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rst2pdf 0.13 released!

I've just up­load­ed the 0.13 ver­sion of rst2pdf, a tool to con­vert re­Struc­tured text to PDF us­ing Re­port­lab to http://rst2pdf.­google­code.­com

rst2pdf sup­ports the full reSt syn­tax, works as a sphinx ex­ten­sion, and has many ex­tras like lim­it­ed sup­port for TeX-­less math, SVG im­ages, em­bed­ding frag­ments from PDF doc­u­ments, True Type font em­bed­ding, and much more.

This is a ma­jor ver­sion, and has lots of im­prove­ments over 0.12.3, in­clud­ing but not lim­it­ed to:

  • New TOC code (sup­­ports dots be­tween ti­­tle and page num­ber)

  • New ex­ten­­sion frame­­work

  • New pre­pro­ces­­sor ex­ten­­sion

  • New vec­­tor­pdf ex­ten­­sion

  • Sup­­port for nest­ed stylesheets

  • New head­­er­Sep­a­ra­­tor/­­foot­erSep­a­ra­­tor stylesheet op­­tions

  • Fore­­ground im­age sup­­port (use­­ful for wa­ter­­mark­s)

  • Sup­­port tran­s­­paren­­cy (al­pha chan­nel) when spec­i­­fy­ing col­ors

  • Inkscape ex­ten­­sion for much bet­ter SVG sup­­port

  • Abil­i­­ty to show to­­tal page count in head­­er/­­foot­er

  • New RSON for­­mat for stylesheets (J­­SON su­per­set)

  • Fixed Is­­sue 267: Sup­­port :align: in fig­ures

  • Fixed Is­­sue 174 re­­gres­­sion (In­­den­t­ed lines in line block­­s)

  • Fixed Is­­sue 276: Load stylesheets from strings

  • Fixed Is­­sue 275: Ex­­tra space be­­fore lineblocks

  • Fixed Is­­sue 262: Full sup­­port for Re­­port­lab 2.4

  • Fixed Is­­sue 264: Split­t­ing er­ror in some doc­u­­ments

  • Fixed Is­­sue 261: As­sert er­ror with wor­­daxe

  • Fixed Is­­sue 251: added sup­­port for rst2pdf ex­ten­­sions when us­ing sphinx

  • Fixed Is­­sue 256: ug­­ly crash when us­ing SVG im­ages with­­out SVG sup­­port

  • Fixed Is­­sue 257: sup­­port aafig­ure when us­ing sphinx/pdf­builder

  • In­i­­tial sup­­port for graphviz ex­ten­­sion in pdf­builder

  • Fixed Is­­sue 249: Im­ages dis­­­tort­ed when speci­­fiy­ing width and height

  • Fixed Is­­sue 252: math di­rec­­tive con­flic­t­ed with sphinx

  • Fixed Is­­sue 224: Ta­bles can be left­­/­­cen­ter/right aligned in the page.

  • Fixed Is­­sue 243: Wrong spac­ing for sec­ond para­­graphs in bul­let list­s.

  • Big refac­­tor­ing of the code.

  • Sup­­port for Python 2.4

  • Ful­­ly re­­worked test suit­­e, con­t­in­u­ous in­­te­­gra­­tion site.

  • Op­­tion­al­­ly use SWFtools for PDF im­ages

  • Fixed Is­­sue 231 (S­­marter TTF au­­toem­bed)

  • Fixed Is­­sue 232 (HTML tags in ti­­tle meta­­data)

  • Fixed Is­­sue 247 (print­­ing stylesheet)

Finding a programmer that can program.

If you haven't read Jeff At­wood's Why Can't Pro­gram­mer­s.. Pro­gram? go ahead, then come back.

Now, are you scared enough? Don't be, the prob­lem there is with the hir­ing process.

Yes, there are lots of peo­ple who show up for pro­gram­ming po­si­tions and can't pro­gram. That's not un­usu­al!

It's re­lat­ed to some­thing I read by Joel Spol­sky (a­maz­ing­ly, Jeff At­wood's part­ner in stack­over­flow.­com).

Sup­pose you are a com­pa­ny that tries to hire in the top 1% of pro­gram­mer­s, and have an open po­si­tion.

You get 100 ap­pli­cants. Of those, 99 can't pro­gram. 1 can. You hire him.

Then the com­pa­ny next door needs to do the same thing. They may get 100 ap­pli­can­t. 99 can't pro­gram ... and prob­a­bly 80 of them are the same the pre­vi­ous com­pa­ny re­ject­ed be­fore!

So no, hir­ing the best 1 out of 100 is not a way to get a pro­gram­mer in the top 1% at al­l, that's just sta­tis­tics in­tu­ition get­ting the worse of you.

