Tinderbox Forum

iOS killed my hypertext project

Hi - I wrote a hypertext autobiographical project in html (with lots of help) in the early 200os and it was published by a digital magazine but when they converted to adapt to iOS - they could not convert my piece without rebuilding it. Ive also been using it in my teaching - I teach creative writing - so I would like it to be available. I’ve been checking out story space but I’m not that techie - I’m looking for help - insights - I don’t even know if this is a good option. Thanks

Hi, welcome to the forum.

It’s not quite clear what the problem is. Are you saying the only copy you have is broken (due to modifications for use with iOS)? That does seen odd however, as generally running on iOS doesn’t affect HTML beyond the work beyond the smaller screen size and form factor and haptic vs normal keyboard input. If you were using Flash, that’s now officially dead on all platforms with support being withdrawn by most browsers/OSs.

Storyspace is certainly a suitable tool for hypertext authoring. If you want that hypertext in HTML form you’ll need Tinderbox to do the export. Depending on your hypertext design (not enough info above) likely you may only need hypertext.

Being online, is your hypertext viewable via a public URL? If a private URL by all means sent me a forum private message and I’ll take a look in confidence.

Bottom line, though it sounds like Tinderbox is a suitable answer, without a closer look at the conplexity of your hypertext it is hard to be definitive.

Thank you for responding. It was originally an html project and a digital magazine published it but when the magazine updated and changed its platform so it could be read in iOS - my story could no longer be read. Other issues were broken links to the web and the advent of more insights on the theory (what we know now) as well as the story about the murder of my brother. So I needed to make changes in that respect.

I didn’t build the original html site. It was a grad school project. I wrote and designed it and someone set it up for me and told me what and where to type in code- did all the editing - etc. I can’t remember the name of the program. It’s probably defunct and I would be hard pressed to pull this off again on my own. I’m only somewhat proficient technically and in the past I always had people around to do it for me.

It’s a fairly simple linear set up - not that many nodes or choices. But offers lots of pop up windows with photos and more details - It wouldn’t be the same story if it weren’t a decentered narrative. Plus I like to use it in classes as an example of segmented mosaic digital storytelling.

So I’ve been looking for solutions. I would be fine with it in html if that’s all I can pull together. But I don’t know how to do it. I can build simple word press sites but the complex stuff is out of my reach. I open to any suggestions - guidance.

If the original HTML site exists, that should be your first port of call. You mention pop-up windows which may have been done via JavaScript, but that’s not insurmountable.

I think the first task it to recover the HTML site into an editable/re-publishable form, though from your comments above that might likely tax you own expertise. Thus I wonder if it might be worth contacting the Electronic Literature Lab at WSU (Vancouver). Dene Grigar’s group are heavily into preservation of e-lit and it strikes me your task might be a nice student project: i.e. a real task with an actual payoff whilst still being a learning/training task for the student. I don’t the work is inherently complex, but more having the appropriate range of skills and the time to devote to the task. I think your choice of tool is probably better deferred to when you have a better delineation of what needs doing in what form, though I suspect Tinderbox would likely be more use in recreating a Web-delivered HTML hypertext.

Does that help any?

This sounds like it would benefit from using Cordova, an open-source toolchain for wrapping HTML in a native device browser. It neatly lets you publish to a number of platforms (iOS, android, the web, …), but it’s a command line tool and needs a certain amount of expertise to generate the final installation packages - on the up side, if you can get someone to help realise that aspect, you can send most of the packages it published to the various app stores.

One shortcoming you’d have with a Cordova solution is that you only have one web view - you wouldn’t be able to open pop-up windows, but there may be other ways (or Cordova plugins) to handle that.

Wow that was really helpful. I can see more clearly what needs to happen. I will contact Electronic Literature and see if they can assist. I found out the name of the original html program - Ace Expert - which I pulled up on the web but Im not sure what I am looking at. Is it a downloadable product? And is it still available. I tried to add the link but it wouldn’t let me. It’s Under Ace - the high performance Code Editor for the Web on google.
On another note - Could I hire someone to create this for me?

Thanks so much. I will continue to do more research to see if this is even a viable project anymore.

