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Taking a PDF library Open Source

by gwhite (Friar)
on Mar 07, 2012 at 14:52 UTC ( #958299=perlquestion: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??
gwhite has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Several years ago I bought the source code and rights to a very flexible PDF library written in Perl for Perl programmers. The nice thing about it is that you can create the PDF file programatically, or you can create a specially formatted XML file and shoot that through and create a PDF. It will also create PDF forms.

A couple of programmers, much better than I, have looked at the code and declared it was poorly written. While that may be the case, it does what it is supposed to do. I am considering throwing it out as open source and hoping that some talented coders might adopt it and clean it up. But I need to figure out; if Perl programmers need this sort of library. If anybody is interested in working on it. Is there a checklist or process to follow to make this open source?

**UPDATE**

Created a github site for the initial cleanup and organizing to add into CPAN once namespace is resolved/approved. Perl-PDF-LIbrary (LI is capitalized as a shout out to the original programmer Joey Li)

Looking for any and all help, need some help with the POD, graphic handling, text flow, test scripts and if anyone has done this kind of thing before a mentor to help me roadmap and manage the project.

g_White

Comment on Taking a PDF library Open Source
Re: Taking a PDF library Open Source
by Eliya (Vicar) on Mar 07, 2012 at 15:01 UTC
    But I need to figure out; if Perl programmers need this sort of library.

    That probably at least in part depends on what it does that isn't already supported by other Perl PDF libs, such as PDF::API2.  Maybe it's worth integrating efforts, rather than publishing another lib with (likely) mostly overlapping functionality.

    Other than that, if you own the rights, why not just do open source it, and let software evolution dynamics decide on its future?

      Yes, it does things that PDF::API2 does not, the XML, the forms and it is well documented.

      The reason I don't want to just throw it into open source is that I don't want to take resources that might be better served on a project that more people want, or that already has a head of steam. Maybe that is over thinking it.

      g_White

        I understand the concerns, but I think it's generally hard to predict whether open sourcing something will result in an unproductive division of resources (man power of volunteers), or whether it will ultimately be beneficial, e.g. by promoting positive competition, by making it possible to merge functionalities, or by simply having two good libs being developed independently... (like there are many good text editors or scripting languages out there, with each having their fan base).

        So I'm not really sure what to advise, in particular as I don't even yet know the library in any reasonable detail...

      Other than that, if you own the rights, why not just do open source it, and let software evolution dynamics decide on its future?
      Hear, Hear. I don't know of any way to a priori predict that unforeseen use an inventive User will put a piece of code, once it gets into the wild. Open source it, make it easy for folks to help clean it up and/or extend it an sit back and watch.

      If we meet up at a Conference some time, ask me about "The company E-Mail system and three units of O+ blood at 0245 out on US 101...."

      ----
      I Go Back to Sleep, Now.

      OGB

Re: Taking a PDF library Open Source
by kcott (Abbot) on Mar 07, 2012 at 15:24 UTC
    Is there a checklist or process to follow to make this open source?

    If you make this open source via CPAN, the checklist you're after is provided on this PAUSE (Perl Authors Upload Server) page.

    -- Ken

Re: Taking a PDF library Open Source
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 07, 2012 at 15:37 UTC
    If you've been told it's poor quality, put it up on github first. If you get people willing to contribute, put it up on CPAN later.

      From a library point of view, I find it of tremendous quality, it has documentation and it does what it says it will do.

      From a coders point of view, it doesn't use strict, has some global space pollution

      I am not familiar with github and will look into it.

      g_White
        It sounds like it might be useful for a side project I'm starting -- the XML to PDF conversion is appealing, and I'd at least look at it, likely use it, and be willing to take a shot at contributing to it. I'm mostly interested in being able to generate nice looking eBooks that would be generated by mostly non-technical people (which is why I'm interested in the XML). There are various open source things out there for editing and generating eBooks, but even the relatively mature ones seem fairly limited.
        From a coders point of view, it doesn't use strict, has some global space pollution
        For a user of the functionality, whether it uses strict or not, is completely irrelevant. In the same way, I don't care whether the truck driver supplying the supermarket I shop at wore a seat belt or not. It's better for his safety, but it doesn't make my peanut butter any smoother.

        Global space pollution can be an annoyance, but that doesn't mean it will eliminate all the usefulness.

Re: Taking a PDF library Open Source
by james2vegas (Chaplain) on Mar 08, 2012 at 07:37 UTC
    PDF::Boxer also works with its own XML format to generate PDFs

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