Emily Short's Help extension and Parchment compatibility

Hi all,

So, on the version of Parchment I am using locally (Parchment for Inform 7 (2010-10-18)), with version Inform 7 build 6G60 (I6/v6.32 lib 6/12N), the Basic Help Menu extension works fine.

However, I have uploaded my zblorb file to the IF Comp site, and when I click the play online link, it loads a version of Parchment (Parchment for Inform 7 - not sure how to get additional version detail) in which the Hints extension works only partially.

The formatting of the title/menu bar is incorrect, and on entering into a list of hints the actual hints seem to appear behind the top level menu or do not appear at all - it is hard to tell. Also, the navigation N, P and Q appears to be disabled.

Is this a known bug/defect/feature? Does anyone know a way of getting around this?

Thanks for any help.


It’s likely that the ifcomp site uses an older version of Parchment and they can’t update because the transcript recording plugin isn’t updated to work with the latest version. Sorry about that.

It’s unlikely that it’s older than 2010-10-18 though. Actually I think I saw on Github that they are using the latest version maybe?


I am glad that the author-preview stuff I put in place is helping to catch these issues early!

I’ll have a look at this presently. If you could, McTavish, could you tell me what browser and OS you’re using?

I spent much of today digging into this.

The good news: I do believe I’ve found a workaround that not only fixes this issue, but will also allow server-side transcript-recordng to work for Z-code games, something that’s eluded me thus far. This fix isn’t running on the server yet but it will be soonish; I’ll update the blog & twitter when it’s ready.

The not-so-good news: I believe that this has revealed a problem in recent Parchments, including those that ship with 2014’s Inform 7 releases, when working with Z-code games. (Glulx is fine, and indeed looks better than ever with new Parchments.)

Here’s how I can reproduce this behavior on Inform 7, version 6L02 (Mac). First, start a new project, then in the ‘Settings’ pane, change the Story File Format to Z-Code version 8. Then enter this source:

Release, then open up play.html in a browser. Type HELP. If you’re seeing what I’m seeing, then the interpeter hangs. I am told that this behavior is apparent in the latest Inform 7, and I’ve also seen it with parchment-using webpages built outside of Inform. (Indeed, this is what ifcomp.org does.)

If instead you enter an initial command or two and then HELP, you see the problematic formatting that McTavish described at the top of this thread.

I’m going to proceed to file an I7 ticket. Dannii, let me know if I can be helpful sharing this information elsewhere as well.

I’ll take a look ASAP.

[Edit] I see the bad formatting, but it does not crash. I have tested it in IE 11, Firefox 20 and Chrome 37.

Jmac, would there be a way for you to give me a link to see this on the comp site?

I can put up a live example outside the comp website, actually, and drop you a note; will do so presently. Thanks!