Seeking opinions on specific application use


Apologies in advance, as this is not necessarily a question regarding any specific HYPE component. I have been struggling for some time to determine the most appropriate/efficient platform for a personal project, and I'm wondering if any experienced users of this software may be able to offer their thoughts.

Several years ago, I began creating an autobiography of sorts. Essentially, we can call this the "story of my life" - in the most raw format. My intention is to make this writing available to a small group of people once I've passed on. Morbid, I know, but after a relatively long list of personal losses in the past few years I've decided this would be something I'd like to make available to family and close friends once I'm deceased.

Of course, the heart of this product is textual, but in the process of composing what I already have, the "geek" in me has taken over, and what started as a simple text journal has evolved into a media-rich presentation in the style of an e-zine or interactive ebook. To date, I've bounced around from one platform to another, including ebook creation apps, simple word processors, offline CMS systems, and (as you can guess) HTML5 apps like Hype. Unfortunately, I have still not yet been able to pin down any one platform or format that fully accommodates what I'm trying to do. I wanted to put it out to this forum to see if anyone with more than my (very limited) experience with Hype can either confirm or deny that this is an application worth investing more time in with this project.

Here's my core requirements for the project I am creating:

  • Interactive components, including photo galleries, maps, animations (both graphic and textual)
  • An intuitive navigation that allows readers to browse chapters, contents, etc.
  • A dynamic visual representation (stylized typography, colors, backgrounds, layouts etc) that differs between certain segments

As for limitations that I've encountered:

  • Offline operability - As this is obviously very personal information, I need something that can remain offline - I have no interest in putting my deepest thoughts on anyone's servers
  • Compatibility - As I have no plans to "buy the farm" any time soon (I am 46 years old), I need to find a format that will allow me to deliver this product in a format that ensures it can be viewed.

Ideally, I'd like to have the final product on some type of removable media that I can place in my "death box", to be found if/when my survivors would be looking for my insurance policies, vital documents, etc. I certainly understand that there's no way to know what technologies/operating systems/software/coding languages will be in use or prevalent at that time, but I want to "future-proof" it as much as possible. In addition, I certainly have no intention on "publishing" said product, so something that would be fully self-contained and able to be viewed on someone's desktop (not OS-specific) is what I need.

Sorry for the rambling... I'm curious to hear others' thoughts on Hype's potential for such a project, and/or any better alternative suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. - For what it's worth, the format that I'm currently using is essentially an offline website comprised of multiple pages. I had decided this offers the highest level of "compatibility", however my concern is that the procedure for viewing it (copying the directory to someone's desktop - including media and stylesheets then finding and launching the index page) may not be very intuitive for whomever receives it.

1 Like

Sounds like an interesting project. I think Hype would be ideal.

I'd probably set up an old Raspberry Pi with an SD card with everything on it ready to go. (Not forgetting a small mouse and keyboard). Then auto-launch a browser with your content. You could include basic printed instructions to help the users. They could then either use it together, or pass it around. No need to worry about browsers etc that way. I'd probably still include the content on a DVD for those more technical.

If you're thinking about DVDs, then this is worth a read: 4. How Long Can You Store CDs and DVDs and Use Them Again? • CLIR
10-20 years for some discs! Therefore archival discs may be option, something like the Verbatim M-Disc BD-R discs. But then you'd need a blu-ray reader/writer, and how easy will it be for someone in the future to use this (drivers, OS etc).

This is a tough problem - the more expressive you want the content to be (interactive/multimedia), the harder it will be in the future to access the content. Simple text or video formats would of course be the most resilient, but if you were to make a .exe or .app that's expressive and easy to open there may be compatibility issues in the future. I do think HTML is a great compromise format, even if it isn't quite as easy to access. I feel that OPEN_ME.html is probably going to be pretty discoverable, even if it is surrounded by assets.

Basic modern HTML (like from the early 2000s) will probably always render correctly, but the more multimedia and modern features you use, the more risks there are. There have already been a couple times when browsers have broken parts Hype exported-content, and users would need to re-export to continue to work. Usually this is with more cutting-edge features, but sometimes a Hype workaround to a particular browser bug can cause issues down the road too. So while I think Hype would be a great fit for the project, significant longevity may be iffy.

On the whole, I'd say making a video is going to be the best compatibility, and can also be archived, stored, and updated pretty easily. Perhaps a good compromise is making the content in Hype, but doing so in such a way that it can also be exported as a "backup" style video in case a web page were to ever not work correctly?

I think @Jez-Jones also has some interesting ideas on it -- if you have complete control over the hardware then the software you use matters less since you know it will always be able to be opened and you can optimize simplicity on that. I'd just worry about hardware failures... not to say Raspberry Pi's have issues, I just don't know how long they are intended to last :slight_smile:.