[MUD-Dev] Re: In game bulletin boards vs. Web based.

Bruce Mitchener ubmitche at mcs.drexel.edu
Tue Jun 9 21:48:24 New Zealand Standard Time 1998

Ellis Pomales writes:
> I would like to know what your opinions are on bulletin board systems
> within Muds. My belief is that a web based bulletin board systems is
> alot easier to develop, fancier and more reliable than an online one. Is
> this true? Do you agree?

Why not place a web interface on the same system as the online boards?  
In ColdCore, we have a web server and over the course of a month or so, I 
had at one point (not as part of ColdCore), added a web interface to the 
standard mailsystem and added several features with permissions groups 
and so on.  I didn't backport those additions into the standard code, but 
it wouldn't have been difficult to reintegrate that into ColdCore itself 
(ColdCore btw is the database for Genesis, www.cold.org).

> In that vain should help be web based? With minimal help in-game? Or do
> you think that help is so critical that it should be on the mud?

Again to pull an example from ColdCore, we use a markup language for all 
of our help nodes.  This markup language is compiled into an internal 
format and can be run through various processor objects.  For online 
usage, it is often output in plain text, although converters exist to add 
some ANSI codes (a bit broken at points), and for Pueblo (client from 
Chaco, now defunct), or HTML output. The web server can render a help 
node into HTML and return it via the browser, including converting links 
in the help node into clickable links in the browser.  For an example, 
check out <url:http://ice.cold.org/bin/help>.  The content seen there is 
the same data as when you log in to the mud and type @help. Note that the 
links that show up in HTML are navigable while logged in through the 
plain text format, the Pueblo format and a format that has a plugin for 
use with TkMOO (I think someone wrote support for it for mud.el also, but 
I haven't got a copy of it).

Why maintain a separation when you can have both interfaces to the same 
system?  For non-mud examples, look at the wide variety of interfaces 
that exist for gnats, the GNU bug tracking system.  There are command 
line utilities, a Tk based tool, a web interface and others.

Having the content for the help accessible is invaluable while 
programming, but the ability to provide a web reference without having to 
edit 2 copies of it saves a lot of time and versioning problems.

 - Bruce

Bruce Mitchener, Jr.
bruce at puremagic.com

Vote Monarchist!  (licensed from Black Unicorn <unicorn at schloss.li>)
Ego sum rex romanus, et super grammatica.

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