News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 3/17/98

From: shiggs@whq.dcmdw.dla.mil (Simon Higgs);
Sent at Tue, 17 Mar 1998 16:34:47 -0800;

It's funny you should mention Trellix. We're evaluating it with TeamFusion right now. What caught my eye about Trellix is that it can publish Word docs into a repository. Right now it works native with the TeamFusion database. What would really help is if Trellix was able to publish into the Frontier database (I'm not suggesting that Trellix becomes a GUI for Frontier).This could solve an awful lot of content management problems.

From: danb@trellix.com (Daniel Bricklin);
Sent at Tue, 17 Mar 1998 18:45:09 -0500;
Re:"Trelligram comments"

The comments so far about Trelligram on scripting.com bring up the challenges we had to deal with in developing the product:

We knew that there are other solutions for sharing HTML that exist and are being proposed. (With the coming popularity of XML, it's clear that many more might come about.) However, we couldn't wait. We wanted to create something that could be used today by people without requiring the recipients to have anything new. If the other ways were adequate, more people would be using them today. We are providing Trelligram as a solution that works today. We are not saying people must use only it in the future. (Of course, it is beta, we are aware of the proposals, and haven't finalized the internal file format...)

The choice of platform was easier because of the genesis of Trelligram as an add-in to Trellix 1.0 (though we are shipping it as a standalone utility, too). Our target users are very much in the Windows world. The design we used can be made Win32/16 compatible if we want. We have not done that for the beta to simplify testing and some other flexibilities (the Registry helps us a lot). But remember, each Trelligram is self contained. Any upgraded abilities don't have to deal with legacy files.

Our goal was to make a single, self-contained file that you just run to read. The simplicity of that concept was important. The reading software had to be already resident on the viewer's machine or packaged in the file itself. The viewing computer had to already know of the file-type and the file overhead had to be small. These restrictions and the one-file goal led us to this solution. Making it more cross-platform at the first release or using MIME encapsulation seemed to cut into the goal. I can think of many ways we can make Trelligram files more cross-platform in the future if they become popular. It's a chicken-and-egg thing, so we started with the simple solution.

Were these the right choices? We'll find out...

Regardless, it's great to see that others agree with us that our product is cool. :)

From: wsmith@microsoft.com (Walter Smith);
Sent at Tue, 17 Mar 1998 15:28:10 -0800;
IDispatchEx etc.

I just read http://www.scripting.com/98/03/stories/biermansComDesign.html and I wanted to make sure you've read all about ActiveX Scripting. (There's a topic by that name in the MSDN library.) That's a set of interfaces developed originally to make VBScript and JavaScript (aka ECMAScript) work in IE. It abstracts the idea of a "scripting engine" so you can plug in any language to any application, kind of like Open Scripting Architecture on MacOS.

In particular, you should look at IDispatchEx, which is an extension of IDispatch that provides for flexible objects that can have properties added and deleted at runtime. The original OLE Automation stuff doesn't deal with that at all. JScript objects are totally flexible, so IDispatchEx had to be invented to make it work.

From: michaelw@microsoft.com (Michael Winser);
Sent at Tue, 17 Mar 1998 12:39:18 -0500;

There is a standard for packaging up multiple files and delivering them as a single file. It's called MIME. There is even a standard for packaging up a web page and delivering it as a single file, it's called MHTML (MIME HTML).

For more information go to:


Now I have no idea how well MHTML can handle complex web sites but I didn't see anything that would prevent it from doing so.

Don't get me wrong, I love the little trick that Trelligator uses. It's cool.

From: cbarrett@borders.com (Cameron Barrett (Borders Online));
Sent at Tue, 17 Mar 1998 09:29:12 -0500;
Re: Trelligram

I see Trelligram as a great step forward in content delivery. However, it fails my test for practical use in the consumer environment. Two words: not cross-platform.

If Trellix really wants to lead the market in this new field, then they need to release versions of the Trelligram app not only for Windows95/NT but Windows 3.1, Mac, and OS/2. Hopefully, this is something they have planned for the future. The beauty of the web is that is cross-platform by nature. The Win95/NT-only Trelligram app effectively cancels out that most important feature.

Think of the possibilities of the Trelligram when applying the concept to broadband services. No more overloaded servers. Pre-packaged CD-ROMs and DVDs of large web sites available at the local computer store (and gas stations). The possibilities go on and on.

Food for thought: It wouldn't surprise me at all if Gates & Co. decide to "borrow" this concept. Or, even execute a Trellix buy-out.

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