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Hello! :-)[edit]

I Created the User:Reprintmaker4u to keep all related ref.desk activity and project conversations together, under one name, in the same place.

(The implementation of this project will, of course, be moved to somewhere else before the actual coding begins. But a lot of the WP:RX'ers would surely love the completed result of this project and also because a lot of the potential users for this undoubtedly helpful research tool, will not be computer programmers themselves, while they will highly likely be comparatively frequent wikipedia users, then a Wikipedia user page, like this one (Or rather the accompanying talk page), will be a good place to start discussing the project).

What the project is about[edit]

I do not program java applets myself, but I am considering paying a decent enough ammount of money to get a project started that will make a java applet named: "Reprintmaker4u.jar". In the beginning it will be (only) freeware, gratis, but still proprietary software (see why below). Later on (from version 1.4 and onward) it will be both Free and open source software and Copyleft.

What the Reprintmaker4u.jar application is intended to do[edit]

Reprintmaker4u.jar will be a java application (an applet) that is just as easy to use as:

Making a photocopy of a text found at your library, stapling it together and handing it over to the one who asked for it.

and it will do the same, exept for that it will use a computer with a desktop scanner (or a combined device) instead of a plain photocopier; and that the result will be a PDF-file instead of a paper copy; and that the "handing over" will be done by attaching the PDF to an email.

A (largely unfinished) program specification:

  1. The intended primary use of the applet Reprintmaker4u.jar, is to send it as an attachment along with an emailed "reprint" request to a librarian or a published scientist, far away, asking for a copy of some old research paper of his/hers, dating back from the days before electronic publishing.
  2. Everything, including current preferences settings, all the installed program interface translations and all documentation, will be stored in a single .JAR file: Reprintmaker4u.jar, that will be as small as possible, to make it all hassle-free to send it around by email.
  3. It will be useable both as an embedded object on a web page, and as a stand alone application (i.e. not requiring a web browser).
  4. The application will have a no-nonsense graphical user interface, with large enough fonts and be intuitive enough to be useable by any six-year-old kid, or any grandmother, that has an email account — without even requiring her to put her reading glasses on!
    (Surprisingly many grandmothers actually do have their own scanner at home these days, some barely even knowing about it: They "just got themselves a printer to be able to print out the pictures of their grandchildren that they received in an email", and as it turns out: the printer is a scanner too! :-)
    Well, with Reprintmaker4u.jar at hand, you will be able to kindly ask your best frend's grandmother to send you a copy of the recipe for that delicious apple pie she baked for the cake lottery. And now she, in turn, will be able to easily ask to get to see the drawing that her overseas grandchild just drew for her the other day.
  5. It will require no installation nor administrative privileges on the computer (other than the right to access a scanner and to create a PDF-file).
  6. It will only require that the computer has a plain Java Virtual Machine, or a java enabled web browser, and that some scanner is already installed and available.
  7. It will change no settings and leave no trace on the system where it is used (apart from the resulting PDF-file).
  8. Reprintmaker4u.jar will be developed, from the start, with multilingualism in mind.
    • The applet will be able to switch between various user interface languages during runtime.
      • It will be so easy to add new user interface language translations, that even non-programmers will be able to do it themselves.
    • New versions of the applet will retain as much as possible from the interface languages in earlier versions. Only the new or changed features will be forced to use the languages provided by the programmer of the new features. In other words: The old unchanged features will still appear in your same preferred language even after you have upgraded to a newer version of the applet and even so when the programmer does not know that language.
      • Programmers will be strongly encouraged to at least supply an english interface (and documentation) in addition to his/her preferred language, when expanding or improving the features in this applet (Reprintmaker4u.jar).
  9. It will (optionally) let the user choose (both collectively and for individual pages):
    • Whether the output should be in plain black and white, grey tones, limited colors or in full color.
    • To rotate the scanned images.
    • To, zoom in or out (preferably, if available, by invoking zoom functionality in the scanner itself, to get the best possible quality).
    • To crop the immages. (Primarily for, but not restricted to, getting rid of unnecessary outer edge white space. Another use may be to make an additional page in the resulting PDF (compared to the original), with a zoomed section of a page).
    • To set page numbers such that they correspond with those printed on the scanned pages.
  10. I do not yet know enough about PDF-file metadata to say wether this is possible or not, but if it is possible, then Reprintmaker4u.jar will let the user, and/or the recipient of the PDF-file, write a note (about the content), that will be stored as metadata inside the PDF-file and that later will be editable through the file properties dialog box, on whatever operating system the PDF-file is residing at the moment. (I am thinking of something similar to the ID3 metadata tags in .mp3 files that I have seen, and edited, while using Windows XP).
  11. It will (optionally), and as far as the PDF-format allows, be possible to enter metadata (Book/Journal title, ISBN/ISSN, Chapter/Article title, Author, Year, Page numbers, etcetera) akin to those in the Wikipedia templates: {{Cite journal}} and {{Cite book}}, as well as (maybe half automated:) information about where the scan was made and by whom (provenance data). All these metadata must be stored within the PDF-file and in some standard way that will make them accessible on any computing platform.
  12. To enhance readability, Reprintmaker4u.jar will (optionally), politely and unobtrusively, try to encourage the user to zoom to 125% of the original size. As far as the original's size and non-destructive cropping of unnecessary outer edge white space will allow. ("non-destructive" meaning: still taking into account that many printers are unable to print all the way to the edge of the paper and the resulting PDF-file should be nicely printable on those printers to).
  13. Reprintmaker4u.jar will, by default, primarily be aimed at making it very easy for the user to get output PDF-files suitable for the international standard paper format: A4 (ISO 216) (210 mm × 297 mm) and possibly the size: A3) (also ISO 216) (297 mm × 420 mm). Again it will try to encourage doing this by nondestructive cropping of the outer edges, rather than by shrinking.
    • A size chart illustrating the ISO A series and a comparison with American letter and legal formats.
      It will (optionally) also, just as politely and unobtrusively, try to encourage making PDF-files with the virtual "paper size": 210 mm × 279.4 mm to try to simultaneously accomodate both the international A4(paper size) and the (US,Canadian,Mexican) "Letter (paper size)". (See the picture).
    • I have not yet figured out how I want it to handle originals of the north american Legal size. (See the picture).
  14. The source code will be so well documented, along the way, within the code, that even non-programmers by looking through the code, should be able to get a good grip on what is actually happening where, and how.
  15. At runtime, the application will provide concise explanations of every feature in it. It will also provide explanations in the averagely intelligent layman's language, of any and all computer,graphic design, typography and publishing terminology that is directly or indirectly appearing somewhere in the user interface or in the typical user situation where the application is used.
  16. Reprintmaker4u.jar will have been developed, from the start, within some project management framework that makes it very easy to keep track of the versions and the various features in them.
  17. If the application for some reason, at some time, will not work on some computer, then Reprintmaker4u.jar itself will tell the user exactly why it does not work, what may be the cause of the problem and how to fix it.

