What is PPWIZARD? It is a free generic text manipulation tool which most people use as a html preprocessor. It is powerful and yet easy to use. If you know what server side includes are then you could think of ppwizard as a "super SSI". Preprocessors allow you to easily include external files (to include html files such as common html headers, footers or navigation) or perhaps to include the result of external commands or SQL queries. They also enable more complex things such as defining email and web addresses in one location and reusing these throughout your site or creating more complex macros which can make decisions for themselves as to how html should be generated. PPWIZARD also allows for data import in various formats (e.g. SQL from a large number of databases including MS Access, CSV, fixed and other formats). While PPWIZARD can be used on a server (CGI etc) it is more frequently used to generate static pages, and unlike SSI there are no server requirements or performance hits. Note that ppwizard can generate static pages for tasks where others might normally need to use dynamic page generation.
PPWIZARD's main aims are to be flexible, promote reuse and to allow you to automate just about anything. Common tasks such as the calculation of image sizes for "IMG" tags or the addition of last modified dates and times can easily be automated. One of my add-ons for ppwizard is for automatically creating thumbnails from larger graphics when required.
Another advantage is that it allows a webmaster to comment their site as much as they wish and automatically remove these as well as excess leading spaces when the pages are "published" (this leads to better download times as well as encouraging the use of comments and indenting). PPWIZARD leaves html comments alone and by default removes any line that begins with ";" making it much easier to add comments.
You will not find a better preprocessor no matter how much money you are
prepared to pay!
If you look at other preprocessors you will notice that there are no add-ons
It would be impossible to create most of the add-ons that are available
for ppwizard in these tools.
Not only is ppwizard the most powerful preprocessor available but I also
believe it to be the easiest to use.
As a simple example to include a navigation bar you could add the
following line to your html code where appropriate:
The following shows one way that a simple last modified timestamp footer
might be defined (note the leading comment line gets removed):
;--- Capture date/time information (DEFAULT format = Sat Jun 29 2002 at 11:09:36am) ---
One major point to note about the code above, if you like the format of the date and time and the rest of the footer you would not even have to understand it to use it. To modify existing code for minor tweeks (adding page name or changing time format) is not difficult and all your pages will immediately have been updated! PPWIZARD's documentation includes many common examples and requirements to make it easier to get started. If you still can't work it out then join the ppwizard list described below and ask!
More details are listed below. My personal opinion is that if you hand code your site you'd be crazy not to use a preprocessor (or at least SSI). If not mine use another but use one! You will be be amazed at how much time you can save. Some long time users of WYSIWYG (graphical) html editors have converted to ppwizard because of the ease of maintaining consistency and to reduce the time required to maintain their web site. Use of a WYSIWYG editor does not necessarily prevent you using ppwizard a lot depends on you, the tool and the ppwizard features you wish to use and how you use it. You may also use WYSIWYG editors to produce reusable fragments and let PPWIZARD combine these as required. There are editors which can be "programmed" to insert ppwizard tags and I have a "notetab" add-on on my download page (if you use NotePad on windows change to NoteTab now! it's free and basically NotePad but heaps better).
Depending on your preferences PPWIZARD can be used from a command line or via your operating system's shell (for example Windows Explorer or OS/2 WPS).
I have a screenshot which shows the source for an installation script where macros have been used to hide/implement functionality (generates VBSCRIPT OLE code) overlaid with a ppwizard installation screen under Windows.
Join the PPWIZARD discussion group. This is a low traffic list or you can elect to not to receive emails at all (view online in browser)! Only I can see your email address and I won't give it to anyone. I will make PPWIZARD announcements and help answer any questions posed (the answers are usually of interest to others). Note that you can just use your normal email programs and you have no need to access the list site after creating your user information (and therefore you don't need cookies etc). To join simply press the button on the left. Archived messages can be searched (without joining) and it is probably wise to search these before asking a question as this could save you a lot of time.
The operating systems that PPWIZARD supports are:
You do not have to compile to create binaries as you do for a lot of other tools (the same PPWIZARD runtime runs on all supported operating systems). Regina binaries are available for a large number of UNIX based operating systems, if not then source code is avilable for these).
If you get confused by this page or you just want an introductory or beginners point of view I have set up a single page beginners guide which tells you virtually everything you need to get started.
The complete and extensive PPWIZARD manual is online, however here are a few of the advantages of using PPWIZARD for web development:
This program is used by the online e-Zine! magazine and the OS/2 Supersite and others to generate their html. The OS/2 Supersite generates multiple versions of a page (framed, printer friendly etc) from the same source.
If you already use a version of PPWIZARD prior to 17.308, then you may wish to examine the changes that have taken place.
This pre-processor can be used to generate HTML (and rexx or other) code from source files. It supports commands such as "#include", "#define", "#if" and much more.
Just from the commenting point of view, PPWIZARD comments are much easier to use than html ones and blank lines and leading spaces on lines are removed (by default) so that you can space out or indent your html as much as you like but the generated html is compact and fast to download (and people don't see your comments unless you want them to).
I maintain two differing homepages (this is one of them) from the same source, all the html you are seeing has been processed/generated by this program. Note that the '#if' processing is very powerful and that you can execute any rexx (or operating system) commands and use the output (all the file sizes and dates where provided were automatically calculated by this program). The #define command supports parameters and conditional generation of code.
PPWIZARD has a text to html mode. Unlike other utilities PPWIZARD can easily add standard features such as background, standard headers and footers (the look and feel of your site). It will create hypertext links where possible (by default). If you have any ideas or issues with the initial implementation then be sure to tell me.
PPWIZARD can be particularly useful for people who like to hand code their html and use a html editor. The use of a GUI based editor does not however rule out PPWIZARD's use and some editors allow you to define your own tags (allowing you to add ppwizards tags and commands).
As a rexx preprocessor it allows you to easily create header files of standard routines so that you never need to duplicate source code again! I have made some source routines available for #include in your programs. Rexx code is packed by default so that your input can contain many comments and be spaced out with most of this being removed from your runtime.
I have had a brief introduction to XML, XSL and DTD (and yes I do know what they stand for), it looks to me that ppwizard will become very handy for generating these as well.
Note that this program can be used to preprocess virtually any file type and not just as a html preprocessor.
Java Script header files for common routines is another possibility. The point is you should never duplicate something, if at all possible only define an item once and reuse it. If you have made a mistake or need to change it then this change can be made in one place and the output regenerated.
The following articles are available, they start from the absolute basics to quite a good implementation of a simple online store:
PPWIZARD can do most of the things that "Active Server Pages" (ASP) and "SERVER SIDE INCLUDES" (SSI) can. Because each approach has it's advantages and disadvantages some people do both, they use ppwizard to do what it does best and leave the rest up to the server. This gives you the best of both worlds:
In general ASP/JSP/SSI:
In general PPWIZARD:
Note that some users are using PPWIZARD to preprocess ASP pages and even to produce many similar ASP pages from templates. PPWIZARD can preprocess any text files, not just HTML! So even if you need ASP, then use PPWIZARD as a "ASP Preprocessor"!
Some other ppwizard pages you might be interested in:
Saturday April 07 2018 at 4:05pm