast.txt. Sadly, Paul passed away earlier this year. He was always a great guy to talk to and never failed to contribute ideas. I will miss him a lot.

Tim Harding (ChessMail): Tim joined in with the palview team for Palview2 and he contributed many of the basic concepts of using CSS with the Html pages that palview generates. He was also the inspiration behind the idea of using Steve Smith's excellent Alpine figurine fonts to supply chess figurines to the Html page. Thanks Tim! You can visit Tim's correspondence chess site at www.chessmail.com

Mathias Feist (ChessBase): I've learned a great deal from Mathias over the past couple of years and he has always been very helpful in making sure Palview3 works well with ChessBase products. He is always willing to share his vast experience and to listen to any problems I may be having with our program. Mathias is the programmer for ChessBase 8.0, the most popular chess database program in the world.

Armando Marroquin: Armando has designed many beautiful Chess Fonts (TTF) all of which can be downloaded for free from Eric Bentzen's En Passant site. Armando kindly gave us permission to use his fonts, Kingdom, Leipzig, and Merida, to create three of the chess set pieces that you get with Palview4.

Eric Schiller: Eric is the creator of the Chess Font Tilburg that was used to create the Tilburg chess set pieces. You will find much more chess material from Eric at his sites chesscity.com and chessworks.com.

Steve Smith: Steve is no longer with us, but his family continues to sell his excellent set of chess fonts Hastings, Linares, and Zurich. The Linares font was used to create the Linares chess set pieces for Palview4. You can obtain any of these excellent Chess Fonts from the Alpine site at Alpine Electronics.

Eric Bentzen: It would be a terrible oversight if I didn't also thank my good friend Eric Bentzen for permission to use his beautiful Alpha Chess Font to create the Alpha chess set pieces that you get with Palview4. You can get your own copy of this chess font for free directly from Eric's site at En Passant.

Ben Bulsink: Ben works for DGT Projects, the makers of the fine DGT electronic chess board and clock. Ben worked with Alan Cowderoy to create the new PGN Supplement that enables Digital Clock times to be inserted into PGN files for Live Game Transmission. You can visit the DGT Projects site at dgtprojects.com.

Mats Winther: Mats has helped us out with Palview right from the start. He has contributed valuable ideas to the program and has also proven to be a good bug hunter as well.

Jack Woodbury: Jack was the first person I know of who actually created a chess viewer using Html and JavaScript. It is always a pleasure to banter with him and to discuss ideas about programming a chess viewer this way. Thanks Jack!



How to Contact Us

Want to Contribute?

We always appreciate any email that we receive, but we especially like to hear about new ideas and features that you would like to see in the next version of Palview. If you have any suggestion at all please feel free to contact any of us at the email addresses provided below. Remember that Palview is a community project, so we encourage you to think of it as being as much your program as anyone's. If there is something you want Palview to do for you don't be afraid to speak out. Of course we can't guarantee that we will implement every idea that comes our way, but we can guarantee that it will get our complete attention!

Having Trouble?

If you are having any trouble with Palview we will do what we can to help you out. The first thing that you should do if you run into trouble is to visit the Palview Developers Board. Here you will be able to find the latest information about Palview, PalMate, and Palive. If someone else has experienced your same problem, you may find that the solution has already been posted here. If you look at the postings on the board but don't see an answer to your particular problem, then you can post a note to the board yourself explaining the problem. We are always watching the board, so one of us will certainly answer you.

Who and Where We Are

Andrew Templeton Palview programmer:

Please send any Palview bug reports, complaints, harangues, and 'notifications of the end of the world' to me (especially that last item -- I wouldn't want to miss that!) If you do have a bug to report, please attach the PGN, INI and CSS files that you used when creating the Html file that contains the error. If you can ZIP these files and attach it, that would be even better. Naturally, I'd also love to hear about any ideas that you might have as well.

Eric Bentzen PalMate and Palive programmer:

Robert Ericsson linkeboda.com

Program and Manual History

Program Version: Palview4 1.00
Date: December 1, 2003

Manual Version: 1.00
Date: December 1, 2003