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Part II. The Inform Recipe Book

Chapter 1: How to Use The Recipe Book    Chapter 8: Vehicles, Animals and Furniture   
Chapter 2: Adaptive Prose    Chapter 9: Props: Food, Clothing, Money, Toys, Books, Electronics   
Chapter 3: Place    Chapter 10: Physics: Substances, Ropes, Energy and Weight   
Chapter 4: Time and Plot    Chapter 11: Out Of World Actions and Effects   
Chapter 5: The Viewpoint Character    Chapter 12: Typography, Layout, and Multimedia Effects   
Chapter 6: Commands    Chapter 13: Testing and Publishing   
Chapter 7: Other Characters   

arrow-right.png Start reading here: §1.1. Preface
arrow-up.png Part I. Writing with Inform
arrow-down-right.png Indexes of the examples and definitions

Chapter 1: How to Use The Recipe Book

§1.1. Preface; §1.2. Acknowledgements; §1.3. Disenchantment Bay; §1.4. Information Only

arrow-up-left.png Contents of The Inform Recipe Book
arrow-right.png Chapter 2: Adaptive Prose
arrow-down-right.png Indexes of the examples

§1.1. Preface

The Inform Recipe Book is one of two interlinked books included with Inform 7: a comprehensive collection of examples, showing the practical use of Inform. The other book is Writing with Inform, a systematic manual for the software. If you are reading this within the Inform application, you will see that the Recipe Book pages are on "yellow paper", while the manual is on "white paper".

The Recipe Book assumes that the reader already knows the basics covered in Chapters 1 and 2 of Writing with Inform: enough to get simple projects working in the Inform application. It's helpful, but not necessary, to have some familiarity with the main ingredients of Inform. For instance, the reader who can play and test the following source text, and who can take a guess at what it ought to do, should be fine:

"The Power of the Keys"

Afterlife is a room. "Fluffy white clouds gather round you here in the afterlife." The Pearly Gates are a door in Afterlife. "The Pearly Gates - large, white, wrought-iron and splendidly monumental - stand above you." Heaven is a room. The Gates are above the Afterlife and below Heaven.

St Peter is a man in the Afterlife. "St Peter, cheery if absent-minded, studies his celestial clipboard."

Before going through the Pearly Gates:
    say "St Peter coughs disarmingly. 'If you'd read your Bible,' he says, 'you might recall Revelation 21:21 saying that the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate being made from a single pearl. I really don't know why people keep imagining it like the entrance to some sort of public park - oh, well. In you go.'";
    end the story.

Test me with "enter gates".

The Recipe Book is not a tutorial - it offers advice and examples to crib from, not theory or systematic teaching. The examples here are provided with the express intention that authors cut and paste useful passages into their own works, modifying as they go. This is an excellent way to get things working quickly.

In the traditional saying: good programmers write good code, but great programmers steal it. (Appropriately enough, nobody seems to know who said this first.) For the avoidance of any doubt - the example text is here to be taken, and this infringes no copyright, and requires no acknowledgement. So steal at will. The examples are a part of Inform itself, and as such, they are available to anyone who accepts the Inform licence.

Many programming languages for conventional computing, such as C, come with elaborate libraries of ready-written code - so elaborate, in fact, that they often need much larger manuals than the language itself, and can be hard to learn. Even expert programmers typically use only a small part of what is available in such libraries, giving up on the rest as too complex to use, or too difficult to find out about, or not quite what they need.

The designers of Inform chose not to go down this road. Rather than providing a general system for liquids (say), which would have to be a quite complicated and opaque program, Inform provides a choice of examples showing how to get different effects. The writer can read the text which achieves these effects, and can simply cut and paste whatever might be useful, and rewrite whatever is not quite wanted.

The wider community of Inform writers has made a great wealth of material available in the form of Extensions, too, and under a Creative Commons Attribution licence requiring only a namecheck: we don't cover the Extensions in this book, because it would grow far too long and be a constant labour to maintain, but it's well worth seeing what is out there.

* See Acknowledgements for a chance to try out the cross-referencing links in the Recipe Book - click on the red asterisk or the name of the destination to go there

arrow-up.png Start of Chapter 1: How to Use The Recipe Book
arrow-right.png Onward to §1.2. Acknowledgements


*ExampleAbout the examples
An explanation of the examples in this documentation, and the asterisks attached to them. Click the heading of the example, or the example number, to reveal the text.

*ExampleMidsummer Day
A few sentences laying out a garden together with some things which might be found in it.