PalMate is a graphic interface for Palview version 4. Palview converts chess game files in pgn format to web pages where the the game(s) can be viewed and replayed. It is indeed possible to use Palview without PalMate, but PalMate makes it much easier. For detailed information about Palview see the Palview Pages. For detailed (and more technical) info about PalMate see PalMate Technical Info.
At the Palview Pages you can see a number of sample Palview pages. This will give you an idea of what Palview can do.
PalMate makes it easy to change the layout and process the page. PalMate has an built in web browser and as you work you can preview the page by clicking a button. When you are satisfied you save your work and upload to your server.
A normal Palview page has a chessboard with chess pieces, a control panel to move back and forth and the game move text with information about players, event etc. You can also use flag images for the player's country and Informator-like symbols for annotation.
Palview writes the html file, and you upload the page to your website. All images must also be uploaded (once) to the server, because the html file links to the chess board image etc., just like you would link to images in any other html file.
The basic page structure (frames, no-frames etc.) is of course defined in the html file itself, but almost all other layout and formatting instructions are stored in another file: a css stylesheet. The stylesheet contains information like page background color, preferred fonts, font size, text color, borders etc. etc. The stylesheet must also be present on the server.
All pages created with Palview use a stylesheet. With PalMate you don't need to know anything about how to write a cascading stylesheet - you just point on e.g. "Text Color", select a color and PalMate writes the stylesheet with the correct syntax for you.
As I said above Palview offers excellent control of the page layout. This is partly due to using stylesheets, but with Palview you also get a number of different chess board designs and sizes plus several different piece sets.
To use PalMate you must make a "mirror" of your website on your local hard drive - identical directory structure and names. When you select images and paths during page creation PalMate will translate the local DOS-paths to html-links (relative URLs). This will ensure that the pages you create will look OK when uploaded if they were OK before uploading.
The chess board, chess pieces, control panel, flags and annotation symbols are all images. For the page to look right the html code must have correct links (URLs) to these images. The html page also has a link to the stylesheet used.
It is a good idea to give the directory structure some serious thought. If you have Palview html pages for different purposes ("Game Of The Day", "Game The Week", "Game Of The Year" etc.) make a directory for each category. Keeping the html directories on the same "level" in the structure will make it easier to re-use stuff, because the relative URLs to images and other stuff will be identical. If you make a magazine or a crosstable page with links to game pages it is strongly recommended to put these in a folder of their own - if not the risk of overwriting older game pages is very big, because the individual game pages for magazines and crosstable pages are named by numbers ("g1.htm to g?.htm").
If you know for sure that you'll never ever use more than one specific type of chess board image and one specific piece set then by all means put all the images in one big soup bowl. However I recommend that you keep your stuff in different directories. For instance:
In the example I have used short image directory names on purpose. Palview will write a URL for each image - the pieces too - and if you have more than one board and game on a page the total number of characters saved by using short directory names can amount to a sizable chunk of bytes and thus influence how fast the browser will read your page.
So: make a well-structured local directory tree with all your Palview images and upload the lot to your server.
The very first time you run PalMate you'll be asked for the location of the Palview program. PalMate must know this.
PalMate uses two sets of help files:
Much of the online help is from The Palview Manual. PalMate can access The Palview Manual on the Internet (if you are connected of course) or on your local harddrive. The manual can be downloaded from The Palview Pages. Unzip with WinZip.
From the menu "Files - Path To Palview Manual" you can tell PalMate where and how to locate the manual. If not told PalMate will try to open the Internet pages and will fail if you aren't connected or if the server is down.
Next Page: How to make a Palview page. Step by step instructions.