books Watch: DOS ebooks with AMB

Watch this video to learn how to write ebooks using AMB, the Ancient Machine Book format.

You are probably familiar with modern technologies in technical writing such as HTML and EPUB. A less known ebook technology is AMB, or the Ancient Machine Book format. AMB is ideal for low memory systems like DOS - in fact, AMB was implemented by open source developer Mateusz Viste for the FreeDOS Project. On his web page about AMB, Mateusz writes:

AMB stands for "Ancient Machine Book". It is an extremely lightweight file format meant to store any kind of hypertext documentation that may be comfortably viewed even on the most ancient PCs: technical manuals, books, etc. Think of it as a retro equivalent of a *.CHM help file.

An AMB ebook is a container or archive that holds one or more AMA files. AMA files provide minimal markup, using tags of the form %x to perform basic formatting like headings, links, and warnings. As a DOS application, AMB assumes the standard dimensions of a DOS display: 80 columns and 25 lines. Each line on an AMA file may only be 78 characters long, because the AMB viewer uses the rightmost column to display a scroll bar, and places a frame on the left side of the screen. Lines longer than 78 columns simply get cut off.

Once you know how to use the tags, writing ebooks in AMB is pretty easy. Let's take a look at how to write DOS ebooks using AMB: