piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
i'm evaluating personal library programs for the mac and sharing the results with a book group to which i belong. however nifty librarything is, i do prefer to have my entire library catalogued locally, so it is available when i am (or LT is) offline. i have more than 2000 books entered into LT already, however, and do not care to duplicate the effort. therefore, whichever program i choose has to be able to import my books in some form.

i didn't think that was going to be an issue in the year 2010.


the latest program i've looked at is book collector from collectorz.com, which looked overall rather promising. it's being developed by a small company in the netherlands, and hey, i'm always one to support small over large.

the documentation for the mac version said nothing about importing, and it became apparent to me that the mac version is the second cousin for a windows shop. but still, there are 3 options on the menu for it: import from other collection, XML, delicious library (which is another library software).

LT exports in csv format, which is quite handy because it's human-readable and can easily be massaged into other formats. just about everything out there can read csv. not book collector though. ok. well, i can push CSV into XML with csv2xml. tried that, book collector said "XML import failed". *rolls eyes*. note to programmers: MEANINGFUL feedback is a good thing. fine, i tried the delicious library route instead. imported LT output into DL2, which worked fine. DL can export to a number of formats, XML among them. first i tried to save to DL format, and tried to read that from book collector. nothing happened. nothing at all. huh. ok, next i output XML from DL and tried to import that into book collector. this time it seemed to do something, it created a new catalog, but it ended up empty.

i know when to seek help. collectorz.com has an active forum, yay, where apparently employees even respond to customer problems, double yay. i described my travails. the next day i had a reply: book collector can only read delicious library V1 format, and the XML import is only meant to allow people with the windows version of book collector to transfer their collection to a mac.

i fired up DL again and saved my books in DL1.5 format. nope, book collector could not read that either. apparently V1 does not include V1.5 in their universe. i went back and asked whether they would please give me the format of their XML file, because, hey, i am willing to massage my books into the right format. but alas, no. their advice was that i could always get access to a windows machine and output from there and then look at the file.

really? after i've already wasted a couple of hours futzing around because their documentation says nothing about imports, a person who has access to the code and internal documentation sends me off to waste more time? what if i don't have access to a windows machine? what if i don't want to buy a copy of a crappy OS to install on a virtual machine simply to evaluate one program?

as the crowning glory their response to me suggesting that at least they update their documentation to let people know exactly what they can import was "maybe. we prefer to put things into our documentation about what the program can do, not what is missing."

guess who's writing a negative review of the program, and who's unlikely to ever give it another look?
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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

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