tools for document interoperability


This is the web diary for nfoWorks and realization of the Harmony Principles. Pursuing Harmony tracks nfoWorks research, analysis, specification, and implementation of tools for document interoperability. There is commentary on related activities that address conformance, interoperability, and harmonization of document formats.

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Recent Items
Republishing before Silence
The Real Challenge of Achieving and Sustaining Int...
Let’s Try This for a While
Hooptedoodle: Blog Aversion and Standards Ignoranc...
ODF Implementation-Support Toolkits and Libraries
Adding Pursuing Harmony to Technorati
Office Shots for Confirmed ODF Interchange Fidelit...
ODF Interoperability at The Hague
ODF and IPR/Licensing Concerns
Open Government Data: Simple Principles

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Locations of visitors to nfoWorks

The nfoCentrale Blog Conclave
Millennia Antica: The Kiln Sitter's Diary
nfoWorks: Pursuing Harmony
Numbering Peano
Orcmid's Lair
Orcmid's Live Hideout
Prof. von Clueless in the Blunder Dome
Spanner Wingnut's Muddleware Lab (experimental)

nfoCentrale Associated Sites
DMA: The Document Management Alliance
DMware: Document Management Interoperability Exchange
Millennia Antica Pottery
The Miser Project
nfoCentrale: the Anchor Site
nfoWare: Information Processing Technology
nfoWorks: Tools for Document Interoperability
NuovoDoc: Design for Document System Interoperability
ODMA Interoperability Exchange
Orcmid's Lair
TROST: Open-System Trustworthiness



... Tweaking the Sidebar ...

I can't stand some things about the sidebar, and I must fix them now (template versions 0.04-0.05):

  • The differences in font colors and weights between headings on the sidebar and the main body are repulsive.  The body heading colors work fine. [0.04 partway there]
  • There is no list of recent posts (and how did I miss that?).  I am cribbing that from Orcmid's Lair.  [0.04 addition; 0.05 some appearance improvement]
  • I may as well grab a list of related blogs while I am doing that. [0.04 addition; 0.05 some appearance improvement]
  • I need to set the sequence on the model I am accustomed to as well:
    • Description, to be simpler, maybe smaller type
    • Atom feed indicator and symbol [0.04 addition]
    • Associated Blogs list [0.04 addition]
    • Blogger badge [0.04 move]
    • Search badge
    • Replacement of profile with smaller picture, blogs that link here, view my profile and technorati badge
    • ClustrMap [0.04 addition]
    • Recent Items [0.04 addition]
    • Archive [0.04 change - still need to fix fonts and appearance]
  • I am self-hosting this blog, so the internationalization of static headings is irrelevant and I can simplify styles further [0.04 start]

I need to be careful and not attempt too much of this all at once.   This is going to be one of those pages that I will probably update as I make progress.

Update 2008-08-20T23:54Z: A set of provisional changes are made with template version 0.04 with the idea of tweaking further after seeing the template at work.

Update 2008-08-21T01:07Z: The biggest change is to get rid of link underlining and use bold-face as well as an improved link color.  This and some minor layout adjustments are accomplished with template version 0.05.  I am going to let those sit there for a while until I see how to make the layout more pleasant still.

Update 2008-08-21T01:14Z: The changes work better if I save the new template to Blogger after previewing it.

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... Steady as She Goes ...

After having the template tweaks to look at, I am making some more, leading to version 0.03:

  • First, I make an unrelated addition to the RSS feeds, following the advice of Amit Agarwal.  This is meant to deal with situations where the feed is mechanically republished by another site, preserving the origination of the feed item regardless.
    Each feed item will now have this footer:
    <hr /><a href="" target="_top" rel="nofollow"> nfoWorks: Pursuing Harmony</a>
  • The entire sidebar is right-justified for more-consistent appearance.
  • The title of the blog is centered.  Eventually, there will be a logo in the upper-left corner and some links in the upper right.

I've started capturing pages that illustrate the state of the blog at each template revision.  These will be carried under the Blog Operations materials for reference. 

