Saturday, April 23, 2005

This post Certified 100% PDF-Free(TM)

So, after a small diversion to watch a slightly amusing troll ply his trade in #kde, I got to work on reviewing the tips database for ktips. Unfortunately, it seems not to have received much love lately, and there are stacks of cool features of KDE that aren't advertised there. I also want to plug the docs a bit with relevant links in the tips. Seems logical too.

First step was to go through the existing tips, and check them for accuracy and usefulness. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, modulo some changes in GUI texts, even the tips dating back to 2.0 days are still relevant. I guess that shows that the KDE framework was useful when KDE was started, and still is now, or something. I'm sure one of the more astute bloggers on planet KDE could come up with an analogy involving trees to illustrate the point more elegantly :-).

Next step was to think of what's missing. Fortunately, I had Fabrice Mous and Lauri on my side, so I didn't really have to think of very many myself. 45 minutes later, and I've got about 30 more neat features to write little tips for.

And, wow - I use KDE every day, yet there are all these features that I never knew about, like:

  • Hold Ctrl and scroll the mouse wheel in Konq to change font size

  • Hold Shift and scroll the mouse wheel for fast scrolling in any app

  • Middle mouse button on desktop for a window list

Plus a few that I knew about previously, but which still rock:

  • Web shortcuts in Konq

  • Konq's image gallery handling - the photobook plugin, and the image gallery creator.

  • Ability to use 'servicemenus' to modify various context menus

So now I have a big list of features to write little tips for, and the need to find some time to do it in. Hrm. There are a few more issues to look at: Most of the tips relate to apps included in kdebase. I guess there's no reason they shouldn't also include apps from all official KDE modules, but I guess I should check with core-devel.

And now Lauri has me reading the Epic of Gilgamesh (or "Gigglemesh" for any 5-year-old readers)...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

More PDF...

Apologies to anyone who downloaded the PDF generation tarball yesterday and found that it didn't work. My fault :-}. The updated version should work better. It does a couple more things - centres images, gives them a little padding, and gets rid of all the blank pages. For examples, see the Konqueror docs or The User Guide as PDF. As before, more testers are especially welcomed - thanks to mikmak on #kde-devel for pointing out some problems. If you're familiar with XSL or LaTeX (especially if you're a LaTeXpert), I'd love to have your help; get in touch at "phil at kde dot org" or on #kde-docs on .

And, for those interested in such things, I'm back at Uni again. So 8 weeks of revision and frisbee coming up. At least it won't snow this term when I'm out playing :-).

Friday, April 15, 2005

PDF Generation

PDF generation of the KDE docs is something we get asked for every so often, and it turns out to be less easy than you might suppose. There are quite a few tools around that will do the conversion in one way or another, all with their own problems. In the end, we've settled on the db2latex XSL stylesheets to get LaTeX output, and then pdflatex for the PDF. It took some tweaking of the XSL and a Perl script to wrap around it all to fix some of the problems, but we seem to have fairly good-looking output.

And of course, just as I write that, Lauri shows me the output that her version of libxslt produces, which is, erm, less nice: the table of contents has made its way into the title. Great. I guess I'll have to update my libxslt at some point to test.

So, the next step is some more data points, and some testing. To that end, I've put the tools up here. Download it, unpack, and follow the instructions in the README. Hopefully it should work, giving you a nice PDF file of some KDE document. (The Perl code is really not excellent; feel free to send me improvements :-)

In other news, I've joined the legions of text-message obsessed adolescents by (reluctantly) getting myself a mobile phone. So if u c me usng txt slng, KILL ME IMMEDIATELY!