July 12, 2005

Automating tasks (such as indexing) in your WP

Danny at deinde.org started a discussion about creating a scripture index. As a Reasearch Assistant for a rather prolific book-publishing scholar, I was responsible for the scripture index for a handful of texts (such as Boring, Berger, Colpe, The Hellenistic Commentary of the New Testament). Since we were consistent in reference form through the book, it became more and more refined of a process. A search would find simple verse references such as "v." and "vv." and then those are given full form citations like "John 1:2". I had little routines written for each step and then in the end it would all just run and Voila!
I mostly accomplished it with VBA in Word. It's been a couple years, and it'd take a long time to dig the code up again and try and get it ready for anyone to use it.

Through my dealings with getting books in order for the publisher, I was always astounded by how "behind the times" they were. They couldn't open this format. Or, they wouldn't know what a macro was if it jumped up and bit them. I know of entire bible software modules prepared by staff who don't even know perl!! I can't imagine paying someone to do text preparation who can't use the most standard text manipulation tool. It confounds me, really.

This is the reason that I can not use Mellel, and that Word is still the superior WP for real work. The lack of a script or macro facility is simply non-overlook-able/inexcuseable. I'll stop making up words now.

1 comment:

R. Mansfield said...

Regarding your last paragraph... I've really tried to like Mellel. But it just has enough things not there to annoy me. I'm still using Word. However, I bought Mellel with Bookends and Bookends seems to definitely be a keeper, and fortunately it will work with Word.

The only thing on the Windows side of computing that ever makes me slightly envious as a Mac user is Nota Bene. However, it's not enough to make me want to deal with the hassle of running a Windows machine.

I had been hoping that a Mellel/Bookends/Accordance combination would have been parallel with whtat Nota Bene seems to be able to do, but evidently not yet. Maybe one day.