Although I intentionally refrain from republishing the whole site, older archive and post pages will be regenerated from time to time.  Page regeneration, always using the then-latest template, is usually because comments have been posted and sometimes because I provide additional information in an older post (such as links to related recent material).

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Steady, steady ...

While I am preparing for major additions and starting my homework as a new OASIS Open individual member, I am also performing some simple maintenance to the site template (resulting in version 0.02):

  • There is one bit of client-side JavaScript at the bottom of the template that is completely extraneous.  Instead of adding a link to the blog's main page from archive pages, I made all blog pages have links to the main page from the blog title.  There is no longer any JavaScript.
  • There were some typos in my modified header that I cleaned up.  These included a double-word occurrence of "Jason" and a missing ":" after a source-control label.
  • I moved the description to the sidebar in front of my profile.
  • I made everything below the profile on the sidebar right-justified, as is my general preference.
  • I removed the dummy links that were in the original template, leaving the Google one for now.
  • I moved the blogger badge and the information about the RSS feed to the sidebar also.

The new template previews correctly.  Making this post will apply it to the main page, this individual post, and the archive page that this post is part of.  Older posts have not been republished.  They will continue to be formatted under the previous template, unless they are republished by me or as the result of a comment.  I also backed up the blog to my development system before making the change on Blogger.

I believe there are extraneous cascading style-sheet (CSS) definitions in the <head> section of the template, and I will distill it down gradually.  It is nice that there are no external style sheets, but I want to simplify what is sent to the browser even more.

The development of the fire drill and incident-handling materials is going to go slowly, and I will make more template changes when I need a respite from that and from content-creation activities.

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Weaving the Safety Net

The next series of activities for creation of this blog involve creation of a safety net against my own slip-ups and as a defense in case the blog becomes corrupted at some point.

This work takes up where Ramping Up has now left off. Compulsive knot-hole peepers will find a Construction Zone and Construction Notes on "Pursuing Harmony" Blog Operation.

1. First steps 2008-08-13T23:10Z. The first step is to capture the blog template and keep it in a form that is available under version control any time it is necessary to restore an earlier template:

  • I have switched from FTP to SFTP one more time, just to see if it is now working along with FTP (which took a while before it succeeded).
  • After accessing the Blogger dashboard for this blog, the original template is copied into the UTF-8 file default.htm.template.txt. That file is checked into the development folder for http://nfoWorks/diary and placed under version control there.
  • Once we have this much we are ready for the next step.

2. Template Cleanup 2008-08-14T00:11Z.  The next step is to clean up the template a slight amount in preparation for further customization:

  • The SFTP transfer is definitely not working.  I reverted to FTP from Blogger to the directory on the hosted site.
  • Browser View of Original Template (click for larger image)The template is backed up.  If viewed in a browser, it may render as HTML  rather than as text.  Using the browser feature for viewing the page's source code will reveal the coded-HTML of the template.
  • The template is edited to add the following features:
    • A !DOCTYPE directive is added to the top of the template, specifying HTML 4.01 Transitional, the prevailing format on this site.
    • An HTML comment with version-control label is embedded in the page.
    • A comment with up-to-date revision history is added to the end of the file.
  • The text of the cleaned-up template is added to the Blogger account for use in all further posts (including the current version of this one).

3. Safety Net Incorporation 2008-08-13T01:23Z.  With a maintainable template backed-up and versioned, there are many improvements called for.  Those are cosmetic and not urgent, however desirable.  Instead, provisions for locking down the blog, repairing/recovering it, and restoring it to operation will be put in place.  The arrangement depends on the site being accessible by the administrator even though the blog is not working properly for some reason.

  • default.firedrill.htm is a replacement for the blog default page when a fire-drill is being carried out (such as one we will have shortly, much like a boat drill carried out before leaving port).
  • default.quarantine.htm is a replacement for any page that is effectively quarantined until a remedy is available in its place.  This is typically done as a new version of a blog archive page rather than as a replacement for the default page, although anything is possible.
  • default.standby.htm is a replacement for the blog default page when the blog is made inaccessible for some reason.  This is usually put up very quickly, without further details provided until later when there is some assessment of the situation.
  • harmony-atom.standby.xml is a substitute for the blog's harmony-atom.xml and rss.xml Atom feed files when there is need to quarantines until a problem can be resolved.
  • harmony-atom.testing.xml is a substitute for the two Atom feed files when the feed is blocked for a fire drill or other testing.

