My Experience with Daisy: Installation and First Use
By Eric Armstrong on Apr 28, 2008
I'm still a fan of the functionality that Daisy has implemented. But after having played with it for a bit, it seems to be somewhat less than optimal with respect to error handling and documentation.
In Daisy: WYSIWYG Wiki for PDF Books, I wrote up the most compelling reasons I could see for using Daisy. I was really worried, in fact. After getting my organization to begin moving towards DITA in a serious way, I was concerned that I might have found a tool that allows for collaboration as well as information reuse, and which had the additional benefit of being completely free!
far, at least, it seems that my worries were unfounded. As seductive as
the potential is, and after a couple days of trying, I've yet to put up
a system that others can use.
My observations so far:
- I pasted an 80-page HTML document into the editor, and it displayed perfectly. (Robust editor!)
- However, I then could not save the document. (Quelle problem!)
- I have no clue as to what error or errors were in the file though. The system just refused to save it.
- Not only that, it wasn't even clear there was an error.
Clicking "Save" just left me at the same screen until I clicked
Cancel--or deleted 79 pages and was left with something that could be saved.
- The installation instructions left out the pretty important part
where you actually start MySQL. (Ferreting that information out of the
MySQL docs took up an hour of the afternoon and morning I spent doing
a Unix install.)
- Many of the installation steps were documented well, and "just
worked". But several required a lot of time and experimentation. (For
MySQL, for example, just finding out what to download was no small
trick. That's not really Daisy's fault, but it's the kind of thing you
run into when you're dealing with a chain of open source applications.)
- The additional package you add for PDF images didn't happen to
mention that the self-install wants to update the JDK (as opposed to
putting the libraries somewhere and adjusting the classpath). I'm on a
shared Solaris system with symlinks to a read-only JDK, so that was a
dead end. So I wound up downloading a different package and manually
- For part of the installation, I gave the address of my SMTP
server and the return address. But there was nowhere to specify the
protocol (SSL), port, or the username and password I need to use that
service. (The same would be true to access my ISP's mail server from my
windows box at home, so this isn't a Unix issue.)
- When I went to the config file, I saw entries for the values I entered, but no entries for the other values I need.
- Looking through the docs, I've yet to see anything on point. So I
guess I'll have to read the source code to find out what entries it can
handle. (If I have to extend the source code to get the notification
service working, that's a bit of a problem--especially since quite a
bit of additional work will be needed to figure out how to keep the password
- Lacking notifications, users can't self-register. So I followed
the LDAP integration directions. The server connection is definitely
working. But for some reason it's rejecting username/password
combinations that are known to be valid. I don't have any idea why, nor
have I found any writeups that would help to troubleshoot the problem. (I finally handed out the root admin password, so others could play.)
I'll probably find solutions for most of the problems on a
mailing list somewhere. (I haven't joined one yet.) Either that, or it
will be a matter of reading the source code to find out how things
work--but while that's something I would expect to do to add some new
feature, it's rather disconcerting to be forced there just to get an
initial install operational.
Daisy: WYSIWYG Wiki for PDF Books