The Salome Story: first full release version for Storyspace and Tinderbox

I am delighted to offer my first proper release version of The Salome Story hypertext, which examines the different narratives involving Herod, Herodias, Salome, and John the Baptist, and looks at how they have been told in paintings, literature, plays, operas, movies, and even in dance.

You can download this release version here: salomestory110

This self-contained document, which needs to be unZipped before use, is designed to be read using Eastgate’s Storyspace or Storyspace Reader (free) apps, available here. If you are already a Tinderbox user, it will open and can be accessed fully using Tinderbox 6 too, although you will there need to use Command-Return to follow its plain links between notes.

As ever, I welcome comments and reports of any issues, either below, or by email.


Final enhancements – visual impression

One important feature for a more general readership is to make the views that a reader is going to see as visually enticing as possible. My intention is that the reader will see the Map view and contents of the start writing space as their first impression. As things stand, there is little to seize the mind.


My solution is to add three images to draw the eye. The most important transforms the start tile into a miniature cover, with a detail from one of Moreau’s paintings and the title. I created those using GraphicConverter, and dragged and dropped the image into the content of that writing space.

I also want header images for the two main storylines, Biblical and ‘modern’. However, I cannot do the same with those tiles, as the writing space contents are used to identify the two different stories in the composite storyline. If I add an image to those writing spaces, it will appear in every one of the writing spaces making up the composite story.


Instead, I have simply copied and pasted the images as adornments to the Map View. This has the disadvantage that clicking on them does nothing purposeful, and I have to remember to lock them into place using the padlock icon on each, or the reader could end up moving them. But I think the end result is good.

Loose ends


I have also been through each of the writing spaces tweaking their contents, and remembered that there was a loose end: a writing space in the image Gallery which was unlinked. This gives some of the suggested background to why Moreau started work on his Salome paintings.


Rather than trying to link that into the main narratives, I have linked it to one of Moreau’s paintings, using a text link out and another to take the reader back again.

It’s important to check through all the writing spaces in your hypertext to ensure that they are reachable. We tend to check that links work and are correctly placed, but before shipping your document, you need to step through every single writing space. Doing that is also a good test of how well you have structured containers.

Making a shipping version

Authoring hypertext in Storyspace declares that your purpose is to encourage others to read it; it is quite different from creating a Tinderbox file, even though you may share that within your workgroup. The last and most important step in producing a release version in Storyspace is thus to ready it for the reader, something which is still quite fiddly and prone to frustrate.


If you’re making a hypertext which opens in a single window, this is not so bad. But in this case, I want the reader to be presented with two windows: one with the Map View as their main reading window, the other a Timeline view.

Storyspace and Tinderbox are superb in saving each document’s state when that document is closed. When writing, that is perfect behaviour. However, it poses a serious problem for this last step in making readable hypertext: there is no command to close all the windows of an open document simultaneously. So if you have set everything up just as you want the reader to open the document, close one of the windows, then the other, when the reader opens that document they will see just a single window, the last which you closed.

The solution is simple, but requires a little planning and care.

When you have set the windows and document up just as you want them to appear when opened, save the document, and quit Storyspace, which closes all windows simultaneously. You must then avoid opening that master copy of the document, or its window state will be saved again, overwriting those settings.

What I do next is to compress my master document into a Zip archive ready for release. The next time that you open Storyspace, the app will automatically reopen your master document. Close its windows, and quit Storyspace again, so that when you open the app next, it will start with an empty new document again. Then discard the uncompressed copy of the master document, as its settings will have changed again.

Whenever you need to use a copy of the master document, you can generate it by decompressing its Zip archive. My final step now is to check that master with each of the apps a reader is likely to access it with: Tinderbox, Storyspace (full edition), and Storyspace Reader. The Zip archive can now provide me with a fresh copy of that master document for each of those checks.

Unfinished business

I hope that you find this release version worth reading, and that it helps you explore a fascinating story about the Salome stories, and the superb works of art which they have inspired.

My work with this has not yet finished, though. I have several ideas for improvement which I will be looking at in the near future, mainly centred on the Timeline View. In its present form, someone with Storyspace or Tinderbox, and who knows what they are doing, can get much more out of the Timeline view than its single static settings allow. I want to provide ordinary readers with tools for changing the period shown in the Timeline View. I’d also like to offer a window in which the reader can work through the contents of the image Gallery in other ways, for example stepping through each of the paintings in time order.

I hope to write these up in future articles here, so that they may inspire you when you are authoring your own hypertext using Storyspace.