This week I made another long term goal of my blog with the addition of
Brian’s Useful Utilities Set. The page has
descriptions and source code for about two dozen utility program I’ve written
and make use of on almost a weekly basis.
Setting up the page was not without its complications. Due to the way the blog
software (nikola) works, I need to maintain a separate copy of the source
files in a subdirectory named
listings. But I didn’t want the overhead of
having to update the listings directory any time I made a change to one of the
My solution was to save SHA1 checksums of the original scripts in a file. As
part of building the blog, a script runs that computes the current checksums of
the source files and compares them with the stored values. If any are different
the script copies the new file into place and updates the checksum.
Then another issue arose. I prefer to indent all my programs using tabs at four
space intervals. Howver, the nikola program that generates colour highlighted
HTML versions of the source files expands tabs on eight spaces. (The Nikola
configuration doesn’t have a setting for this, and I haven’t bothered digging
into the code to see if there’s an easy workaround.)
My initial fix was to modify the files as stored in the
listings directory to
use only spaces. But that caused another problem. Each colourised HTML page
includes a link to download the original source file in the
directory—which gives the user the version that has tabs converted to spaces.
But I wanted to make available the version that uses tabs.
So I made another change to the blog build script. Now it initially stores the
files with tabs conterted to spaces in the
listings direcotry so the
highlighter script can generate HTML showing the correct spacing. Once that’s
done, I replace the files in
listings with original (with tabs) versions.