Talk:Inform

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Former good article Inform was one of the Engineering and technology good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 17, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
November 19, 2008 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article
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Article name[edit]

I moved this page to here from Inform programming language because a) Inform is not strictly just a programming language, but also a compiler and a software suite, and b) because just "Inform" is simpler and more general. Any complaints? Adam Conover

The same can be said of Smalltalk and several other languages. IMO, if it is to be categorized under Category:Programming languages, then it should also be so named--Danakil
I moved it back again, because I strongly disagree with Danakil's opinion. If we were to use this rule to name articles, then every article about a thing should also include that thing's category. If there were a problem of disambiguation between Inform, the programming language, and some other "Inform", the page would without question be most suitable at Inform programming language, but since this is not the case, the title of the article should simply be the name of its subject, which is "Inform", not "Inform programming language." Adam Conover 07:38, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
Regarding the Smalltalk example, that article is in fact under the name "Smalltalk", not "Smalltalk programming language". I believe that general Wikipedia custom is not to add clarifying phrases to a title unless they're needed, and there doesn't seem to be any need to disambiguate what Inform we're talking about here. Factitious 08:05, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
Grue 08:54, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC) supports Adam Conover.
Alan De Smet 19:06, 20 Oct 2004 (UTC) supports Adam Conover (especially given Factitious's point). Absent real ambiguity just plain "Inform" is better.

IF Library gone[edit]

IFLibrary.com/org appears to be gone. The IFLibrary.com link used to work (I think), but IFLibrary.com fails (demanding authorization) and IFLibrary.org is expired. Alan De Smet | Talk 13:47, May 16, 2005 (UTC)

INFORM database language[edit]

Speaking of "some other 'Inform'", interestingly enough the language list includes a database language called "INFORM" (but not this Inform). Ddawson 11:53, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Inform 7[edit]

I believe the difference between Inform 6 and 7 is large enough to warrant a separate Inform 7 page. Agree/disagree? Kwi | Talk 21:53, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

It's complex, especially since Inform 6 forms the underpinning of Inform 7. I'd suggest keeping them together for now and revisit the question in a few months. If there is a decision to break them up it raises the question of what to call the other page. The language itself is "Natural Inform", the system as a whole is Inform 7. Alan De Smet | Talk 04:16, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, the I6 underpinnings could be removed and I7 would look pretty much the same, but hey. As for name, I'd go with Inform 7, since the language is deeply embedded in the system as a whole and probably shouldn't be described separately. But you're probably right that the decision should be postponed (the only harm I see is the separation of page histories). Kwi | Talk 21:48, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more I suspect you're right. I still think we should give it some time, if only to let I7's significance sink in. That said, I'm going to slightly overhaul the page organization to differeniate I6 and I7 and adding some more details. This will make it easy to split the pages in the future if we decide (and in the short term generally clairify things) Alan De Smet | Talk 22:30, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Precedent could be set by IFWiki having Inform 7 in its own entry. http://www.ifwiki.org/index.php/Inform_7 -- Sslaxx, 14:25 13 Sep 2006
The language itself is not "Natural Inform" - it is Inform 7.

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/browse_frm/thread/8ecdb479ed8e354a/eb097d1cec010e3d# 84.66.226.132 12:22, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Notable games written in Inform 7[edit]

Given the relative youth of Inform 7, there isn't much that's "notable." However, firsts are usually notable. "Mystery House Possessed" probably deserves mention as it was the first publically released I7 game (albet a very early prototype of I7). The real "firsts" unfortunately wasn't a single game, but a set of six, with half released two months before I7 was. For now I've just listed the lot. Alan De Smet | Talk 02:08, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

"Forcing a player to confront their own complicity" when describing Rendetion is viewpoint bias. First, it assumes that the presentation of rendition facilities by the game is accurate and that the players have incurred some sort of guilt even if the presentation is correct. To state that it is a political art experiment is accurate and sufficient. Ideally, some mention of the game's political viewpoint should be made known, but explaining that within the flow of the paragraph proved too cumbersome. Silverstarseven (talk) 20:24, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Formatting the Natural Inform (Inform 7) example source[edit]

