“Wait,” you say, “there was an Inform 6 web site? You mean before the Inform 7 web site?” Indeed there was! Graham Nelson launched inform-fiction.org in 2002, and continued maintaining it until around 2008. After that, I7 was more widely used, and the I6 site settled into a quiet retirement.
This doesn’t mean that the I6 language fell out of use, of course. It’s still a vital component of the I7 toolchain, and some people continue to write games in I6 directly. However, development of the I6 compiler and library have moved to familiar open-source platforms (GitHub and GitLab).
Furthermore, the old web site remains the canonical home for some of the core documents of Inform’s history:
- The Inform Designer’s Manual (DM4), the definitive I6 reference manual (and a highly readable introduction to IF theory and practice).
- The Inform 6 Technical Manual, low-level documentation of the I6 compiler.
- The Z-Machine Standards Document, which cleans up and standardizes everything we know about Infocom’s original virtual machine.
All of these documents are also preserved on the IF Archive, but we thought it was important to give the web site (and its canonical URLs) a permanent home. Therefore, with Graham’s kind permission, we have moved inform-fiction.org and all of its contents to IFTF. In fact, it’s now an official IF Archive annex, an alias of inform-fiction.ifarchive.org.
We don’t plan to update the site going forward. It remains a snapshot of IF history — or a series of snapshots. If you poke around, you’ll find Z-Machine interpreter lists from 2004, Inform extensions from 2007, and bug report lists from 2013. We don’t apologize! That’s history for you.
So what else can we preserve?
Web sites sometimes fall off the net. We’re not going to go around aggressively soliciting domains to take over — that would be tacky. But if a well-known IF site looks neglected, or if the owner wants to hand it off… drop us a line. We have a good track record for preserving IF-related data.
We also intend to create an Archive annex specifically for IF standards and specifications (like the Z-Machine). Again, these all exist in the Archive directory, but you have to dig for them. It would be nicer to have a core site where everything is findable.
This is a question that hits close to the bone for me. The specs for Glk and Glulx, my successors to the Z-machine, live on my personal web site at eblong.com. Does it make sense for me to shift them to an Archive annex? Transfer the ownership of the documents to IFTF? I suspect it does.
This doesn’t imply a radical change. I am, I guess, a BDFL for these specifications, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. But, as we know, eventually a BDFL might want to retire. So having a succession path through IFTF makes sense.
On to the next decade.