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Thursday, August 07, 2008


I'm moving this blog to a new Google account. Therefore it will have a new address:


I won't be updating anything on this page from now on. See, I have a new(er) Google account that I've been moving my stuff to, and I'm trying to cut loose ends.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Oxygen 9.0 Is Out

Version 9.0 of my favourite XSL IDE, Oxygen, was released yesterday. Of course, I downloaded and installed it as soon as I could, having waited for an upgrade since 8.2 came out, some six months ago. I've written about Oxygen before; it's the first decent XSL IDE available for Linux, and the more I've used it, the more I've come to depend on it. See, what I especially like is the fact that I no longer need Microsoft Windows to do my XML/XSL work. Oxygen works very well in Debian/GNU Linux.

And now, it looks like I can finally re-evaluate my XML editor needs, too. So far, I've run XMetaL in wine, which kind of works except that right-clicking the workspace still crashes the program (but that's fairly OK since I seldom need to right-click anything while writing). As most things in wine, it's beta quality, no more.

Now, however, Oxygen 9.0 comes with a semi-WYSIWYG view, with CSS formatting and start- and end tag symbols, making it the first real alternative to running Windows software in wine. It is reasonably fast, too, from what I've seen so far, and certainly more stable than anything run in wine. You do need an official Sun Java JRE, though; it will complain if you use some of the Java replacements available for Linux, and it doesn't work with the GNU libgcj Java Virtual Machine.

I'll give it a more thorough test run within the next week or so, but I'm hoping that it can deliver what it promises.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Long Time No Blog

Anyone missed me? Don't lie; you didn't. It's the Internet and there are a gazillion blogs out there. Some of them are probably even better than mine.

I'm back now, though, and I will once again be offering my views on things that matter to me on this space. Hope you'll read.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

XMetaL 5

I've spent the last few days tinkering with an XMetaL authoring environment for a client. The XMetaL version is the latest, 5.0, which is actually a lot of fun, but unfortunately it means that I've been forced back to Windows. What's worse, it also means that I'm forced to develop in Microsoft's exceedingly bloated Visual Studio .Net, surely a punishment for a previous life.

It's beyond me to understand why JustSystems, the Japanese company that bought XMetaL from Blast Radius, insists on this dependency.

An XMetaL developer doesn't need all the bells, whistles, and bugs that is Visual Studio, he needs a reasonably flexible scripting environment, easy access to modifying CSS stylesheets, writing (XML-based) toolbars and customizations, as well as the occasional form or dialog.

The thing is, different developers have different preferences. While I do believe that there are people that actually like Visual Studio .Net, not all of us do. Maybe we prefer other languages, or maybe we believe that forcing us to use the same tool for everything just isn't the right way to go. After all, even if you own an 18-wheel truck, you don't use it to drive to the supermarket to buy groceries. You use a car or a bus or a bike. Something that doesn't get in the way.

Because that's what Visual Studio does. It gets in the way, and more so when all you want to do is to tweak a CSS stylesheet. And I haven't even mentioned how hard it has become to change the DTD and then recompile it and import it into your project.

And I won't, because my blood pressure is important to me.

So while XMetaL in its latest reincarnation is very nice, I still consider version 3.1 to be superior for a number of reasons, of which one important one (to me) is that I can run it in and wine and Linux.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007


Yesterday, I finally gave in and bought Oxygen, a Java-based XML/XSL editor available for Linux. While it's not an editor I'd choose for authoring XML documents (I still prefer something like XMetaL for anything beyond a page or two), I've fallen in love with it while writing XSL stylesheets for Arabic/Persian/Hebrew output for a client.

Until now, I've used ActiveState's Komodo for the purpose but I have to admit that Oxygen is better. Obviously, there's content completion for XSLT, but also for XSL-FO, which is very nice. You can also set a DTD or XML Schema of your own choice as the target output, which makes it a lot easier and faster to write stylesheets.

But the best feature is one that I don't really expect to use commercially: Oxygen's got Relax NG support, both for writing Relax NG schemas and for writing instances. It's really cool, but unfortunately, nobody seems to use Relax NG. It's just me and a few mates.

And no, I'm not affiliated with the company behind Oxygen in any way. I just like the product. A lot.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Global Warming for Gore?

This is the Oscars weekend, and one of the nominated films is The Inconvenient Truth It's now speculated that an Oscar could be his first step towards the White House., former US Vice-President Al Gore's eye opener on global warming and the climate crisis threatening us all. The dramatically inclined even suggest that he could announce his candidacy on the podium, Oscar in hand.

I think it's a great idea. Gore would probably be the best candidate in years, if he runs, a candidate with an agenda as important to the resat of the world as for the US. In his words (with diagrams of water flooding Manhattan in the background), is it possible that we should focus on other dangers than just terrorism?

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

KDE CD Player Woes

Until recently, I've been using kscd as my CD player in the KDE desktop environment. Some time ago, however, kscd caught a bug. After a few minutes' worth of playing a newly inserted CD, the CD stops and resets to track 1. If I press Play again, it will now play the CD flawlessly, from start to end. However, if I eject it and insert a new CD, the bug reappears.

This has been driving me nuts.

After some unsuccessful Googling, where I did find others sharing the same problem with me but no solution, I listened to a friend's advise and switched to Amarok, a media player that handles MP3s, fetches lyrics, builds playlists and helps me compile them in a MySQL database, among other things. Amarok is really nice.

But the kscd bug bothers me, and I want it solved. If anyone out there reads this and knows what happens, and why, please leave a note.