Thursday, March 02, 2006

ODF Toolkits

David Berlind asks where are the ODF developer kits.

I guess it depends on what you want to do but for my money, there are lots of ODF developer kits out there. They are called XML processing toolkits:-) Ok, I'm being a wee bit cheektongued when I say that.

We do a lot of ODF processing and, where possible, we do it in XML processing pipelines that are outside of ODF itself. We use Jython for most of this heavy lifting, ODF munging work.

When it comes to working interactively with OOo, our preferred method is PyUNO. Using Python for inside OOo work and outside OOo work minimises the seams between the two activities.

For deep integration of OOo into custom applications, there are a number of options ranging from headless execution through to OfficeBeans. Somebody even did an ActiveX control if memory serves me right :-)

There is also the VB-like scripting language that ships with OOo itself.

Now I'm a bits-on-the-wire kind of guy so I like my XML served up straight. I'm not a fan of endless abstractions that hide the "complexity" of text and thus not a great fan of APIs for applications that are fundamentally about text.

I fully realise that not everyone thinks the way I do and people see complexity in different places and prefer to deal with it in different places.

So, my perception of the state of the OOo developer kit landscape is skewed to my way of thinking and from my viewpoint, things ain't too bad.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sky TV - not-quite opaque identifiers - vexation

So, yesterday Sky TV decided that BBC1 is no longer 169 and the Arts Channel is no longer 157 etc. etc. etc.

The numbers of channels in Sky's layout are not as opaque as wonks like my would prefer. And there sure ain't long lived as yesterday proved.

My guess is that the big re-org is to make way for all the scrumptious HDTV variants. They may also have been pressure on the semantic banding : 300 for movies. 400 for sport that sort of thing.

So here is the upshot: (1) embuing numbers with semantics (especially allocating ranges) will bite you one day. (2) If you don't embue numbers with semantics (such as allocating ranges) you are safe but don't have many customers because customers want identifiers to be less-than opaque.

Simple to use with an occasional earthquake renumbering beats harder to use with no earthquakes.

Apparently.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Analog or Digital?

    "Digital photographs, MP3 audio and computer generated animation are all examples of 'good enough' emulations of an underlying analog perfection.

    Maybe. Maybe not."
    -- From analog to digital and back to analog