May 20, 2004

my tools too

a few days ago, sean c. blogged about the tools he was using, which finally prompted me to blog this "me too tools". the g11n world is slightly different in that a "tool" is more often than not a place to find information than a chunk of software. with that in mind here's my tool list too:
  • icu4j: i literally couldn't do g11n work without this java library. while much of its pioneering i18n functionality has been absorbed into the java core, it still offers hard/impossible-to-duplicate functionality like non-gregorian calendars, holidays & super-sized collations. it is the bee's knees of i18n s/w. and of course, its free.
  • unicode: after watching folks' codepage encoding antics in the user forums, what can i say, just use unicode ©.
  • Common Locale Data Repository: while still in beta, the CLDR is going to be the locale reference. it was thought to be so important that its maintainence was handed-off to the unicode organization by the openi18n org. need to know the currency used in Thailand? short weekday names used Turkish? writing system direction in Afghanistan? this repository is the place to look first. all the info is contained in an XML file per locale (not that i enjoy parsing XML files but i can put up with that chore for the goldmine of locale info it provides).
  • rbManager: if you do g11n work, you build resource bundles (well you should be doing this anyway). if you build resource bundles (rb), then you need a tool. i've looked at and played around with a bunch of rb tools & still haven't found anything as easy to use or as sophisticated as rbmanager, the price (free) is pretty good too. i18nEdit gets an honorable mention for its nifty unicode char picker for those days when you're too lazy to load another locale.
  • SC UniPad: need a unicode text editor that can handle inuktitut and brail at the sametime? look no futher than the plenty fine SC UniPad. i get a kick out of just using it. also a nice tool to double check rb files.
  • unifier: if you have to batch convert text/html docs from codepage encodings to unicode (and who doesn't) this will probably be the best 15 bucks you'll ever spend.
  • javaInetLocator: i built my geoLocator CFC around nigel wetter's javainetlocator class. if you need to know the country and locale of a user (well their IP anyway), this is probably the best non-commercial tool around (and i can say its probably better than many commercial ones i've looked). its fast (i have another geoLocator tool built around db-based IP range queries and nigel's class beats the pants & socks off of it) and free.
  • iText: i've used this java library quite a bit to burn PDFs. it offers really fine control that we often need (municipal tax receipts for instance) & is a piece of cake to use.
  • cfstudio 5: what can i say, i'm old and in the way. while my colleagues laugh that i still use this "antique", i keep remnding them that muscle memory means more and more as you get older (i've literally pounded the alt f & s keys off of several keyboards over the years while i still have the same industrial-strength ms mouse for almost 10 years). and nope, no reference as i couldn't for the life of me tell you where to buy this these days. that said, i'm trying to give cfEclipse a fair trail (it would help a whole bunch though if it had better docs, hint hint spike).
  • java i18n forums: while i don't spend much time there these days, these forums are still a valuable i18n info source. if you do serious i18n work with cf, you know you have to dip down into java quite a bit and if you get stumped as much as i did, these forums are often a life saver. another good java library/info site is of course IBM's developer works. just a for instance, i wanted to learn how to do i18n string searchs & "Efficient text searching in java" turns up (yes that article is a bit dated).
  • books-on-line (BoL): i do a lot of work with ms sql server (frankly i prefer it) and the BoL has come to be my constant companion (my cat neutron uses the pile of sql books i've bought over the years as a spot to cat nap--speaking of cats i still get a great kick out of the my cat hates you site). you really can't to better than this for an ms sql server reference.


At 5/21/2004 5:38 AM, Blogger Spike said...

Hi Paul,

What would you like to see in the docs?


At 5/21/2004 1:57 PM, Blogger PaulH said...

not sure how these new blogspot comments work (ie will an email be sent to spike) but here goes:

well for starters, a walk thru on its use in a normal coding situation--ie not importing cfm files, etc. but actually coding a page or CFC. it seems the info's there but only you guys working on the project actually know how to make this thing fly.

explaining how to do all that stuff that geoff blogged about would also be nice.


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