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gnat (29)

gnat
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Journal of gnat (29)

Tuesday January 28, 2003
12:16 PM

Monday

[ #10237 ]
96 email messages sent. Dealt with several that were long outstanding. There are now only four messages in my inbox that are before the 20th of January, and those are book messages that require Other People to decide things before I can reply. Yay!

Didn't, however, get any Cookbook work done. I was settling in after putting William to bed, and Raley started howling. She'd been rubbing her ear for the last few days, but it must finally have turned into a full blown ear infection. Hence, no sleep for us last night, and no Cookbook updates.

Have I plugged AudioHijack enough yet? I've got a great collection of BBC docos so far, and I'm loving it. I'm using their beta of v2, which supports saving directly as mp3. This is super sweet.

I found DocBook-X, a strange little combination of tools to emit PDF from DocBook source. In theory, we at O'Reilly are supposed to have such a beast, but like all our computer systems, it's a nightmare to get running anywhere but on the machine that was developed on. Well, to give them credit, the new FrameMaker/XML conversion tool was relatively easy to get working on Mac OS X, I just couldn't do anything with the XML or Frame once I had it!

Currently listening to Mark O'Connor's "In Full Swing", a very nice swing jazz album. O'Connor is a phenomenal talent, and it's good to hear something that's not classical. He's been on one of those "I'm a serious musician" jags, and it's sucked to have him release album after album of boring music.

--Nat

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  • I found DocBook-X, a strange little combination of tools to emit PDF from DocBook source.

    What an utter piece of crap.

    This package is the worst of what open source is about. This is a 16MB download of poorly documented and highly buggy software. Thankfully, it's mostly shell scripts, but completely untested shell scripts (docbook-sh.cfg is a slightly warmed over csh shell script that doesn't work; multiple bugs in docbook2pdf took a while to spot before it led to a few hundred lines of Java exceptio

    • Agreed -- I also wasted time trying to get the broken sh script to work, only to be rewarded by the ubiquitous Java stack trace. I must admit that I've never seen the draw of Java + XML, though.

      • I must admit that I've never seen the draw of Java + XML, though.
        Then you must not remember Scott McNealy's pronouncement of ca. 1999: «XML gives Java something to do!» :-)
      • Java + XML quite simply doesn't fly. You can do it for sure, but it really wasn't made to handle XML's flexibility gracefully. To be honest, the worst part of going from a Perl job to a job in which I occasionally do some Java is the XML support. No good SAX writer, no good parsing framework (JAXP is pretty much a joke), no trace of a proper SAX pipelining framework, no viable XPath on streams, no variety in tree implementations. It's appalling.

        Only two languages have proper XML support, Perl and P

        --

        -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

    • How weird, it worked out of the box for me. I even wrote a crude translator for Project Gutenberg books to turn them into DocBook articles and successfully translated a couple.

      So if this is the worst of open source and DocBook, where are the good DocBook tools for OS X?

      --Nat

      • So if this is the worst of open source and DocBook, where are the good DocBook tools for OS X?

        This was the worst of open source: a big download that wasn't debugged, was poorly documented, and didn't work.

        The "good docbook tools for OS X" that I use are the same ones I've been using for years on Linux, FreeBSD and Win*: xsltproc (from libxslt), DocBook-XSLT, openjade, DocBook-DSSSL, and the XML/SGML DTDs. Converting DocBook to PDF directly has always been tricky, and the best paths involve using TeX

        • This was the worst of open source: a big download that wasn't debugged, was poorly documented, and didn't work.

          And those characteristics differ from a release 1.0 from MicroSoft (any product) in what way?

          Oh, I get it - for open source, this is the worst possible, rather than the standard.

    • Bah, who cares if DocBook has tools? Even with the best tools it's still the Ugliest XML Vocabulary Ever (ducks)!.

      --

      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]