These pages are developed as part of the "Pursuing Harmony" Blog Operations material.  That's the next step.  Then we can have our first fire drill.

[update 2008-08-14T14:24Z added an important omitted word.  I'm now back on the out-of-sight work needed in order to perform a successful fire drill.  I forgot how tedious this is.  The previous setup on Orcmid's Lair is old and stale and needs to be refreshed as part of that site's eventual repaving.  Meanwhile, onward ... .]

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Ramping Up

This is an initial post for ramping up the Blogger creation of Pursuing Harmony. The blog will replace the manually-created diary that was first used with nfoWorks. This initial page is created to cause population of the blog, its archives, and the RSS feed.

The blog starts out using Jason Sutter's "Sand Dollars" format, one of the supplied Blogger templates. I will customize that to achieve my preferred style once operation of the blog is confirmed.

Customization happens after blog editing and posting is confirmed to be functioning.

My first problem was attempting to use SFTP. I reverted back to plain-old FTP to make sure the FTP log-in could succeed. This wasn't working the same as previously, so I tried a different path name.  The problem may have been a lag in set-up of the account that I created for Blogger to use in posting to the web site.  After one false-start, it all started working.

1. Update 2008-08-12T21:55Z After succeeding with this initial post, I decided not to use the Blogger NavBar.  If I want to add a search panel for searching the blog and/or the site, I will do that later.

On getting Windows Live Writer working with the site, I attempted to establish an upload directory for images included in the blog.  LiveWriter reported that it could not confirm the URL.  I will make sure the new directory is established and give it a construction structure.  I should then be able to have LiveWriter use it.

I am also going to move the archive directory out of the top-level blog directory, so that backup and maintenance is easier. 

Live Writer reminded me to add tags to this post, and I will do that now too.  I see that the categories work differently and are independent of tags.  I must not be so careless in choosing categories.

2. Update 2008-08-12T23:34Z The archive is moved and the image directory was pre-populated with an index.htm so that Live Writer's concern for the folder was removed.  It is now time to demonstrate that picture uploading works:

3. Update 2008-08-13T00:03Z After I figured out what time it is here (for adjusting to GMT in these little update items), I also managed to correct the URL for where the images are so that, not only are they uploaded, they are also correctly-reachable from the blog post.

My next effort is to make sure that I have a back-up procedure for mirroring the blog content on my development machine along with the other parts of nfoWorks.

After that has concluded, I will need to start working on the template.

Simon's American cousin, the romantic Edwin 4. Update 2008-08-13T00:12Z Well, the Neighborhood Rose images are on the blog site, but Live Writer fails to notice that I corrected the URL in my FTP settings.  So I am linking in the above picture manually.  I will introduce an additional image so that it can upload with the new settings.

Now I can introduce the backup procedure and then start adjusting the template.

5. Update 2008-08-13T00:53Z One concern I had is the automatic creation of subfolders to hold images from separate posts.  I have verified that no subfolder index is available on the server and there is no way to explore the images but via image elements on the blog pages.  That is satisfactory.

6. Update 2008-08-13T20:25Z I have carried out one manual backup.  Before taking the customization to the next level, I have made a couple of simple touch-ups. 

  • The title is changed from "Pursuing Harmony" to "nfoWorks: Pursuing Harmony."
  • The little e-mail option down near the comments and links line after each blog is removed.  The e-mail content is so ugly, devoid of formatting and any images, that I prefer people use other means off of the RSS feed or by using their browser to clip and forward pages.

The next step is to construct the safety net and fire-drill procedure for the blog.  It has been some time since a blog has been corrupted, but that is no reason to start operating without a net.

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Construction Structure (Hard Hat Area)
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template created 2008-08-13-18:06 -0700 (pdt)
$$Author: Orcmid $
$$Date: 13-11-11 19:13 $
$$Revision: 5 $