HSPost Software Suite:


+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Boxed items are new to version 2.  Most of the new work has been done on   |
| HSPos211, since that is the application that will be used most often by    |
| new users, and to HostList.dat, since updating and expanding this database |
| adds the greatest amount of value to the product.  Please bear with me as  |
| I research improvements to the intelligence and efficiency of HSLnkScn and |
| HSFrmScn/HSFrmSc2.                                                         |
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Although HSPost runs under and makes use of Windows 95/NT, all versions up to
now run in a MS-DOS window ("MS-DOS Prompt" on the "Start->Files->Accessories"
menu).  Change to the directory the files reside in, for example:

    CD \HSPost

The files in this directory are described below:

Files of type .dat are created or modified in EDIT, for example:

    EDIT FFAAd.dat

(or you can use the Windows "NotePad" or "WordPad" programs, but if you use
WordPad, be sure to save as "Text Only").

FFAAd.dat
    This is the file that contains your ad information.  You'll want to
    keep several files on hand, one for each ad, each with a different
    name.  When you want to run HSPost, copy the appropriate file.  For
    example, to use HSPost.ad, I would type the following command in DOS:

        COPY HSPost.ad FFAAd.dat

  +--------------------------------------------------------------------+
  | NOTE: This is no longer necessary with version 2 - you can specify |
  | different filenames, rather than renaming or copying files.  You   |
  | can also change the timeout counter in this version, and you can   |
  | abort the program cleanly and continuably by pressing a key and    |
  | waiting for a verification prompt.                                 |
  +--------------------------------------------------------------------+

    FFAAd.dat uses the following abbreviations:

        e  (e-mail address)
        t  (title - up to 60 characters)
        t2 (title - up to 45 characters)
        t3 (title - up to 40 characters)
        u  (URL of your link)
        d  (description of web page)
        k  (keywords for your page)
        p  (password)
        f  (first name)
        l  (last name)
        s  (subject of your ad)
        c  (category for most sites)
        n  (full name, or company name)
        i  (image URL)

    Most sites will only require e, t, u, and c.  Some only require t and
    u.  A few accept d.  The reason for t2 and t3 is that some sites are
    stingier with their title size.

    The less common fields are often in something other than a FFA site,
    such as k in search engines.  Classified ad sites often request a name
    and a subject, sometimes even a password.  If you want to bypass these,
    they're usually easy enough to recognize in HostList.dat.

    There is nothing sacred about these abbreviations, except that they
    have to correspond with what is used in HostList.dat, and modifying
    that entire file would be a major chore!

    FFAAd.dat consists of line pairs, with an abbreviation on one line and
    the information for it on the next.  The version included in the software
    suite is meant to be used as an example and a template for your own.

HostList.dat
    This file contains the information about each site.  The first line
    of each entry contains the URL of the page containing the link submission
    form.  The second contains the domain name where the CGI script is
    located (preceded by an asterisk for GET-method forms) and the path of
    the script.

  +-------------------------------------------------------------------------+
  | With HSPost 2, the first line may also begin with an asterisk, but for  |
  | a completely different reason.  When one site has many different pages, |
  | differing only in a numeric portion that continues through a range, the |
  | line:                                                                   |
  |                                                                         |
  |     *1001*6511*http://www.ffanet.com/links/%d.htm                       |
  |                                                                         |
  | represents a loop through 4064 different pages,                         |
  |                                                                         |
  |     http://www.ffanet.com/links/1001.htm                                |
  |                                                                         |
  | through                                                                 |
  |                                                                         |
  |     http://www.ffanet.com/links/6511.htm                                |
  |                                                                         |
  | by substition for the "%d" format item.  In the same way, when the      |
  | following line also contains the "%d", it too changes with each loop    |
  | iteration, for example:                                                 |
  |                                                                         |
  |     www.ffanet.com /links/lynx.cgi?%d                                   |
  |                                                                         |
  | This example is seen in the second entry of HostList.dat.  You may want |
  | to break it up into several smaller units of 100-500 each.  To do so,   |
  | simply copy and paste, changing the starting and ending numbers for     |
  | each.  It's best to do this on a copy of the file, in case you have to  |
  | correct a mistake in typing, since it's easy to lose track and bungle a |
  | file of this size.                                                      |
  |                                                                         |
  | Note that the first entry also uses a loop, but instead of "%d", it has |
  | "%05d" for the number.  The reason for this is that not all the page    |
  | numbers are large enough to include the five digits needed to make them |
  | valid.  Using "%05d" forces them to be five digits long with leading    |
  | zeroes.  (If you are familiar with C, you will recognize these formats.)|
  |                                                                         |
  | One more note about the second line: It requires a space between the    |
  | domain name and the script path.  If the space is missing, you will get |
  | a somewhat cryptic error message - the friendliness of the program has  |
  | a way to go yet, as you may have noticed.                               |
  +-------------------------------------------------------------------------+