This edit by 131.107.0.103 had lots of good stuff. However, that change reformatted the Natural Inform source code example like most traditional source code: monospace font with fixed line lengths. The designer of Inform 7 (which Natural Inform is part if) really wanted it to "look like a book". Thus source code is typically formatted in paragraphs. The default Inform IDE defaults to proportional fonts. I tried to lay out the source code to reasonably resemble how the editor displays the code. Thus I've reverted 131.107.0.103's formatting for that section to my previous version. Alan De Smet | Talk 02:00, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Glad to see someone else is watching over this page as well. Upon further thought, I see your point. Inform 7 code isn't really - well - "code," now is it? I definitely think it looks much nicer this way, and you're quite right it's in keeping with the spirit of Inform 7. This layout also enforces the idea that Inform 7 code is not simply a new face on computer code, a point I think it's important to be grasped by both to those who do and don't speak in computer code fluently. I suspect my edit was a knee-jerk reaction from my coder's instincts more than anything, trying to apply uniform rules across the page, and I do see why it makes more sense to leave it proportional. --131.107.0.103 21:43, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
I changed this formatting because I strongly disagreed with it. Many visitors to the Inform page may be looking to see what the explicit differences between Inform 6 and 7 are -- making these code snippets have different text styles makes it difficult to locate the relevant passages. Additionally, despite Nelson et al's belief that typography matters for code presentation in the IDE, that hardly matters as far as Wikipedia is concerned -- Inform 7 code snippets are code snippets nonetheless, and thus the Wikipedia standard for code formatting should be followed. Frankly, I think the revised code snippet reads better on the page, since it's better distinguished from the body text -- I hope that everyone will agree. 24.199.65.167 (talk) 08:58, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Nelson, et al think the presentation matters. The primary editor used for writing Inform 7 implements it that way. The entire point of the language is to challenge assumptions about programming languages to create something far better suited to the task. Failing to present it as intended removes information about how the language is written. While use of <pre> blocks is a common way to present source on Wikipedia, it's not a standard or style guidelines, and it's primarily done because that is how source code in most languages is presented. Making the source monospace doesn't make it especially easier to compare the two, but does remove information. The only argument I can see is that perhaps the framing should more closely match the formatting of the Inform 6 source, but we can put it in a box and give it a grey background without mashing the formatting. — Alan De Smet | Talk 00:01, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

History of Inform releases[edit]

Is the very detailed table with the "History of Inform releases" really necessary? I think that at least the entries for beta releases and bug fix releases could be removed without much loss. — Tobias Bergemann 14:01, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

It might be a little overkill for the main article, but it seems useful. Perhaps fork it out into its own article? Maybe "Inform Releases"? Then, as you suggest, strip the list in this article to major releases? Alan De Smet | Talk 02:03, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
The list should be kept in the article if it is considered useful. It may be enough to change the table layout a bit to improve readability. — Tobias Bergemann 07:23, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Photopia first?[edit]

From the article: "Photopia, by Adam Cadre, is generally credited as being the first truly puzzleless work of interactive fiction. It placed first in the 4th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. Its appearance was a pivotal point in the history of the medium."

"Mercy", by Chris Klimas predated Photopia. Ralphmerridew 20:53, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Photopia is generally credited as being the first. As you note it's not the first (A Mind Forever Voyaging leaps to mind). It's also not really "truly puzzleless", there are at least three puzzles you need to solve: get the treasure chest, escape the underwater location, discover you can fly. They're really simple puzzles, but they are present and you do need to solve them to continue the game. Still, it's generally credited as being the first and is considered to be an important milestone in the development of IF. So the article is accurate. Alan De Smet | Talk 02:07, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

help me with inform7[edit]

help me: "Lanier" by "Anonymous." To say frontdoorstat... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 207.218.218.166 (talkcontribs) 23:12, November 14, 2006 (UTC) ((Huge chunk of Inform 7 code deleted as it's off topic (See below). If you really want to see it here's the old version - Alan De Smet))

Don't post this crap on WP. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Some Person (talkcontribs) 17:56, November 15, 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia isn't really an online help resource. If you're looking for help, your best resource is probably the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.int-fiction. It's dedicated to authoring interactive fiction. You can read it (and post if you're logged in) at Google Groups, or using a Usenet newsreader. When you do post questions to a newsgroup or other online resource (about this, or really anything else), be sure to clearly specify what problem you are having and what sort of help you would like. Simply pasting a bunch of code won't help; specify what the code does, what the code should be doing, and what the difference is. If you're getting error messages, clearly show those. Alan De Smet | Talk 05:43, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

