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The tools of the trade

Here is a brief description of some of the tools that you may find useful.

Text editor

The first thing you will need is a really good text editor with a search and replace function! Although Notepad has withstood the test of time, it really does not have a good search and replace function. Word Pad used in the text mode can be used, but it can not search out newlines which is very useful in the work that we will be doing. I use EditPad from JGSoftware (http://www.jgsoft.com/) Its free (actually you need to send Jan a post card), it's fast, and best of all it can do new-line searches. You will see why this is important when we look at doing the initial markup of e-texts.


This is a very useful tool for converting HTML to XHTML. It can be obtained from http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett/tidy.

Tidy is a command line tool and in Windows must be run from a DOS window. To convert an HTML file to XHTML, navigate to the directory that contains tidy, and type at the command line

    tidy -m -asxml filepath

This will rewrite the file as a valid XHTML file. If you think you have a lot of errors in the original HTML file you may want to make a record of them.

    tidy -f errors.txt -m -asxml filepath
will write a log of all the errors to errors.txt. Users with systems other than Windows will find details of use at the 'tidy' site.

XML capable Browsers

If you are writing in XML you will need an XML capable browser, at the time of writing this means either IE5 or Gecko! Other choices can be found at http://www.xmlsoftware.com/browsers/

XML parsers

You will need an XML parser if you are marking up in XML. Numerous parsers can be found at http://www.xmlsoftware.com/parsers/ We particularly recommend the IBM browser in C, XML4C. We have also designed a simple parser embeded in a web page, parser.html, that you can use if you are running IE5.

This parser is very simple and fast and uses the IE5 XML DLL as its engine. Note that before using the parser you will have to save this parser to your own platform. You will get an 'access denied' error message if you try and run it from the web. Warning! Do NOT save the IE5 web page, go to 'view/source', and save the text file! IE5 does funny things with the internal code when you save web pages!


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