Separate optical character recognition (OCR) functionality[edit]

To make it possible to cut, copy, and paste from the resulting PDF-file, by including optical character recognition (OCR) functionality, would surely be a nice feature, but I fear that it would increase the size of the .jar file dramatically (and thus would make it more of a hassle to send this application around by email). Besides, it probably would require quite a lot more of meticulous proofreading than your average grandmother, or six-year-old kid, would care to spend time on.

Therefore I think that OCR functionality should be separated into another, twin, java applet. To eventually be employed on the PDF-file at a later time. Of course: the OCR application should also be Free and open source software and Copyleft and both applications should mention the other, and where to find it on the web.

Why not free and copyleft before version 1.4?[edit]

I intend to use this application (a lot!) myself, and I do not plan (nor want) to ever make any money of it.

Unfortunately I do not have the time or ability to write Reprintmaker4u.jar myself, but I do have rather strong oppinions about some properties and features that I want in this application.

The only way to be sure to get what I want, without any arguing or too much discussion, is to give some programmer(s) a decent payment to write it following a given specification.

Beyond version 1.4[edit]

After securing the basic functionality the way I want it to be, then I don't see any reason not to give this away as a free software, copyleft project. (On the contrary: If someone then wants to improve it, then so much the better!).

I have no idea of how to manage or keep a free software project alive, and even though I have heard of SourceForge and JavaForge, I do not know how or why to choose one over the other. Frankly, I am hoping that beyond version 1.4 sombody else might want to take over the whole project.

Feedback is welcomed![edit]

Do you have a comment with a constructive idea, a specific feature request or some useful piece of information or advice regarding the Reprintmaker4u.jar project?
Then please drop an, if possible, concise note about it on: the talk page!   :-)
--Reprintmaker4u (talk) 22:42, 5 January 2011 (UTC)