    The rest of the lines in each entry define the fields contained in
    the form and contain:

        1) the name of the field
        2) either ? or one of the abbreviations used in FFAAd.dat
         +---------------------------------------------------------------+
         | (or, in version 2, ? followed by an abbreviation when your    |
         | field value must be appended to another value, as in a query) |
         +---------------------------------------------------------------+
        3) the value of the field (optional if an abbreviation is used,
           unless ? precedes the abbreviation as in note 2 above)

    The ? is used in place of an abbreviation when there is either none
    defined for the information expected or you want to use a value other
    than what you defined for the abbreviation that would otherwise go there.

  +-------------------------------------------------------------------------+
  | The ? followed by an abbreviation is used when the value represented by |
  | the abbreviation must be tacked onto the end of the value that follows. |
  +-------------------------------------------------------------------------+

    Each entry is separated from the next one by a blank line, and the last
    one should be followed by two blank lines.

    The version of HostList.dat included in the software suite should be
    edited to replace information specific to HSPost or Help Systems
    Publications with your own information.  You can also remove any entries
    that seem irrelevant to your purposes, but before doing that, you may
    want to keep a copy as a backup version for future reference.

           +------------+ +--------+
HSPost.EXE |HSPos211.EXE| |HSPost5W|
           +------------+ +--------+
    Once you have both FFAAd.dat and HostList.dat the way you want them,
    you're ready to run HSPost.  Simply type the command:
               +--------+ +--------+
        HSPost |HSPos211| |HSPost5W|
               +--------+ +--------+
    The program will print a few lines as it reads the .dat files.  Then,
    unless you're already online, the dialer window should come up to connect
    you to your ISP.  (One exception is AOL, which uses its own dialer.
    AOL users should already be online when running HSPost.)

    When using the DOS window for HSPost (or for editing the .dat files),
    you can switch between full screen and window modes by pressing the
    key combination Alt-Enter.  If the window "disappears" (becomes
    minimized), click on the "MS-DOS Prompt" or "HSPost" rectangle at the
    bottom of your screen (or hold down Alt and press Tab until you get to
    it).

    Once you're connected to your ISP, HSPost will run (often for several
    hours) until it's tried all the sites in HostList.dat.  If, for some
    reason, you get disconnected in the meantime, redialing your ISP will let
    it pick up where it left off.  This shouldn't happen too often (unless
    you forget yourself and pick up the phone to make a call), because there
    is usually continuous Internet access taking place.

    HSPost will write the file HSPost.log.  This file is overwritten each
    time you run HSPost, which is just as well, because it becomes fairly
    large.  It's useful for seeing which posts were (probably) successful.
    You may see a message thanking you for your post; you may see an entire
    web page in HTML, with your link included; or you may see the words
    "Moved Temporarily" from scripts that lock the page while a link is
    being added.  Unsuccessful attempts are usually easy to recognize, and
    if you can figure out the reason, you may be able to modify HostList.dat
    to correct the problem in the future.

    As with the other .EXE files, if you want to quit, press Control-C or
    Control-Break.  If that doesn't work, click the X box on the upper right
    corner of the DOS window to close it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
With just FFAAd.dat, HostList.dat, and HSPost.EXE, you can submit many links
with little effort.  However, pages do change from time to time; some go out
of existence, while new ones are being born; and for every site found in
HostList.dat, there may be several dozen more that aren't there yet.  That is
the purpose of the other files.

linkbin.dat
    This file was created by HSLnkScn.EXE.  It is a database of web pages
    containing forms that are (hopefully) link submission forms.  It is read
    by HSFrmScn.EXE to create formfile.txt, which (with a lot of tedious
    editing) becomes HostList.dat.

