12 February, 2006

Show up those RFC documents

I've got a little further along on my current pet project, rfcshow. It does pretty much what it says, downloading RFC documents you want if you don't have them, providing a really simple search facility through the index, and displaying them in a small variety of formats.

What I was thinking of, was to do a graphical user interface that's different from the one I use currently, and for that, I'd have to learn more C and gtk2+. At the moment, I don't have that knowledge, though apparently it's not difficult to learn. So you could be seeing a gtk version, perhaps even with embedded hyperlinks.

Anyone vaguely interested in viewing RFC documents on their own computer can take a look at http://flying-brick.caverock.net.nz/rfcshow, though it's still a work in progress, it does nearly all that I want for an RFC program. I built this because I wanted a way of calling up any document, and I added searching because I needed it. Another project, "rfc" is written in perl, and is where I 'flogged' the search routines from. The only reason I didn't customise that version further was because it wasn't my own work to begin with. Not only that, but there were features about my program that I preferred; for example rfc uses lynx to fetch the documents from the rfc site, and displays them, but doesn't store them locally for later use (unless there's a caching function I didn't find). Rfcshow downloads documents if you don't already have them, and stores them in compressed form on the hard disk for later retrieval. It uses a dialog client to draw pretty boxes filled with content to the screen. About the only thing I haven't managed to do yet is to have a document with embedded links so that you can click merrily from document to document.. I also don't have a "table of contents", as such.

Requirements to run rfcshow are as follows: bash (2.05 or greater), a dialog client (cdialog, Xdialog, or zenity will do, kdialog may not), bzip2/gzip, perl, tcl (not mandatory) and ncftp-utils or curl. You'll also need a place to store about 120MB of downloaded documents if you choose to install them all. Requirements for PDF versions or PS versions may be higher.

Incidentally, I managed to get this working under FreeBSD without any real hassles aside from modifying the line at the top of the file that looks for bash. I even got it to run under Cygwin, though for this I had to go and find a dialog client. It can be found, as I used google to find it.

Enjoy! And do let me know what you think of it. I'm still working ot bits of it, like how to download a large number of documents at once.

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