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Re: some useful tools

Hi Jukka (and Frank)

Nice references! 
I think I will give rubber a spin. Not that I am lost in my makefiles
but indeed there might be something better.

jabref sounds cool too. Indeed Java GUI probably is quite nasty but your
description gives some nice features which I think are not present in
pybliographer which I'm using at the moment and which I really like.
if only someone packaged it for debian
well -- there was ITP

Frank, how is packaging going or did you abandoned the idea?


On Sat, Aug 06, 2005 at 01:01:38PM +0300, Jukka Suomela wrote:
> Hi all,

> Here is a list of some tools which I find useful and noone else has mentioned 
> yet. (Sorry if I missed someone's email.)

> - glpk:

> An LP and MILP solver library.

> I can't say I like the API that much. The header files pollute the name space 
> by defining macros like "print". There are useful functions for printing LP 
> problems in human and machine readable formats but those functions can only 
> print to a named file, not to an open file handle or such. There are problems 
> with const correctness. C arrays which are indexed from element 1 instead of 
> 0 make your C code look nonidiomatic and thus error-prone.

> However, the thing seems to do what I want, and the reference manual is great. 
> Just don't say I didn't warn you. The lp-solve (i.e. lp_solve) library seemed 
> to be an even worse mess, YMMV.

> - rubber:

> I always use this tool to build my Latex documents. Thanks to it, Latex is now 
> a productive tool instead of a PITA.

> One simple command "rubber -Wall foo.tex" automatically performs all steps to 
> build up-to-date dvi, ps, pdf, etc. versions of the Latex document, including 
> things like running bibtex and converting images to eps or pstex format if 
> needed. It hides all garbage printed by Latex, parses error messages, and 
> prints relevant messages in a human-readable format. Thanks to the -Wall 
> switch, it can even print warnings when there was no need to re-run Latex 
> this time.

> Magic "% rubber: ..." comments inside the Latex source can be used to specify 
> paths for Latex class files, bibliography files, bibtex style files, etc.; 
> you can also specify if and how you want to create ps and pdf versions. You 
> don't need to maintain any external Makefiles or worry about your build 
> environment; one Latex source file is enough. This is important when more 
> than one people are working on the same document: checkout the document from 
> the version control system, run rubber, and you've got the most up-to-date 
> version of the paper.

> - jabref:

> A GUI for maintaining a bibliography in a bibtex file. (Not in Debian as far 
> as I know; see http://jabref.sourceforge.net/ ; written in Java, so 
> installation is relatively easy if you have a working Java environment.)

> Naturally, there are many similar tools. I don't know if there is anything 
> better; JabRef is far from perfect, but at least the following aspects are, 
> in my opinion, useful: First of all, it is not just a bibtex editor, it is 
> also useful for storing interesting articles and browsing and reading them. 
> The current version works fine in a group work model where the bibliography 
> file and the corresponding PDF files of the articles are kept in a version 
> control system. JabRef supports things like maintaining a tree-like hierarchy 
> of categories and storing one article in multiple categories. It supports 
> Latin-1 characters nowadays quite well. It can automatically generate bibtex 
> entry keys by using a customisable key generation rule. It runs in Windows, 
> too, which can be an important aspect in group work.

> If you are looking for a tool like this, you might want to give it a try. Just 
> don't give up immediately when you notice that the usability of the GUI is 
> far from what one sees in commercial software. One can get used to it.

> Best regards,
> Jukka Suomela
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