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From: Michael D. Crawford (crawford_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-06-12 09:26:26

Dave wrote:

>Is Mr. Green ever going to document his library?
>It had the same problem when it first appeared many years ago... no
>documentation (AFAICT)!
>I notice he doesn't seem to think it's a high priority; I don't see it
>mentioned at

No, I am going to document his library!
Part of the deal where Andy gave me the use of his code a year before he
open-sourced it was that I was supposed to write a programmer's manual for it.
However, Andy wanted it done in DocBook, for lots of good reasons, and I had a
really hard time figuring out how to use DocBook.  Not so much learning the
tags, as how to keep my files valid, and how to format them into HTML and PDF
using open source tools.  One of DocBook's really weak spots is that it is very
intimidating for the newbie to do anything with it.
But I finally figured it out, and the first couple chapters of The ZooLib
Cookbook can be found at:
The XML source to the cookbook is checked in to CVS.  I have placed the cookbook
under the GNU Free Documentation License.
There's not yet very much, as the dot-com crash forced me to put a lot of extra
effort into staying employed and prevented me from contributing to open source
as much as I would like.  But things are much better now and I am able to work
on the cookbook fairly regularly.
The cookbook is a tutorial, basically each chapter will explain the source code
of one of the demo programs and introduce a few new concepts.
I felt that starting with a tutorial rather than a reference manual was best
because we do provide the framework source and sample client code, so that the
quickest way to help people get started was to write a tutorial - once you have
that it is pretty easy to understand how to use it from the framework and demo
I do plan to write a reference manual though.  And Andy has been adding Doxygen
comments to the source that's in CVS.  (Doxygen is like Javadoc but for C++,
Java, C and IDL - specially marked-up comments are extracted from the source to
create API documentation.  Doxygen also transforms the source into a hyperlinked
HTML class browser kind of thing - ).
We haven't made a formal release of ZooLib in a year and a half.  I suggested to
Andy recently that we should prepare for another release soon.  When we do,
there will be more demo code, there will be the cookbook included (and more of
it written) and I'll post the Doxygen output on the website at sourceforge so
you can browse it online.
Some of the stuff mentioned in "future.html" has been done, for example there is
a new resource format that uses a tool called the ZAsset Compiler that bundles
things like GUI graphics and strings in a format that's identical for each
platform and allows much more flexible use than the old platform-specific
resources.  The ZAssets also allow override files so users can install
localization resources without having to recompile the program.
Some work has been done to make it build with MS Visual C++.  I've also
experimented with building it with g++ under Cygwin, but I haven't got that to
work yet.
Michael D. Crawford
GoingWare Inc. - Expert Software Development and Consulting
    Tilting at Windmills for a Better Tomorrow.

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