March 16th, 2012

Hijinks Ensue

Software Naming

For Odyssey 2010, watervole designed the convention programme using sugoll's excellent progdb system. It's a great tool for organising a convention but it doesn't by itself create the kind of nicely-formatted outputs that you want to print in a convention's README. I was doing Publications that year and I invested a lot of time writing a piece of software to do just that.

Because its initial purpose was simply to read data from ProgDB and automatically produce output suitable for inclusion in a README, I called it progdb_to_readme. This was a rubbish name to start with and got less appropriate as I extended the program to produce other kinds of output, including an iCalendar file and various reports. It didn't matter too much for Odyssey because progdb_to_readme lived only in my computer - I ran the program when I wanted to generate the various outputs and emailed the results off to other people.

Now steverogerson is using ProgDB to design the programme for Olympus 2012[1] and cobrabay is doing Publications, so I've been asked to supply them with progdb_to_readme. I've spent the past few days dealing with a few new feature requests and designing a GUI to make it easier to use, and my next job is to work out how to go from a NetBeans Java project to a distributable application package[2].

I've been thinking though, that if I'm ever going to come up with a better name for the program, now is the time to do it. Any suggestions?

Update: in the absence of any better ideas, I've decided to call it ConText.

[1] I wonder what Illustrious 2011 did? I thought they were using ProgDB but there was a lot of last minute confusion about the programme and nobody contacted me to ask about progdb_to_readme, so I assume they designed the publications manually.
[2] OSX first because that's what I'm using, but it should be easily portable to any platform that has OpenOffice and Java.