Although other tools may be more appropriate if you want a full Newton application, complex form, or precisely formatted page, HTML, especially with its forms capabilities, falls into an interesting class of new tools that support a range of "infoware": interactive documents and text-rich applications. Depending on what you want to accomplish, other tools include:
BookMaker from Apple can be used to generate stand-alone books that use the standard Newton book reader. If you have Apple's Newton ToolKit (NTK) on Macintosh or Windows, create documents only for Newtons, prefer the BookMaker markup language, and/or want to take advantage of all of the Newton book reader features, you could use BookMaker.
Press is a tool from Apple to generate books from word processing documents on Macintosh or Windows. Cost $69?.
PaperBack is a free application for Macintosh and Windows from Dave Fedor. It processes plain text and creates a standalone Newton book-like application, with built-in reader. PaperBack is good for simple, large, single-font text documents; it can be a convenient way to download HTML source text to the Newton for processing by Newt's Cape or NewtonScript source for NewtDevEnv. WabumiUni is a similar application for Japanese users and character sets.
Adobe Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) files are portable across popular platforms (Mac, Windows, Unix). We are not aware of any PDF viewers for PDAs. also other tools.
There is an interesting/confusing overlap in functionality between PDF and HTML. In complex documents where precise layout and format of text and graphics on a page is important, PDF could have some advantages over HTML. Although PDF is more compact than PostScript, PDF files are large by Newton standards, and the typical 8-1/2x11" page size could provide interesting scaling/scrolling challenges on the Newton. Since Newtons vary in screen size/orientation, the format-independence of HTML has many advantages over PDF for creating truly portable documents.
There are a variety of tools for creating forms for database entry and questionnaires: FormLogic, FlashData, PowerForms, FormIt, transForm, etc.
Form descriptions are created typically via layout editors on the Newton or desktop (Mac, Windows), and are specific to each product. Form tools can be quite expensive since they may include layout, scripting, runtime and data synchronization for both the Newton and desktop. HTML may be attractive if the form is relatively simple -- using input fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, pickers and buttons -- with answers saved in the Notepad, a soup (Newton database), or sent via email or TCP.
You can create applications, forms, and books using NewtonScript, and save these as packages directly on your Newton using the Newt Development Environment. Although you can create NewtonBooks using Newt (in fact, early Newt's Cape prototypes were created using Newt), creating books programmatically is messy and not well documented, so we would not recommend that kids try it at home -- that's one of the reasons for Newt's Cape.
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Version 2.1. Last updated: Jun 2001