INFORM is also a programming language for MOTOMAN robots (see www.motoman.com), used especially in the MX MRC and NX100 controllers. 154.20.152.71 20:05, 16 December 2006 (UTC)wiki@kienapfel.ca

GA nomination failure[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    a (fair representation): b (all significant views):
  5. It is stable.
  6. It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic.
    a (tagged and captioned): b lack of images (does not in itself exclude GA): c (non-free images have fair use rationales):
  7. Overall:
    a Pass/Fail: [[File:|16px|alt=|link=]]

I do not consider this article ready for good article status. Comments on problematic individual criteria follow.

1b. The lead section ought to be a summary of the rest of the article, but at the moment it's devoted to information on the history of Inform that isn't repeated later in the article. Also, the paragraph beginning "Although Inform and the Z-Machine..." is not about the Inform 6 compiler, as far as I can tell. It should be moved. The comparisons with TADS and Hugo do not belong in the "See also" section; I suggest giving it a section to itself.

1c. Article fails the Wikipedia:Lead section guidelines, as noted above.

1d. Given the article's subject matter, it isn't too bad in its use of jargon, but if "Z-machine" is an abbreviation for "Z-code virtual machine", that ought to be made clear.

2a, 2b. It would be unreasonable to expect inline citations for every statement about Inform, since most could only reference the system itself, or associated documentation. However, citations are necessary for statements about the intention behind the system, such as "The concept is to imitate an author's copybook..." Also, the comparison with TADS and Hugo in the "See also" section is entirely unreferenced.

3a. The article provides inadequate information on the history of Inform. For example, one wouldn't know from reading it that the Z-machine was originally used by Infocom. (The reference to "the several-decades-old Z-machine" would be very confusing to a reader with no knowledge of the topic.)

3b. The paragraph beginning "This can also be written with the word print_ret..." seems unnecessary to me. This article isn't a manual, so it's sufficient to show example code for a "hello world" program without discussing other ways it could have been written.

4a, 4b. The article is probably okay here, although I don't know enough to judge whether the comparisons with TADS and Hugo may be open to dispute.

5. There's some discussion above about splitting the section on Inform 7 into a different article. If that's on the agenda, then GA nominations should be left until afterwards. If that idea has been abandoned, then stability is no problem. EALacey 18:29, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Notes on my work based on the above. 1b: I believe all information in the summary is now in the main body. The bit about the Z-Machine got its own section. I'm not sure I agree with the criticism of the "See also" section. I don't think the point is to be a comparision, only to provide some context as to why someone might want to see those articles also. 1d: fixed. 2a/2b: Added "copybook" citation, but rest of article needs to be reviewed. 3a: Fixed, although it flows poorly. — Alan De Smet | Talk 04:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
1b/2a/2b/4a/4b: Resolved. Upon consideration, there are enough competing systems that trying to list them all here is silly. Trying to list the "most important" is a difficult judgement call. So punted and linked to Interactive fiction#Interactive_fiction_development_systems which does a reasonable job of listing systems and noting their popularity (using the IFComp as a proxy). — Alan De Smet | Talk 04:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Please add fair use rational to the images.--Sa.vakilian(t-c) 09:49, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

GA Passed[edit]

Well, it's a great article, and I don't have a huge number of suggestions (possibly due to time). One thing that does bug me is the "further reading" section at the end of each level 2 section. If it was up to me, all further reading would be combined in one place, near the references/external links. Otherwise, good job! ~ G1ggy! Reply 06:42, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Image problems[edit]

This article is actually not qualified for GA status, as it uses several copyrighted images with no Fair use rationale. Since those are very easy to put in place, I will leave the GA status for now, but if fair use rationales have not been added within one week (Friday, May 11th) I will remove it from the list at that time. --Masamage 22:36, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

if its so easy to put in place, why dont you do it yourself? Nespresso 19:42, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
If you're asking because you'd like my help, I'd be happy to lend a hand. If you're asking because you think I'm a jerk for not doing it in the first place, then that's...just not very nice. :P --Masamage 01:59, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Looks like someone has taken care of it. Thanks, someone! --Masamage 00:23, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Inform 7 is turing complete[edit]

