• How to automatically print or convert to PDF, MS Office or other formats OpenDocument files

    The script and tricks in the ODF scripting section of this website show how to create office-ready texts, presentations and spreadsheets automatically, in the OpenDocument format, which is a worldwide standards. This is all many people need to work today. Sometimes, however, it’s still necessary to either print those documents, or exchange them to somebody in other formats, like PDF or those of the older releases of Microsoft Office (newer releases of this program are already partially compatible with OpenDocument through free plugins, so if your partners have those versions they should really use those plugins, instead of bothering you with requests for drug-like, legacy file formats, but that’s another story).
  • How to transform (almost) plain ASCII text to Lulu-ready PDF files, part 2

    This page gives a general overview of a flow for transforming ASCII files in print-ready PDF books. The reasons for setting up such a flow in this way are explained in the first part of this tutorial. Basic workflow The basic usage of txt2tags is really simple. Once you’ve written something that you need to convert to PDF, text or HTML you can launch the graphic interface with the -gui option or run a command like this at the prompt:
  • How to transform (almost) plain ASCII text to Lulu-ready PDF files, part 3

    This is the core script I used to transform a set of plain ASCII files with the Txt2tags markup in one print-ready PDF file. Part 1 of this tutorial explain why I chose txt2tags as source format and Part 2 describes the complete flow.Book creation workflow Listing 1: make_book.sh 1 #! /bin/bash 2 3 CONFIG_DIR='/home/marco/.ebook_config' 4 PREPROC="%!Includeconf: $CONFIG_DIR/txt2tags_preproc" 5 6 CURDIR=`date +%Y%m%d_%H%M_book` 7 echo "Generating book in $CURDIR" 8 rm -rf $CURDIR 9 mkdir $CURDIR 10 cp $1 $CURDIR/chapter_list 11 cd $CURDIR 12 13 FILELIST=`cat chapter_list | tr "�12" " " | perl -n -e "s/.
  • How to transform (almost) plain ASCII text to Lulu-ready PDF files, part 1

    Many people write far more now that they are constantly online than in the pre-Internet age. Most of this activity is limited to Web or office-style publishing. People either write something that will only appear inside some Web browser or a traditional “document”, that is a single file, more or less nicely formatted for printing. Very often, however, they don’t do it in the most efficient way. The most common solution for the first scenario still is to write HTML or Wiki-formatted content in a text editor or, through a browser, directly in the authoring interface of CMS systems like Drupal or Wordpress.
  • Generate OpenDocument spreadsheets from DB2 (or any other) database

    DB2 pureXML is IBM software for management of XML data that eliminates much of the work typically involved in the management of XML data.The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an open international standard for office texts, presentations and spreadsheets that is very simple to process or generate automatically. This page is a short synthesis of an article published in September 2010 by N. Subrahmanyam, Using DB2 pureXML and ODF Spreadsheets, to give an idea (see my comments at the end) of how flexible ODF scripting is.
  • Create OpenDocument invoices and other documents with Rexx

    After my talk about ODF scripting at OOoCon 2010 I got,by another OOoCon speaker, Rony G. Flatscher another script for automatic generation of OpenDocument invoices, or any other ODF text with a fixed structure. Roni’s script opens an OpenDocument text template as the one shown in the picture above and replaces all the MF_ placeholders strings with values loaded by a plain text file, creating the filled form shown here:
  • OpenOffice.org Conference 2010, preparing the next ten years

    The OpenOffice.org conference celebrating the tenth birthday of OpenOffice.org started in Budapest yesterday morning. Here are some first notes from the field. The opening session was a cool moment, both for the location (the Hungarian Parliament) and for the content. We started in the very hall of the Parliament. Incidentally, the first thing I noted there has nothing to do with OO.o but is a general problem of the FOSS and programming worlds: of about 150 people in the hall, no more than 10% were women, even if OO.
  • How to make OpenDocument slideshows out of plain text files

    Slideshows are extremely popular as presentation and educational tools, but have a couple of serious problems. The first is readability: let’s admit it, many slideshows are almost unusable. One of the secrets to useful slideshows is terseness. Each slide should contain only a few short points or pictures which summarize the key concepts you want to transmit to the audience with that part of your talk. The other big issue with slideshows is that GUI presentation software, be it PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress, KPresenter or anything else, can be quite time-consuming and distracting, no matter how you use it.
  • Virtual Personal Email Servers, legal, management and economics issues

    After I published Wanted: Virtual Personal Email Servers I got lots of feedback. This is an edited summary of a particularly interesting one, from John of JDPFu.com, reproduced with his permission. My comments and answers are at the end of this page. John’s comments Marco, the Virtual Personal Email Server (VPES) that you recently asked for already exists, but not for end users. There are many pseudo-all-in-1 solutions. To solve your needs, I’d begin with ebox, a small business distro, and maybe look at Amahi for a home inclined distro.
  • How to generate and update ODF spreadsheets without OpenOffice

    Sooner or later, many of us need to process some numeric data in plain text format, be they system logs or sales totals, and to generate reports and charts out of those data. Scripts and utilities like gnuplot could be very useful in such cases, except when the results needs to be a normal spreadsheets with charts and formulas, which is both editable and compatible with people who only know how to deal with spreadsheets in office suites.