AceExpert appears to still be available here, but note it doesn’t work on a Mac and it is only for Windows OS (but you can try it on the latter). The Ace app you mention, found here, looks like a web ‘app’ so seems unlikely to have been around in the 2000s when you say you first wrote the work.

. Indeed the Ace website state it dates from as recently as 2010.

More important than the editor is that you need the HTML pages and any supporting style-sheets and javascript etc. before you can start work. Also, until you have those files you can’t tell the size or nature of the task. For instance, how are you making pop-up windows. Without seeing the original code you can’t tell. If the HTML is all wrapped up in an app and you can’t unpack it then you will need - if even possible) to copy text from the app screen and re-encode it in an editor.

So, the first task is to clarify the following:

  • Does the website exist in HTML form
  • Is is accessible from the web, i.e. can someone take a look at it to help advise you.

Until you know the nature of the site you are rebuilding, the choice of editor is not relevant (you don’t want to choose an editor hat can’t help create the features you need).

Mark - I will try to answer these questions as intelligently as I can. I have a folder called Tom’s Web. Inside the folder are all the files. If you click on Home - the site connects to the web and opens in Safari. I don’t know if anyone else can read it. How can I make it accessible?

Also I just talked to the magazine editor and he says the reason it is no longer working is because it has to be rebuilt in his new WordPress platform and he doesn’t want to do it. I guess that’s a much more complicated deal. But if I can put it on the web myself, I would like to do that, then I could just give people links.

Thats good news. If you can view your complete hypertext work in a browser on your own Mac and all features work (e.g. pop-ups), then you should have all the files you need to put it on line. So, the good news is you have everything to put the hypertext online as a resource without re-editing.

The WordPress issue arises because while your existing content is (likely) composed of ‘static’ files, i.e. a collection of discrete HTML files, WordPress is a database. That means that in the latter method each ‘page’ becomes a database record that is then rendered out through templates. To put your work into WordPress you (or someone on your behalf) essentially has to split the existing files: the content to WordPress and HTML code in to templates.

I found this blog posts that describes 3 different methods for migrating static HTML sites to WordPress: see here. I suspect from your earlier posts this might be beyond your immediate expertise but it may be a useful reference to have at hand if seeking help with a transfer. I’d note in passing that I have no experience of using WordPress, though it is a common form of web blogging software.

If you want the hypertext to appear online you appear to have two routes:

  • Via the magazine. You will need to migrate the existing content into a WordPress site.

  • Use your own website. I don’t know if you have one, but your existing internet provider may offer some webspace as part of your Internet service and you could simply upload your existing site to that webspace and … it is published! No extra work. If you want distinctive and persistent URL you may need to register a domains (free space is normally off the ISP’s own domain).

Unless you really want the work on the magazines website, I’d suggest the second option makes more sense and avoids the needs to re-edit the site. In fairness, neither option precludes you making subsequent edits to the work (e.g. adding to /removing/changing existing context) in the future.


Thanks so much for explaining all this! I passed it on to the magazine editor in case it was useful. And yes - beyond my expertise to rebuild the site. Half the links are broken - so Im reluctant to put it up again without a revision.

What if I went back to MS Word or Pages and did something simple with hyperlinks within the text and then loaded it into an ebook format? Or a flip magazine? I would not have pop ups per se but there would be a sense of movement - decenteredness?

Could I hire someone to build another site for me?

For where you are in expertise terms any fiddling tat this point will only make it worse. A word processor (Word, Pages, etc.) is the last sort of tool to use for writing hypertext - they aren’t designed for that task.

This is new information, as you’d previous implied the site worked.

Pop-ups don’t ‘decenter’ the reader as the calling page is essential site the current page; closing the pop-up leaves you back at the same page.

If you zip the folder (in Finder, ‘compress’) how big is it? I’d be happy to take a quick look as longs as it’s not massive (in size or page counts) as I’ve limited time. But, I think that until you get someone who understands HTML to look at and tell what’s there, you trying to commission work on it may be a case of the blind leading the blind and you can’t really brief them adequately on the work to be done.


Mark -
Good point about pop-ups.
It’s not that big. Ok - I will compress and send. Where to?

I’ll put the address in a private message.