Ovation Pro is a desktop publishing package written by David Pilling and originally sold by Beebug Ltd, and now by David himself, and one of the many features of the comprehensive application is an integrated script language.
Based on a simple subset of the C programming language, with a host of functions specific to Ovation Pro, the script language is a powerful addition to a powerful program; a simple script can be used to make changes to a loaded document – but it’s also possible to produce scripts to change the way the application works. Ovation Pro’s menu structure, for example, is controlled by the script language, so by editing the menu scripts the menu entries can be placed in a different order, or new menu entries (and corresponding functions) can be implemented, or existing actions modified.
A comprehensive script language would of course have needed comprehensive documentation – so with the main application reference manual weighing it at around 300 pages, the script language was given its own reference guide, at well over 100 pages.
Initially based on the Script Language Reference Guide version 1.03, Gavin Crawford proceeded to convert the manual into StrongHelp form, to make it quick and easy for people developing Ovation Pro applets to access information about the various functions etc. available to them without having to thumb through a paper manual or page through a PDF to find the information they need – or more directly using keyword lookups from editors that support this feature, such as StrongED and Zap.
A number of functions have been added to the script language since the manual’s last release in 2002, and Gavin has now updated his StrongHelp manual to version 1.07 to incorporate these, as well as some changes and corrections to some existing function descriptions. The new StrongHelp manual also includes a handy link, clicking on which passes the manual’s version number to a page on Gavin’s website to check if there is a newer version for you to download.
What isn’t included in the updated StrongHelp manual are details of any functions specific to (or which differ in) the Windows version of Ovation Pro – but Gavin intends to include these in a future version.
Gavin also wrote a pair of articles for Foundation RISC User in 2006 on the subject of the script language – a beginners guide to writing applets for Ovation Pro, and a companion primer for the script language, and these can both be found on his website, along with a selection of Ovation Pro applets, and even a utility that makes it possible to call Ovation Pro applets from other programs (or even the command line).