Behind the RCV: Software and Utilities Used in Making the RCV Project
Published: Fri, 14 Sep 2018
This article will be a little different than the other articles I have written on the RCV website. In this article I want to highlight the software and utilities I have used throughout the existence of the RCV project. There are several applications I use on the RCV project, yet they all have one thing in common: they are free and open source. I will categorize the applications by the particular aspect of the RCV in which they were used.
LibreOffice - LibreOffice is an open source office suite, similar to Microsoft Office. The source files for the print versions and the digital PDF of the RCV were created in LibreOffice. All edits are made in LibreOffice and then exported to the various PDF formats for print and digital distribution.
PDFjam - PDFjam is a utility I use to scale the PDF files to the needed page size for printing.
ePub and MOBI Files
Sigil - Sigil is the software I used to create and continue to use to maintain the ePub version of the RCV.
Python - Let's just say that without Python, creating the new RCV website would have been an incredibly long process. The new RCV website has over 1,700 pages and files associated with it. I didn't write them all by hand. I wrote Python scripts to get the needed text from either a source file on my computer or a page on the old RCV website and put it in an HTML template file I created for the new website. I also have a Python script that publishes new articles, like this one, for me after I have written the article content. Python is a powerful programming language.
GIMP - GIMP is used to make all graphics associated with the RCV project. GIMP is an image manipulation program very similar to Adobe Photoshop.
Xubuntu - All of this software has to have an operating system to run. Linux is the choice when it comes to my computers. Linux comes in many flavors, and the one I prefer is Xubuntu, a variant of Ubuntu. Linux comes packed with a host of command line utilities that make my life a lot easier when it comes to maintaining the RCV website files. For intance, I use the sed utility to do text replacements, find allows me to make changes across multiple or all files, and grep helps me to find text patterns.
As you can see, it takes a lot of software to do what I do for the RCV project. I also have to thank all of the developers of the above mentioned software, not only for developing the software, but also for making the software free for all to use. I can honestly say that without open source software, the RCV project would not be where it is today. I just wanted to take a moment to give tribute to the software and utilities behind the RCV project.