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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Reading List Management Software Updated

The Fourmilab reading list document tree is generated automatically from source documents kept as flat text files in a format similar to that of a Movable Type blog export file. These files are read by a Perl program called rlmake.pl which generates HTML files for the Web tree and compiles the various indices through which the list may be accessed (most recent, by year, month, topic, author, and title). The reading list management software is available for downloading and may be used in any manner you wish, but is utterly unsupported—you're entirely on your own. The Perl code will probably run with no problems on any system with a recent version of Perl (no external modules are required), but you will have to customise it to adapt to the document structure of your Web site and include your own personal data.

I have just posted an updated version of this software which adds two minor navigation features. When a reading list grows to substantial size (my list, begun in January 2001, now numbers 1173 books), scrolling through the lengthy author (975 authors) and title indices to find what you're looking for can be tedious. The update adds a JavaScript-implemented “hot key” navigation feature when displaying these indices. Simply move the mouse to the index window (it's in the side bar for authors and the main browser window for titles), click if necessary to set focus, and then type the first letter of the author or title you seek. The list will be scrolled so that entries which begin with that letter appear at the top of the window. You can then scroll down through the entries that start with the letter you typed. This probably won't work on a touch-screen mobile device unless you can figure out how to display the on-screen keyboard.

I've also cleaned up the Perl program a bit, but it's still plenty ugly.

Posted at July 7, 2019 12:36