Packing/Unpacking ODFs: Now Automated

I do lots of automated ODF rendering using framework data from AOW, Snap and Django. Its a pain to keep it straight, so I’m slowly extracting the common bits. The most annoying and easiest to distill is the basic process of guarding against clobbering something else in the filesystem, getting all the files out, reformatting the XML to be easier to edit, and later repacking it in a way that doesn’t make an office program tell you “This file is screwed up — I can fix it, but I hate you”.

Here is a script that handles the packing and unpacking of ODFs in a more friendly way than having to remember how all the time: ODFapper-0.01.bz2.

It takes very few options because it is written against my most common use case: unpacking to touch up a template, render the marked-up content.xml (and add images, or whatever) and then repack it to a new location from within a framework. In other words, ODFs can be used identically to HTML page rendering.

This is just a tiny part of what I do with ODFs, but it covers the most common bits (in particular, all that checking that a framework isn’t clobbering something in the filesystem), and answers the most frequent question I get from people who are curious about how I render ODFs: how to make them palatable to LibreOffice later.

I’ll eventually pull the rest of the render/repack ODF process out of my various programs that already do that and maybe make a for-real project of ODFapper. But that takes time, for now if you want an easy way to pack/unpack ODFs without screwing them up feel free to incorporate this script in whatever you’re doing. If you are a Bash wizard with suggestions, of course, I’m all ears…

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