You don't want to hire in the top 1% of ap­pli­cants, you want to hire in the top 1% of pro­gram­mers. Dif­fer­ent uni­vers­es.

These two things are the two sides of the same coin. 99% of ap­pli­cants are use­less, that's why they are ap­pli­cants, be­cause they can't get a job and they can't get a job be­cause they are use­less as pro­gram­mers.

So, judg­ing pro­gram­mers by the stan­dard of the ap­pli­cants you get is like judg­ing qual­i­ty of a restau­rant by lick­ing its dump­ster.

But now, hav­ing tak­en care of this, how do you find a pro­gram­mer that can ac­tu­al­ly pro­gram?

Easy! Find one that has pro­grams he can show you!

I would nev­er hire a pro­gram­mer that can't show me code. There must be some­thing wrong with him, be­cause pro­gram­mers write pro­grams.

That's just what we do. If we did­n't what kind of pro­gram­mers would we be?

Let's see some ob­vi­ous ob­jec­tions to my ar­gu­men­t:

  1. He wrote code for his pre­vi­ous em­­ploy­er and can't show it.

    So, he did. What else has he writ­ten? Some open source code? Maybe snip­pets in a blog? An­swers in stack­­over­flow?

    Noth­ing? He has writ­ten noth­ing he was not paid to write? He is not who I wan­t. He on­­ly pro­­grams for mon­ey, he lacks pas­­sion for pro­­gram­ming, he does­n't en­joy it. He is prob­a­bly not very good at it.

  2. He is just fin­ish­ing col­lege, he has not writ­ten much code yet!

    Why? What stopped him? He has been learn­ing to pro­­gram for years, what has he done with the knowl­­edge he has been re­­ceiv­ing? Sav­ing it for his 25th brth­­day par­­ty? He has not prac­ticed his craft? Not the pro­­gram­mer I need.

But hav­ing him show you code is not enough, of course. It al­so has to be good code, if you are se­ri­ous about hir­ing ex­cel­lent pro­gram­mer­s.

So here's some bonus cri­te­ri­a:

  1. Check the lan­guages he us­es. If he codes COBOL for plea­­sure, he may or may not be what you wan­t.

  2. Open source == bonus points: it means he is not ashamed of his code, plus it makes his cre­­den­­tials triv­ial to ver­i­­fy.

  3. If he leads a project with mul­ti­­ple con­trib­u­­tors and does a good job he is half way to be­­com­ing a pro­­gram­mer/­­man­ager, so huge bonus points.

  4. Projects with long com­mit his­­to­ries show re­spon­s­a­bil­i­­ty and a lev­­el head.

  5. De­vel­op­­ment mail­ing lists let you gauge his per­­son­al­i­­ty. Is he abra­­sive? Is he thin-skinned? Is he an­noy­ing?

Then there's the ob­vi­ous stuff, ref­er­ences from pre­vi­ous em­ploy­er­s, in­ter­views, ex­er­cis­es, an such. But those are the least im­por­tant fil­ter­s, the most im­por­tant thing is that he must be able to code. And show­ing you his code is the way to do it.

Hacked on kuatia for a couple of hours...

As men­tioned pre­vi­ous­ly, I am hack­ing a bit on a proof-of-­con­cept word pro­ces­sor. Right now, it's host­ed on google­code and called ku­a­tia.

Now, it is far from be­ing use­ful for any­thing, but... it can do nest­ed item­ized and bul­let­ed list­s.

Here's a scree­nie of the ed­i­tor and the PDF out­put it pro­duces via re­Struc­tured Text:


Per­son­al­ly I think that's not too bad.

Marave 0.7 released

I just up­load­ed ver­sion 0.7 of Mar­ave, my fullscreen text ed­i­tor to http://­mar­ave.­google­code.­com

Mar­ave is a "re­lax­ing" text ed­i­tor in­spired by ommwriter, Dark­Room and many oth­er­s. It com­bines a spar­tan fullscreen UI with a van­ish­ing UI, which gets out of the way of your tex­t.

It sup­ports syn­tax high­light­ing, inine spellcheck­ing, back­ground mu­sic, au­di­ble key­board feed­back, themes, is ex­ten­si­ble via plu­g­in­s, and much more.

Here's a screen­shot:


There are no ma­jor new fea­tures in 0.7, but there are im­por­tant in­ter­nal changes and some ma­jor bugs fixed:

  • Fixed bug that broke open­ing files if you had no spellcheck­­er

  • Im­­ple­­men­t­ed ba­sic RTL lan­guage sup­­port

  • Sev­er­al oth­­er mi­nor fix­es

  • Refac­­tored the ed­i­­tor com­po­­nent so it can be reused

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