2008-02-14

Rant and thanks

This day has been a total waste, but there's still time to save it. Apart from having a big run-in with some flu I've been working on my PDF generating code in Ruby (and Rails) using PDF::Writer. First I got frustrated becuase PDF::Writer didn't import my PNG images I had exported. And I just could not find anywhere what specs to use to make my PNGs PDF::Writer compatible. I then decided to bother the original author, Austin, which was a bit of a blunder, becuase he's a) not maintaining PDF::Writer anymore, and b) very busy. Sorry for bothering you, Austin, but thanks very much for taking time to reply to my email (I doubt I would have got that from a huge software house).
Sadly, I got even more frustrated (whilst waiting for Austin's reply) as I confirmed that I was unable to use any other colour than grey once I had used it for the first time. Lemme explain; I create a header in a PDF, and then a footer. I want the footer (or header) to be grey. But once a grey text has been written, all subsequent elements are grey - within the loose objects, and loose objects are objects that you can place on all pages, such as a logo, or a header/footer. I spent a long time trying to a) pinpoint the problem, b) work around it. To no avail.
After Austin had replied to me I started bothering the guys on the PDF-Writer Google Groups, including the current maintainer, Greg. I posted about my two problems (acutally three). To my surprise Greg acknowledged my post immediately, so now I know that help is far from impossible. I have since 'polished' my problem, so that it's easier to spot.
What annoys me is that the documentation is quite sparse, and there seems to be little information out there, but at the same time, I feel much more joy that I'm dealing with real people here, people that a) have email address', b) actually bother reading their email and c) fantastically reply to the emails. This gives me great hope as I believe that these guys can actually fix this problem, and hopefully by posting the problems to public forums and lists (as opposed to internal big-corporate Notes/Exchanges) someone else will benefit from this, and thus negating my statement about my day being wasted. Ain't OpenSource cute!?! :)
Either way, I think my work-energy is depleted for today, so I'm going to wiggle out to the garage and work on my bike. I'll get a mug of anti-flu stuff, and perhaps a whiskey to kill off the germs too... ;)

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