Distributing Rev Stacks (was The age of user-translatable applications...

Rob Cozens rcozens at pon.net
Thu Sep 12 10:03:01 EDT 2002

>I don't think browsers are compliant with any compression technology 
>- at least until you install some decompression utility which 
>registers itself as a helper.

Troy, et al:

BinHex is NOT a compression routine, but a translation routine (it 
actually expands file sizes.  It basically (someone correct me if I'm 
wrong) translates binary data into text to ensure data integrity 
during Internet transfers, and on Macs it makes sure the resource 
fork gets installed correctly.

Perhaps a general discussion of the best techniques for distributing 
Rev stacks is in order.  From my experience on Mac OS, Netscape & IE 
will automatically unBinHex any downloaded .hqx file.  It's been 
years since I used AOL's browser; but I believe it is BinHex 
compliant as well.

Have you tried downloading a BinHexed file from your browser without 
any special setup or "registration"?

There are two different distribution issues for me:

What format should be used to present bundled files?
What format should be used to present individual stacks?

File bundles, so far as I can see, must be specific to to the platform.

On Macs .sit files are NOT acceptable, because .sits are version 
specific: if the downloader has the wrong version of StuffIt, the 
archive won't expand.  So I use self-expanding archives (.sea); 
however .seas don't always get downloaded correctly, whereas I have 
NEVER had a downloader report a problem with BinHexed files.

Perhaps all Windows .zips are version independent (you tell me).  I 
am, rightly or wrongly, applying lessons from Mac OS to Windows in 
selecting a WinZip self-expanding archive and BinHexing it.

I have no idea how to bundle files for Unix, which is one reason the 
ftp site lists individual files in addition to bundles...the other 
reason is so people can update individual Library components without 
having to download the whole enchilada.

Now when it comes to individual stacks, I want ONE format that can be 
used to download to any platform.  I believe BinHex is that format. 
If I am wrong, what do others suggest?  A few years ago I read an 
article that suggested BinHex was the ONLY 100% safe format for 
Internet file transfer.  Would others care to comment?

Rob Cozens
CCW, Serendipity Software Company

"And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee."

from "The Triple Foole" by John Donne (1572-1631)

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