This page is for people who want to understand the book's internal structure -- for instance, people who'll revise or extend the book.
The printed book MH & xmh: Email for Users & Programmers, ISBN 1-56592-093-7, had three major editions and some minor revisions in between. There were seven major Parts: three for MH; one each for xmh, MH-E and exmh; and one with appendices. Each part had several chapters or appendices. Almost every chapter and appendix had more than one section. The Section What's in This Book gives a short summary of each part, chapter and appendix.
To convert the book to HTML, I split it into more than 400 separate files. Each major section of a chapter (for example, Sections 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc., of Chapter 1) went into its own file. The idea was to make links between sections work quickly: in most cases, to follow a link, a browser only has to load a few kbytes. Each filename starts with from 1 to 8 characters and ends with .html. These short names can be cryptic, but they make the book compatible with filesystems on old DOS computers and CD-ROMs. (People who have slow or no Internet connections can download the book onto their local hard disks; see the browsing help page for info.)
I designed the HTML files to be reorganized. The filenames are meant to be position-independent: they usually aren't related to the place where a section originally fell in the print book. The only section and chapter numbers are in the Tables of Contents. In fact, the "glue" that holds the zillions of files together is in the Tables of Contents and the previous/next links between the files. As the book is rearranged in the future -- with new sections and chapters -- I hope this structure will help to avoid broken links from peoples' bookmarks and other HTML pages.
If a file ever needs to be completely removed, it should be replaced with a "stub" file that points people to the section(s) which replaced the original file. (The stub files don't need to be listed in the Table of Contents -- though, on second thought, maybe there should be a part of the TOC for "Old Stuff".) That way, people with old links to the file can find their way through the new structure. At least, these stub files should have a link to the Table of Contents. Especially, try to avoid renaming a file or changing its purpose -- that means more links need to be changed.
Oh, and please remember that the book is distributed under the GNU General Public License. Please read the file with information about copying, distributing, and modifying this book.
--Jerry Peek, 22 April 1999
--Bill Wohler, 10 May 2006
This file first appeared in the updated online edition of the book MH & nmh: Email for Users & Programmers, by Jerry Peek. It is freely available; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. For more information, see COPYING.
Copyright © 1997 Jerry Peek
Copyright © 2006 Bill Wohler
Last modified: 2006-05-31 15:13:43 -0700