Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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RTF blues

Ever try to code Rich Text Format, known to its friends as RTF?

I'm trying to finish up my perl-coded QA project, and I'd like to create a file of everyone's QA in a form that could be loaded into a word processor and printed out by a secretary as individual QA reports. It could be done as pure ASCII text, but I'd like something a little better looking. I could use HTML, which is readable by Word and probably most other modern wp software, but its formatting facilities are so lousy...

So I thought: how about rtf? It's a text format, can't be that difficult. It's read and output by virtually every wp known to man.

Um, maybe. Looks like no one writes it cold, on a text editor, like people do HTML. Like those of us using LiveJournal do, to insert little formatting jiggies in our posts. There are a ton of HTML tutorials on the net, but look up "rtf tutorial" and you get nuffin. Oh, a handful of links that aren't what you're looking for.

So, right now I'm struggling through the rtf specifications from MSFT; it's a MSFT creation, after all. I'm slowly beginning to get the hang of it. As with any other technical specification past 1.0 (rtf is now at 1.6) it's accumulated a lot of stuff like stylesheets that are doubtless helpful for advanced text formatting, but for me, are just cruft, so I'm trying to figure out how to trim down all the junk to something I can understand.

I think it's going to work out, but it's a little more than I counted on.
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