   +------------------------------------------------------------------------+
   | Since many of the new additions and corrections to HostList.dat were   |
   | made by hand as they were discovered, linkbin.dat is out of synch with |
   | HostList.dat.  It should only be used as a teaching demonstration of   |
   | how HSFrmScn works, just as linkfile.dat (described below) should only |
   | be used to see how HSLnkScn works until you are able to add to it. You |
   | may get some new information, but the amount of redundant data makes   |
   | it impractical for most purposes.                                      |
   +------------------------------------------------------------------------+
   | HSPost5W is the prototype for a windows version.  It already has some  |
   | enhancements, such as keeping the connection open wherever possible,   |
   | such as the www.ffanet.com and xtra.nu sites, but it is also missing   |
   | the logic for finding linkomatic script names.  Try both versions and  |
   | see which you prefer (or which works better under certain situations). |
   +------------------------------------------------------------------------+

             +--------------+
HSFrmScn.EXE | HSFrmSc2.EXE |
             +--------------+
    This program reads linkbin.dat, gets each web page found in it, and
    parses the HTML to find the form data, which it writes to the file
    formfile.txt.

    It has a timeout counter to keep it from getting hung up on sites that
    refuse to respond to its request.  The default count is 250000, which
    means that after 250000 tries to receive data from the host, it gives
    up and goes on to the next one.  To use the default, enter the command:
                 +----------+
        HSFrmScn | HSFrmSc2 |
                 +----------+
    You can adjust the count, making it smaller if you'd rather miss some
    sites than waste a lot of time, or increasing it if you want to give the
    sites more of a chance to respond.  Usually, the default is fine, but
    if, for example, you want to increase it to 500000, use the command:
                        +-----------------+
        HSFrmScn 500000 | HSFrmSc2 500000 |
                        +-----------------+
  +---------------------------------------------------------------------+
  | The only real enhancement in HSFrmSc2 has been to allow you to skip |
  | pages you have already scanned.  This need was discovered when one  |
  | page was corrupted and caused the program to error out.             |
  |                                                                     |
  | To facilitate knowing where to restart, the program places a number |
  | in angle brackets (e.g., <51>) to precede most lines of output.  If |
  | the program crashes, the last number seen is the one at fault. Save |
  | FORMFILE.TXT under a new name to keep it from being overwritten,    |
  | then rerun HSFrmScn2 beginning with the next number in place of 1.  |
  | Combine the files afterward via copy and paste.                     |
  +---------------------------------------------------------------------+

linkfile.dat
    This file is a list of sites that list other FFA sites.  It is read by
    HSLnkScn.EXE, which opens each site in turn and scans it for links,
    which it writes to linkbin.dat if they don't already exist there.

             +--------------+
HSLnkScn.EXE | HSLnkS3D.EXE |
             +--------------+
    This program reads linkfile.dat and writes linkbin.dat.  It does not
    overwrite linkbin.dat if it already exists.  Instead, it reads it in
    and adds new records only when they don't already exist there.  Unlike
    HSFrmScn, which doesn't detect duplicates, HSLnkScn adds each link only
    once.  The command to run it is:
                 +----------+
        HSLnkScn | HSLnkS3D |
                 +----------+
    (If you'd rather use a file other than linkfile.dat for input, you can
    enter its name after the command.  You might want to do this if you've
    found some new list sites and don't want to waste time going through
    the ones you've already scanned.)

    +-------------------------------------------------------------------+
    | This is no longer true with HSLnkS3D.  Instead, it permits you to |
    | place a URL prefix (such as http://www.career-pro.com/links/) on  |
    | the command line, which will be inserted before each local file   |
    | name in the directory http://www.career-pro.com/links/ because it |
    | omits these in the HTML source of the directory index.  (In this  |
    | kind of special case, you would have a single line in the file    |
    | LINKFILE.DAT: http://www.career-pro.com/links/.)                  |
    |                                                                   |
    | This feature is useful for a site (such as the one mentioned)     |
    | that contains a fair number of FFA pages, changes their form data |
    | on a regular basis (to confuse autolinkers), and doesn't bother   |
    | to hide their directory with a file like index.html.              |
    |                                                                   |
    | There seems to be a problem with HSLnkScn and HSLnkS3D on some    |
    | machines.  This is being looked into.  Please report any problems |
    | you encounter.                                                    |
    +-------------------------------------------------------------------+


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thank you for purchasing HSPost.