RealText and RealPix
RealNetworks' has recently released the beta test version of its new G2 Player and Server system. G2 stands for Generation 2, and represents a major step forward for the company. With new system, RealNetworks has, for the first time, embraced open standards. The player is based on a plug-in architecture that allows for the relatively simple implementation of new media types without having to download a new version each time a that new protocol is supported. Currently the G2 player is only available for Windows, but RealNetworks has promised versions for Mac and Unix in the future.
RealTextRealText markup is quite similar to HTML and uses many of the same text formatting tags. All contents of a RealText document are contained within the <window> tag and are stored in files with the .rt extension. There are four window types: generic (the default mode), ScrollingNews, TickerTape, Marquee, and TelePrompter. The markup is basically the same for all window types, the main difference is the mode of presentation. For the purpose of this article, we will work with the generic window type, which will allow the use of all the major tags. The G2 authoring guide is available for free from RealNetworks and covers all the window types in depth.
A generic .rt document, markup and all, is not much larger than its text content. For example, to create a presentation that displays a new line of text every 5 seconds looks like this:
Dark poplars, rare white forms.
forms more frequent,
white shapes thronged amid the trees,
white forms and fragments streaming by mutely,
sustaining vain gestures on the air.
This is quite simple, and not all that exciting. The use of the <clear/> tag in the next example, clears the window, and allows for a more dynamic presentation of the same text.
The <time/> tags allow control over when text appears in a presentation and the duration of its display. This allows for a greater level of control than the use of the <clear/> tag:
James Joyce - "Ulysses"
RealText supports appearance tags as well. Most of the basic HTML tags, like bold, italic, underline, are supported, as well as ordered and unordered lists and preformatted text. The <font/> tag supports font size, face, color, and background color.
Hyperlinks are also supported and can be used to link to another .rt file, launch a Web page in a browser window, execute a "mailto" command, or RealPlayer commands.
The final example incorporates a number of appearance tags and a hyperlink that launches a browser window and opens a Web page related to the text:
James Joyce - Ulysses
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