Perhaps the 'Inform 7 programming language' section should mention that it is turing complete? J.D. Clemens implements a turing machine in 'The amazing interactive turing machine'. (the game source and story file can be found at the games website[[1]]). I didn't add it to the article because I'm not sure this is a verifiable source, although it seem to me it probably is as anyone can download and run the game. --86.14.194.232 00:21, 21 June 2007 (UTC)Glyph

I'd probably not bother. C, Perl, Ruby (programming language), and other mainstream languages don't bother mentioning it C++ does, but only to note that the template subset of languge is. Pretty much any "real" programming language is Turing-complete. Lack of Turing-completeness is probably more notable in a programming language article. — Alan De Smet | Talk 01:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. I only mentioned it because it is highly domain specific and not general purpose like those mainstream languages (perhaps giving the impression that it might not be), but what you say makes sense. Out of interest, does anyone know if other int-fiction languages (TADS, ADRIFT, etc) are turing complete?

As a side note, if you have a background in programming you may find the Inform 7 turing machine abstraction quite interesting. I thought having it coded in Inform 7 pseudo-prose was quite cool. --Glyph 86.14.194.232 02:16, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Possible sources for citations[edit]

Here's a place to collect possible sources for citations, say if you found a promising article, but don't have time right now to properly add it into the article. — Alan De Smet | Talk 18:30, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Deleted link to Inform 7 Wiki[edit]

I deleted the link to the Inform 7 wiki. I appreciate the intent of the wiki, and I wish it the best. However, Wikipedia should limit itself to links that are useful today, not to links that hopefully will be useful in the future. If the I7 wiki becomes popular and full of original content, by all means we should reconsider it then. — Alan De Smet | Talk 04:21, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Awesome[edit]

Is anyone else concerned that this article does not convey how truly awesome inform 7 is? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 207.189.98.44 (talk) 18:59, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

I completely agree that Inform 7 is awesome, however, I really don't think that a Wikipedia article is the place to convey that. I dare say that the phrase "Inform 7 is Awesome" would be considered opinion and warrant a fact tag. However, yes, Inform 7 is awesome.[citation needed] :) --Tustin2121 (talk) 19:32, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Rendition[edit]

I've re-added Rendition (video game) to the Notable games written in Inform 7. At this point in time there are relatively few notable games. There is no imminent danger of the list overwhelming the article. Rendition is apparently notable enough to support its own article with several third party citations. In the event that more notable games written in Inform 7 and the list starts growing a bit long, we should revisit this decision. I should note that this was also discussed at Talk:Interactive_fiction#Rendition.3F, and in that case I yield that Rendition, while notable, is perhaps not notable enough compared the many other possible entries to be specifically called out in Interactive fiction. — Alan De Smet | Talk 03:39, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Deleting "Inform 7 compiler"[edit]

I am deleting the "Inform 7 compiler" section. It merely repeats two pieces of information from the "Inform 7" section shortly above it. If you disagree please feel free to revert and fix this another way. --Sorpigal (talk) 21:43, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

License Information on Inform 7?[edit]

Actually, I'm new to wiki, so bear with me if I ask stupid questions. Does anyone have verified information on the licensing model of Inform 7? I just searched the site in vain, looked at the manuals and stuff but couldn't find anything even approaching license information. The article says: "Proprietary, but freely distributable", but where's that piece of information from, I wonder? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.184.60.127 (talk) 01:20, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

In the gnome-inform7 help, I found this information: The compilers Inform 6 and Natural Inform are copyright (c) 1993–2007 Graham Nelson. Cerebral maniac (talk) 08:44, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Disputed: Embedding Inform 6 in Inform 7[edit]

The statement "The code sample below is usable in Inform 7, but not without special demarcation indicating that it is embedded legacy code." seems to be false. After hours of searching through Google and all the manuals, I can find no mention of this "special demarcation". My own testing shows that Inform 6 will not work on its own in Inform 7. If no one comes up with a source I will delete this within a few days. luther93 (talk) 14:32, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

I believe you'll find what you're looking for in Chapter 24 of Writing with Inform, with a particular eye to 24.20. Longer extracts of Inform 6 code. — Alan De Smet | Talk 17:50, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I added the citation.luther93 (talk) 15:30, 12 April 2010 (UTC)