I did a little revision this weekend and added the ability to add your own resources to the IE Toolbar for our library. I’ll be implementing this code for Firefox as well so that I can keep compatibility between the two browsers. Here’s an image:
However, something I’m considering doing — and have actually started — is generating a project that will let you essentially compile your own toolbars from this codebase. Essentially, this program uses a XML file and builds its menus dynamically. I’m thinking that with an interface to facility image placement and menu building — anyone could take this program and generate a toolbar for their own libraries. I’m not sure if there is interest for this type of thing, but at least on the IE side, this type of customization would be trivial at this point and save everyone else the headache of trying to build their own toolbars. I’ll think on it — but if anyone thinks this idea has merit, let me know.
I need to still build an installation for this project, but I completed the IE toolbar for our library. Its a little different than the Firefox version, but not that different. The biggest thing left todo is getting some kindof automatic updating mechanism to work. Anyway, here is a screenshot of the toolbar as it stands now:
Ok — this is a biggie — not in terms of new stuff, but fixing something that didn’t quite work right. The MarcEditor — a notepad for MARC records — works fine as is but doesn’t allow you to load files as large as the MarcEdit 4.6 generation. In 4.6, you could load files as large as your virtual memory would allow — so I’d openned files as large as 500 mb in the 4.6 editor. However, in 5.0, the editor was limited to about 25 MB if you wanted to do any work on the files. Well, no longer. I’ve been reading the Microsoft .NET SDK — and the problem that I’m running into is that UTF-8 is not a native format on Windows. Windows uses UTF-16 and supports UTF-8 as a codepage modifier. Anyway, I’ve done some work, some reading and believe I have this issue corrected. I’ve spent the last four days, loading, saving, editing files over 250 MB in size and have been able to work with them in the new 5.0 interface. This is great news since this was one of the major obsticles in moving this out of beta.
The new download can be found at: MarcEdit50_Setup.exe.
So Sunday, I drove to the breeders and picked up our puppy, Goldie (Kenny named her). She’s been a lot of fun, as well as a ball of energy. Kenny lovers her and Nathan is quite sure what to make of her. He wants to pet her, but isn’t too happy at this point with the puppy love (all the jumping and licking). I figure we need to give them both a few weeks to get use to each other and then they will be fast friends. Anyway, here are a few pictures from yesterday.
I love simple technologies. I was asked recently how difficult it would be to build a toolbar to search our library’s resources for Firefox and IE. The answer — it took about an 1 1/2 to build the firefox toolbar (see:
Click for the full image:
that included a simple search interface to a number of our libraries digital assets. But what I loved was how easy it was to create. Essentially, it was 3 rdf files and 2 xul files (though that will increase as I add complexity to the interface) but no compiled code. This is how extensions should be allowed to be written. I’ve written tool bars for IE before and its not quite as enjoyable. Fortunately, its one of those things that once you’ve done once, you don’t have to really struggle through again.
Anyway, for those interested, the firefox extension is: here if you’re interested. Right now, some faculty are giving it a run through and figuring out if this is something that the library will want to utilize and support in the near future. For my part, I’m thinking that I’ll post a simple tutorial on the creation of both the Firefox and IE toolbars and how someone could take the code to do something like this as well at their institutions.
Other enhancements — I’m considering the following:
1) Integrating Wikipedia into the tool as a search option an as a smart tag analyser
2) I’m considering integrating the extension code in the Openly openurl extension into this tool — or at least parts of it so that we can provide our students with OpenURL support in an autodiscovery sort of way.
3) I’ll be adding options so that users can specify their own search resources in addition to those that come with the tool.
Whether I’ll be able to get the same functionality in IE — probably but I doubt it will be as trivial as implementing most of these options in Firefox.
Well, well…after working with the SRU client on servers not from the Library of Congress — I’ve realized that I didn’t propery setup my internal stylesheets to handle servers that excluded namespaces. I also realized that outside of the Library of Congress, I couldn’t find another SRU server that supported the bath profile — however — all supported the dublin core search profiles. So, I’ve placed the ability to configure the search profile by database. The only caveots is that there is no dc index for issn, isbn or keyword — so all these items default to a title search. Also, a record number search will query the identifier index. I’m not sure if I’ve got it completely right this time around — but after testing a handful of SRU servers, this is working so hopefully this will play out as I test additional SRU servers.
Anyway, I’ve posted the refreshed build at: MarcEdit50_Setup.exe.
I’ve posted a revision to the MarcEdit 5.0 beta. (Download here. New stuff — the Z39.50/SRU client has been completed. Also, I’ve made some changes to the global MarcEditor functions to provide deduping and better swapping functionality. Also, for those interested in knowing — I downloaded .NET 2.0 to test on a machine and can report that it corrects an issue with one of the .NET components that I’d been seeing in the RichTextBox component. This component is used in the MarcEditor and would crash when loading files over 125 MB. It was a known bug in the .NET 1.1 framework and something that has been corrected in the 2.0 version.
On an unrelated note, I’m going to be completing a lot of stuff over the week of thanksgiving (I’m taking it off to work just on the help docs and setting up the language files to reflect changes to the program) so I’ll try to provide uploads as I complete new stuff — but for sure — I’ll be uploading a refreshed build with enhanced documentation (crossing my fingers) after the holidays.