You mean you actually put the whole book online? And its free?
Yep. Knock yourself out.
I admit that for a while, I toyed with the idea of charging a fee to use the electronic version of the book, or possibly selling it as shareware. Well Ive had lots of ideas that turned out to be dumb. However, if youre feeling especially generous and would like to make a contribution, Ill suggest some ways you can spread the warm fuzzies around and get something out of it for yourself too:
Your book only covers Nisus Writer up to version 4.1.6. Will you be updating The Nisus Way to cover version 5.1 (which, after all, has been the current version for over two years)?
Short answer: no. Ive thought about this for a long timeyears, in fact. Many, many people have asked about a new version of the book. And I'd like to do one, I really would, but my past experience tells me that its a huge project not compatible with having a life. The first edition of the book took me over six months to write, nearly every waking hour when I wasnt at work or at school (and sometimes even when I was). Those were brutal months. And even converting the book to HTML took an astonishing amount of time that I would rather have spent doing more relaxing things like hanging out with my girlfriend, reading, exercising, or planning a party. If I didnt have a regular job, it might be different. Alas, I dont have that luxury, and unlike the first time, theres no financial incentive for me to put in all that work. So, my apologies but I just cant. I might stick in a few more New in 5.1 notes from time to timeno promisesbut thats about it.
What about the next version of Nisus Writer? Nisus Software has been promising Nisus Writer 2000, for both Mac and Windows, for well over a year now. Will you update the book for that vesion?
I seriously doubt itfor all of the reasons stated above. I might reconsider if I were approached by a publisher wishing to do a paper edition, but I think the chances of that are quite slim.
Can I write to your for help with my Nisus Writer problem?
Lots of people write to me for help with Nisus Writer, and time permitting, I do my best to help out. However, Id like to suggest that if you have a question or problem that isnt addressed in The Nisus Way, youd do well to check out some of the other resources available first. That will help you by getting your answer sooner, and it will help me by keeping my e-mail volume more manageable! Here's where you can go for more help:
What are the differences between the print version and the online version?
The online version is derived from the original text files that I submitted to the publisher eons ago. However, there are some differences. First, Ive corrected all the errors I could find in the original text (and probably introduced a few more). Second, I used an entirely different layout. The layout used in the print version didnt lend itself well to HTML presentation, and I wanted the flexibility to position figures and sidebar notes closer to the text that refers to them. Finally, Ive added a few widely scattered notes about changes in the latest version (or other new information that affects the truth of the original text).
That Table of Contents in the frames version takes forever to load, and during that time my machine appears to be frozen. Is there any way you can speed that up?
Why is there no index?
I did not have access to the original index file used for the printed book, and even if I did, it wouldnt have been all that useful for an HTML document. Frankly, the thought of recreating the entire index from scratchespecially if I wanted to do it rightwas more than I could handle. Indexing is an incredibly time-consuming task, no matter how clever you get with macros. However, using a combination of the search engine on my web site to locate a chapter, and your browser's Find command to find the location of a term on a page, you should be able to locate anything you're looking for with only a tiny bit of extra effort.
Why are the graphics all in black-and-white?
When the book was originally published, the publisher requested grayscale bitmaps. I found that the easiest way to create these was to switch my monitor to grayscale, take screen shots, and then doctor up the graphics as necessary. So there never were color originals for many of the graphicsand there was simply no way I could redo all those hundreds of files (393, to be exact, counting the inline graphics) in color at this point.
When viewed in Netscape Navigator/Communicator 4.x, the spacing is kind of wonky. Is there anything you can do about that?
Yes and no. This book relies on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for formatting. Unfortunately, both Internet Explorer 4.x and Netscape Navigator/Communicator 4.x have buggy and incomplete CSS implementations. Ive tried to work around this where I could, but in some cases there was just nothing I could do. There were some instances where I could make the spacing look correct for either IE or Netscape but not both at the same time, and in those cases I chose IEs approach, simply because on the whole, IE renders CSS in a more sensible way than Netscape. I have reason to be optimistic that the generation 5 browsers will handle CSS more robustly, but until then wonky spacing.
Did you use Nisus Writer to convert The Nisus Way to HTML?
You better believe it! The job of HTML-izing all that text was a huge oneeven though the whole book was written in Nisus Writer and used defined styles religiously. I would never even have attempted it if I didnt have Nisus Writer. Even using PowerFind Pro and macros extensively, it took me many weeks of evenings and weekends to get the job done. Although the bulk of the work was done in Nisus Writer, I also used Adobe GoLive for Cascading Style Sheets and final layout tweaks. (While Nisus Writer is great at some things, doing tricky HTML layouts is not one of them!) And no, I didnt use either the Save as HTML feature or the included HTML macros to do the conversion. This particular task was too heavily dependent on some elements of the original style coding the publisher required for the generic macros to be of any use.
I have a book that I want to convert to HTML. Will you send me your macros?
I dont have a set of macros that will do the job; I figured it out as I went along and didnt save all the Find/Replace expressions and temporary macros I used along the way. Besides, every manuscript is different, and your needs will almost certainly be different from mine. Think of it as a learning experience.
How can I get a printed copy of the original book?
If youd like to purchase a printed copy, you may be in for a bit of a search. The book is officially out of print, which means that there are no more copies available to bookstoresand no more will be printed. There were thousands of unsold copies of the first (and only) printing, but my efforts to find out the whereabouts of these copies have not met with success. My best guess is that they are populating the bargain bins of discount bookstores around the world.
Some participants on the Nisus mailing list have found copies (both new and used) at Powells in Portland, Oregon and at Half-Price Computer Books here in Vancouver, British Columbia (which now, sadly, reports that they are permanently sold out). A recent contributor suggested the AddAll Book Searching and Price Comparison Web site as a good place to look for new or used copies. Another reader reported that The Nisus Way is available from the Mac Professionals Book Club. It is no longer listed on their web site, but if you're a member, you can request it by Stock # (6470598) at the "members price" of $24.95.
I found a used (or remaindered) copy of the book, but the CD was missing or damaged. Can I get a replacement?
No, there are no spare CDs floating around that I know of. But I put the files from the CD online, so you can download them.