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Ubuntu ebook template – changes to 13.04 packages

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So in the latest 13.04 repositories, Kompozer is no longer supported.  It used to be supported by the Debian project but was dropped in October 2012.  The alternative is to install the dependencies manually and then install Kompozer from a deb file provided by the community project.   This makes installing Kompozer a less attractive proposition for projects that want to be part of the ubuntu software centre, and rely on kompozer to provide editing functionality.  Combine this with the issues I was having trying to automate Kompozer using DBUS, and the drive then is to look at a better alternative.

ubuntu ebook template - web editor

ubuntu ebook template – web editor

And I think I have one.

I recently completed a python course, and this lead me to look at python much more clearly.  I discovered that python has a built in web server, so i started wondering if I could use the CGI services supplied by that server to load and save chapter files from the ebook project.  Couple of hours later I have this :


It’s still a work in progress – my UI design skills are somewhat lacking – but it does have some potential.  To activate this editor, I created a new command called webedit.  This command starts a webserver, and launches a URL in the default browser.  The links down the left hand side have dummy data at the moment, but it should be possible to read values from the ebook spine, and present the contents in order.  Each link passes a different filename to the server, and that file is read from the project directory and injected into the tinymce control that is in the page.  Page layout is defined using jinja, a templating language for python.  As a matter of interest I found I had to add cr/lf’s between each line.  The template must work on a line by line basis.

I defined the template using Divshot – an online design and layout tool.


This technique currently uses a standard port (8000) – so this could cause issues if you wanted to update multiple books at the same time – it might be possible to catch the error, and increment the port until an available port is identified, but realistically having 2 ebooks on the go at the same time seems unlikely.

Python course update

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certificateFor the last 9 weeks I have been undertaking a python course through coursera.com.  I’m happy to say that I got my results today, and I passed.  I’ve learned a lot of interesting aspects to python development during the course, and I have already started to think how I can extend and enhance my Ubuntu Ebook template project, as that also uses python for the underlying code – look for a forth coming blog post with some interesting ideas for the Ubuntu Ebook Template project, and how the state of Ubuntu 13.04 affects the tool choices that were made.

The course was well put together, and I like how aspects of computer science that could typically be seen as a little dry (set manipulation) are bought to life through applying these techniques in a situation that we’re more familiar with, creating a product that is immediately playable.  I also like the codeskulptor tool developed by Scott Rixner.  Through that tool I was able to write code anywhere – even marking assignments during my lunch break.  What is exciting for me is that I can potentially take some of the code I developed for the course, and potentially package that using standard ubuntu quickly and create applications that are available for download on the Ubuntu Software Centre.

I would heartily recommend this course – it’s the best experience I’ve had with distance learning so far… and it’s free!


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So Dave rang me yesterday asking about compiling code.  Dave wanted to try an application called Tupi.
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