About the PHOENICS Commander
- Display options
- Activation of editing
- Extending the Commander
- Adding a language
1.1 Purpose and nature
The PHOENICS Commander has been provided for the purpose of
making PHOENICS easy to use, especially by newcomers.
It may be activated by either:
- clicking on the desk-top icon provided by the PHOENICS
- entering pc at the command prompt.
The Commander presents itself to users as a set of
a (scrollable) row of buttons along the top, one or more (scrollable) columns of buttons on
the left, (sometimes) some 'tabs' along the bottom, and a
central (scrollable) white page
of text with (sometimes) embedded figures.
Each button has the form of an icon which indicates
its nature. Examples are:
When the mouse pointer 'hovers' over one of these
icons, a sentence indicating its function appears on the screen.
- which means turn to another
panel, with the same buttons along the top but different ones on
- which means display a named .htm file by
way of the default browser;
- which means display a named .doc
file by way of Microsoft Word;
- which means display a named .ppt
file by way of Microsoft Power Point;
- which means execute some
program, often a module of PHOENICS;
- which means execute satellite,
earth and vr-viewer, consecutively;
- which is used in the
Notes regarding nomenclature
The word 'page' is used for the central area of
the window; and 'panel' for the complete window; but this
distinction may not always be strictly observed.
The word 'button' is used for 'clickable icon'.
1.2 The top-of-panel buttons
Each of the first five of the seven buttons along the top of
every panel opens, when clicked, a new panel:
Of the last two, "go back" returns to the past-visited panel)
and "quit" terminates the COMMANDER session.
- 'New user' helps persons who know nothing about PHOENICS
to start work;
- 'About PHOENICS' presents many buttons leading to files
which provide information;
- the next provides access to the input-file library;
- 'Run modules' facilitates the running of the various
modules of PHOENICS, either
singly, or in combination; and
- the last provides buttons facilitating the viewing and
editing of the files which are most prominent in the PHOENICS
1.3 The left-of-page buttons
The buttons on the left are different for each panel. Their
functions are described in the relevant pages.
1.4 The directory structure
The directory in which Commander-specific files reside is
/phoenics/d_pc, of which the sub-directories are:
- TCLS, containing the 'tool command language' files in which the
mechanism of the Commander is defined;
- HTMS, where the 'hypertext mark-up language files are stored, language-by-language;
- GIFS, where the image fils are stored; and
- USERPREF, where the user's preferences are recorded.
2. Display options
The user can vary, to some extent, the appearance of the
panels. This is achieved by use of the 'display options' button
of the "Customise the Commander" panel, accessible from Top Page.
The possibility of editing what appears on a page is offered by the "Enable Editing" button the "Customise the Commanser" panel, accessible from Top Page.
New users are advised NOT to make use of this facility; or, if
they do, they should retain back-up copies of the originals of
the files which they propose to edit.
The functionality of the Commander's editor is similar to that of
4. Extending the Commander
What appears on each PHOENICS-Commander panel is dictated by the contents
of an underlying HTML file. Thus:
Extending the Commander therefore implies adding content
to existing html files and/or creating new html files.
Warning: These files can be safely edited only by those who
are conversant with
the writing of HTML files; and it is to those that
the remainder of this document is addressed, in the form of:
Instructions and warnings to creators of new PHOENICS-Commander panels,
- You are free to provide as much material as you wish, written in valid
html, including links to gifs (except animated ones) and htms.
- However, the Commander is not as tolerant of departures from the rules
as are some browsers.
Moreover back-slashes should not appear anywhere; and it is unsafe to
'comment out' lines by use of the conventional HTML tags, <!-- and --> ,
because these have special significance,
as explained below.
- Buttons and tabs are created by the introduction of an
unordered list, by means of the <ul> tag, and inclusion of a colon
in the first space following the <li>.
- Then coding in
/phoenics/d_pc/tcls/newstyle.tcl will create either a corresponding
left-hand-margin button or a bottom-margin tab.
