BibTeX / Bibutils export woes

2009-02-09
2013-05-28
  • Peter Roosen

    Peter Roosen - 2009-02-09

    Hello to all,

    after some digging into this forum and cited malfunction references therein I found the cause of my bibutils related export problems: A lacking "/" at the end of the bibutils location path.

    I do not remember to be warned at the time of the installation and assume that quite a lot of other people may have hit upon the same problem. Therefore I'd suggest for a forhcoming release that the "/" problem is solved by an automatism: I believe there will be no circumstance where the "/" is not required in the respective setting, so it would be sensible to set it automatically if the installing user has not given it upon request. Producing a warning if that happens would be IMHO more appropriate than leaving the user's entry alone and malfunction silently afterwards.

    Kind regards,

    Peter

     
    • Matthias Steffens

      Hi Peter, sorry for the late reply.

      > after some digging into this forum and cited malfunction references
      > therein I found the cause of my bibutils related export problems: A
      > lacking "/" at the end of the bibutils location path.

      Sorry you were facing trouble. Several people have been trapped by that (omitting a slash at the end of a refbase path or URL spec), so I guess we should finally do something about it.

      > I do not remember to be warned at the time of the installation and
      > assume that quite a lot of other people may have hit upon the same
      > problem.

      AFAIK, all the relevant documentation & code comments as well as the web installer state clearly that given paths must end with slash. See for example the notes next to the "Path to the Bibutils directory" field in the web install form:

      http://beta.refbase.net/install.php

      However, I think we cannot really expect people to read this. At least, experience shows that this information can be easily overlooked. And, yes, of course it would be better to append a missing slash programmatically.

      In my local development version, I've now added a simple function to 'includes/include.inc.php' which ensures that the given paths/URLs end with a slash ('/'). OMM, this seems to work fine for the variables '$databaseBaseURL', '$filesBaseDir' and '$filesBaseURL'. I'll also try to hook it into the Bibutils location path spec.

      That said, I'm not sure whether a separate path separator should be used on Windows. A looong time ago, we've had quite a few discussions around this topic. I vaguely remember that in PHP, the forward-slash ('/') can be also used on Windows but I'm not sure/forgot whether this is true for all Win systems. Can anyone here corroborate this? Unfortunately, I've got no Windows machine for testing, so I'd need some help to get this any further.

      Thanks!

      Matthias

       
      • Peter Roosen

        Peter Roosen - 2009-02-17

        Hello Matthias,

        well, if there is a definite syntax ("use with /") it would be most sensible to do some auto-magic. Users tend to read the instructions only in case of problems, which is not the worst approach IMHO.  :-)

        >That said, I'm not sure whether a separate path separator should be used on Windows.

        In my notion the path separator is usually introduced as a system dependent variable, either as "/" or as "\", depending on the OS previously detected.

        Kind regards,

        Peter

         

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