Inform 7 Web?

I was bored over the weekend and started mucking around with a web version if the Inform 7 IDE. Given the amazing libraries today like jQuery UI, jQuery Widgets, and CodeMirror, it would seems we could get pretty far along in implementing a web based version of the I7 IDE.

The Skein would be painful. The Transcript isn’t that bad. Most of the compiler output is web-based, so that’s not too bad. As they do at Playfic, the game can be run in Parchment.

I have my Zifmia stuff I could implement, but that’s not really my priority.

The question is…would anyone be interested in a connected web based tool?

There hasn’t been any discussion as far as I recall…


David C.

Why not add stuff to Playfic?

Sure…is Playfic open to outside development? I can’t tell from the website itself, but I seem to recall a blog or note from Andy about “Hey I did this, if someone else wants to continue adding on, cool.”

Of course this would be open source and anyone could host a version of it for their own purposes.

David C.

Hey, I’ve been pestering Andy endlessly to add a way to browse through older games. From his replies, I think he would love to continue adding to Playfic, certainly intends to, but just has little time. I’m SURE he’d appreciate the help!

The current inform7 IDEs for Mac and Windows seem great. I’m not sure what’s to be gained by having a web-based version. If PlayFic acts as an on-ramp for people who would otherwise not download an IDE, then that’s great. Not to be jaded, but I’m not sure what problem is being solved by having (another) web-based version of Inform7.

That was more or less the primary question. I started doing it for kicks. Then I was trying to think of use cases for a web based programming IDE and … struggled. PlayFic is probably the only place for it…maybe Guncho.

No need to feel you’re being jaded. I kind of feel the same way after thinking about it more. I still may poke around with it, just because.

David C.

A couple of people have asked about the possibility of doing I7 development on a tablet. Playfic is currently the only way to do that. (Unless someone’s gotten the Windows I7 IDE onto a Windows 8 tablet…?)

I don’t know if there’s enough interest to make it worth anybody’s time, but there’s some interest.

There must be remote desktop apps for tablets?

The main opportunity for a web tool seems to be collaboration. I don’t think you can even do that at Playfic yet though?

So that’s an interesting twist. An offshoot if the I7 IDE that focuses on collaboration. Myabe instead of the normal file system handling it point to iCoud, SyDrive, DropBox.

David C.

Go one step further – can’t you already use shared storage with collaborators? So shared live editing, multiplayer, etcetera.

Okay, so there seems to be little need for a full blown Web version of the I7 IDE.

There is some interest in a tablet I7 editor of some sorts.

Since this would be a tablet editor, it would seem to be okay then to move away from the existing side-by-side UX to something more tablet-friendly, right?

I couldn’t be called Inform 7.

What would this tablet UX have fore requirements?

David C.

The side-by-side UI seems perfectly usable for large tablets and desktop machines. Not so much for phone-size displays and mini-tablets.

I would say, offer an option between a two-page option (following the desktop IDE as much as possible) and a one-page option (basically the same thing, but offering just one page at a time. With tab buttons along the top rather than the side.)

Not sure what to say about requirements, other than that. It should work on desktop and mobile browsers. That’s plenty of requirement right there.

Yeah, I think side-by-side works fine for wide screens, tablet or not. (There aren’t any square (or 4:3) tablets made these days, are there?)

Having just realised that in an iPod touch there isn’t a “TAB” key, I would also suggest, strange at it may seem, the inclusion of such a key in the interface itself.

iPads are all 4:3. And good point about the tab key.

The more I think about this, the more I think a simple editor would be the best route. Leave out almost all of the standard IDE features and have an editor with Play as a button somewhere. The release, skein, and transcript features could be viewed as production/desktop features. It would still have the Errors/Index of course, but only one panel. Not side by side panels.

I could see writing IF at the coffee shop on my iPad (or any tablet) in this manner.

David C.

That’s what is now. (Except it’s still got two panels.) I thought we were talking about improving it.

There is no index though, that could be useful.

I would implement CodeMirror so we could have the syntax highlighting, section titles, etc.

Also…nothing I would do would prevent it from being adopted by playfic. I thought I made that clear. I’m just thinking about making a tool. Nothing more, nothing less.

So look at it as if I want to re-implement the I7 editing part of PlayFic to be more robust.

David C.