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DocBook XML to PDF on Debian Lenny

by Sander Marechal

I have recently been writing some documentation in DocBook XML format that I wanted to convert to PDF. Debian has a really useful package called xmlto that you can use for this, but it did not work for me. The xmlto tool converts DocBook to PDF through LaTeX and I was getting all kinds of errors. Instead I opted to use the DocBook-XSL stylesheets to convert DocBook to fo and use Apache fop to convert it to PDF.

DocBook-XSL and Apache fop work wonderfully well but there were a couple of bumps that I had to sort out before everything worked as it should, especially regarding the Java setup and getting images to work correctly. Here is how I set up my DocBook toolchain on Debian Lenny.

Build custom SugarCRM modules in Subversion

by Sander Marechal

In “Keeping SugarCRM under Subversion control” I showed you how I maintain the base SugarCRM in the face of changes to the core code. The setup described in that article allows me to make changes to the core code without running into (too much) trouble when SugarCRM ships a new version. It does have one downside: You cannot use Studio to make any changes. Instead, I keep all my customization work in a separate installable package, together with any custom modules I develop.

In this article I will show you how I develop my custom modules, how I keep them in Subversion and how they work together with the base SugarCRM from the previous article.

Keeping SugarCRM under Subversion control

by Sander Marechal

I have been mulling a long time how I am going to keep track of SugarCRM, the custom modules I build and and changes to the core code that I need to make. The latter is sometimes unavoidable because some functionality cannot be built any other way. Also, sometimes you run into a bug that you need to fix, but you cannot wait for the next Sugar release. Of course, all of this needs to be done in a way that is easy for developers to work with. I think I have finally found a way that is workable and keeps everything under version control.

I will present my workflow in two articles. This article shows you how I keep SugarCRM itself under version control, how I deal with deployment and how I do upgrades in the face of changes to the core code. In “Build custom SugarCRM modules in Subversion” I will present how my custom modules—which are also under version control—fit into this system. Hat-tip to Leonid Mamchenkov for his work and insights.

How to install Tracks on Debian Lenny with Apache mod_fcgid

by Sander Marechal

I have recently read Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. My geek life is the usual “too much to do in so little time” and I keep forgetting all kinds of important stuff. I saw a lot of FOSS sites covering GTD in the past few months so I decided to give it a go, read the book and play with all kinds of software. I quickly came across Tracks, a nice looking GTD application to manage your actions.

Unfortnately it's written in Ruby on Rails which can be a bit of a pain to set up under Linux, especially if you want to use Apache as the webserver instead of the built-in WEBrick server. I'm already running Apache on my server and I didn't feel like running a second webserver on a different, non-standard port just for this one app. It took me quite a bit of time to piece it all together, but here’s how I set up Tracks in Debian Lenny.

Easily develop and deploy web applications from subversion

by Sander Marechal

Updated 2008-28-10. Proper version control is a must for everyone who programs more than a few lines of code. Even if you develop your applications all by yourself it is very handy to be able to branch and merge your code, be able to roll back to previous versions or undo changes you made in the past. It works great for regular applications, but managing web applications or websites is a tad harder for two reason: You need a webserver to get your application going and you usually have to manage database revisions as well.

Keeping database revisions in sync with your code revisions is a complex subject that I will leave until another time. In this article I will show you how you can configure your own computer or development server in such a way that checking out or deploying a web application is just as easy as any other piece of code.

First I will show you how to configure Apache on your development server so that it picks up your checked out working copies as separate subdomains. Using this, you can simply make a checkout of your project and it will automagically be up and running. No need to touch the Apache configuration. After that I will show you how to use dnsmasq so you can achieve the same effect on your own development machine. That way you can develop your web applications locally and you won't need a central development server. In my examples I will be assuming you use subversion for your version control, but it works virtually the same with other version control packages, such as git or bazaar.

Apache and Subversion authentication with Microsoft Active Directory

by Sander Marechal

Last updated on 2009-02-16@22:43. The company I work for had finally realized the benefits of a decent source code versioning system so after a short evaluation they settled on Subversion. To make user management easier they also wanted to use Microsoft Active Directory, so I set off on a quest to make Apache talk to our Active Directory 2003 server for authentication.

In this article I will explain how to set up Apache 2 on Debian Etch and make it talk to an Active Directory 2003 server. After that I will show you how to setup Subversion and use LDAP groups to control access to multiple subversion repositories. After I rant a bit about my two-day nightmare with Active Directory that is…