A sysop's 13 biggest gripes with file_id.diz descriptions
The most common mistakes
file_id.diz is not just another file name. It's the special name searched for by other software (including BBS platforms) to find a file description which it can copy into a BBS file base.
To coordinate with this other software a file_id.diz must follow the specific format it was designed for: line length 45, no blank lines, not more than a handful of lines. That - and only that - allows BBS software like PC-Board, upload checking utilities, and archive shells to extract the information in the DIZ and place it in a searchable list.
You can download our program to create a proper file_id, DIZGEN10.ZIP. After you create it, the file goes inside the archive package you are distributing.
A ZIP or self-extracting EXE archive file_id.diz should be a small ASCII file giving:
With Shareware, it's nice to find the price and S&H there. If it's an award winner, the phrase "Award winner."
File description lists on Bulletin Boards and the Internet vary in the number of lines allowed per file. Most BBS software defaulted to 8 lines, and that became a de facto file_id.diz standard length. 8 lines. Sysops could change the number of lines allowed and many did, either raising it (the FHOF allows 40) or lowering it.
If the file has too many lines the extra will be hacked off in mid-thought.
A large number of software writers screw up the diz because they haven't a clue there's a form to follow. We've actually seen 100-page doc files named file_id.diz. And we've seen worse than that.
Among scores of wrong things in a diz, here's our choice for the 13 most frequently committed errors. We are posting them as a guide to what not to do.
Last and least are the common syntax and grammar mistakes. Here are a few:
It's not only shareware writers who do this; it's a national characteristic of American selling. We see it all the time in newspaper stuffers from places like Sears. Perhaps it's subconscious honesty, this need to flag absurdly high prices with only.