- Buttons are created if the colon is followed by <!--icon-name.gif
- Tabs are created if the colon is followed by <!--addtab
Format of lines with colons
A line having a colon dictates the appearance and function of the
buttons or tabs which appear on the screen, as follows:
- The characters to the left of the colon appear as button or tab names.
- Other features are defined between the html 'comment' delimiters,
<!-- and --> ; they
* the icon, in the case of a button
* the action which will ensue after pressing the button;
* the file to be displayed in the case of a tab.
- The first line of words following --> appears as 'hover help' for a
- The type of action viz:
is conveyed by the choice of icon (for buttons).
- exhibit file in browser or Word,
- display another panel,
- edit a file, or
- run an executable.
- There are some special 'icon-names' which produce other effects.
- The Commander is very clever at finding files which are 'somewhere' in the PHOENICS system. It is therefore possible to insert a file name without its full path, as for example in
addtab--howtotut--> , which finds the file howto.htm, wherever it is.
But what if there are two files of the same name within the PHOENICS system? Then one cannot be sure as to which one the Commander will find and present.
Example, to be found in:
<li> Sphere: <!--execsev.gif-->
input-file-library case 805
will create a button labelled with the name Sphere, and the icon:
mouse is over the button, the hover help will show the text:
"by running input-file-library case 805"
How to add a tab
A tab, which is the name used for the clickable areas along the bottom borders
of a page, is added as seen in the following example, which appears near
the bottom of
- advice: on how to use the tutorial system
is accessible by pressing the tab on the bottom edge
Here, 'advice' is the name of the tab, 'hotottut.htm' is the name of the file which
will appear in the page space. Tabs have no 'hover help'.
Further information about how to extend the PHOENICS Commander is best
gathered by inspection of the files in the HTMS folder.
5. Adding a language
The other-language-than-English feature can be extended to additional languages which employ the latin-based character set, by taking the following steps:
- Look in the file \phoenics\d_pc\tcls\pcpage.tcl for the line which starts with:
[list "Russian" "Chinese" "Japanese" "French" "Spanish"
- If the language to be added, for example Swahili, is not in the list, add it thus: "Swahili" before the ] ] brackets, and with spaces before and after.
- In the folder \phoenics\d_pc\htms create a new folder with the name swahili.
- Into the swahili folder place files called top-page.htm and diction.htm. This is most conveniently done by copying the English-language files with those names from the folder:
\phoenics\d_pc\htms\english\pcpages , although you will of course wish to introduce your own language into them later.
- Now look in diction.htm. There you will see lines set out as follows:
newusrh::Welcome! Quick start. Tutorials. Ready-to-run cases.
abtphoh::PHOENICS on line documentation
infilh::Find and/or run already-prepared Q1s with desired features
- The words to the right of the double colons (::) will be recognised as the labels of buttons, once you have understood that '\n' means: 'place on the next-lower line'.
- To the left of the double colons lie the more-cryptic words which the Commander uses internally, e.g. newusrh, infil, etc. These words should not be touched.
- It is the ones to the right which you should replace with those in Swahili. Be careful however not to place colons among the words, lest the Commander become confused.
Thereafter the task is to translate into Swahili as many as you wish of the .htm files, of which the english-language versions are to be found in the htms\english folder.
You will probably find it convenient to use the same sub-folder structure for Swahili as is used for English; but it is not necessary; for the Commander will find the files wherever they are placed in the Swahili folder.
It is not necessary to translate everything; for, if it finds no translation, the Commander will simply use the English.
- Lastly, a word of warning: the files into which you are placing your translations are HTML files; so you will need to observe the relevant conventions.
Indeed, you would be wise to make sure that you either follow the English very strictly in its placing of such tags as <ol>,
<li>, </ol>, <br>, <p>, etc, or else that you study an elementary book on HTML, so that you can make your own decisions.
If what appears on the screen is not what you expected, the probable reason is that you have broken one of HTML's rules, and that the browser which is built into the Commander has misinterpreted your intentions.