writing lds-scriptures docs

Yesterday, I was at home, and I sat down at the computer wanting to work on something. It was Sunday, so I felt like working on one of my church projects. I pulled up nephi.org and started poking around, then I thought about getting the lds-scriptures 3.0 release ready to go. I wasn’t really in the mood to start fussing over database exports (I have to clean up the Access ones still, prepare the XML ones, and make sure the CSV ones are correct), but I did get the bug to work on the documentation a bit.

Now, when I first started working on this — years ago, I forgot how many — I started writing the documentation in DocBook format. And I’m so glad I did. I’m kind of amazed, looking back, that I managed to pull it off, considering how little I knew back then. I do remember, though, that putting the original scriptures release was a lot of hard work for me. I specifically wanted to learn more how to use the console, so I used a very old Dell laptop (a Pentium 1, I think) with Gentoo on it, and would only use the console to do everything. That translates to a lot of work when you’re accessing PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite 2 and 3 all at once on the command line, but it was worth it. It really taught me a lot more about the small and large differences between each database, and how to export stuff and transfer it between the two. Not to mention just learning lots more SQL in general.

I also wrote the DocBook XML just using vim. So, yesterday, I opened up the original file, and started poking at it. The documentation isn’t complex, by any means, but for a total noob to all of this, I think I did pretty well back then.

Writing documentation is one thing I take very seriously, as I think it stands as sort of a legacy over time. As long as there’s a copy floating around somewhere on the web or in an old package, people will read it. As such, I put a lot of pressure on myself when writing docs of any kind. I just wanna get it right, because I know that chances are that I’ll probably never come back and update it once the project is finished, so it’ll be that way for a long time.

What happens though, is that the process just wears me out. It’s not that it’s a lot of work, it’s that I just pour a lot of energy into this. On top of that, this is a project I feel really meticulous about — not only is it religious material, but I’m documenting how I’ve created a database schema for the standard works of the scriptures.

Anyway. It’s just one of those few projects that I really can’t work on it for more than an hour at a time or so, and just get a small amount of work done before I need take a long break again. Which probably explains why I’ve been putting this one project off for so long, for which I feel really bad.

I have no idea why I’m writing this either, I just thought it’d be interesting to write about. I hope I can get this done soon. It really is the last leg. The schema is done, even though in my mind I fret over it and look over it and double and triple-check the whole thing making sure I didn’t miss anything. I can, of course, do a release update if I really did miss something, but this is one of things where I just want everything to be just right.

I realize it sounds kind of corny, only because I’ve always kind of been confused by the concept, but I guess this would be one of those “for God” things. Like, “skating for God” comes to mind (important point: that’s not me or my video — I’m not that good at skating, heh. Just found it on youtube.). I’ve grown up Christian, but I didn’t really get a good feel for what other denominations other than our own was like — something I deeply regret to this day (Even though I live in Utah, I didn’t move here til I was about 22. I grew up in Missouri, Indiana and Georgia). As such, I wouldn’t say I have intolerance for other religions, just a bit of social curiosity. What seems normal, culturally, to others in their faiths, seems a bit odd to me. I really wish I had a chance to grow up, around, and with people of other faiths more.

The whole concept kind of just clicked for me though — it’s basically just trying to do the very best you can with your limited talents and skills, and have the work dedicated to the Lord — or more specifically, to building up His kingdom on earth.

It may seem like “skating for God” would be, in that vein, pretty irrelevant, but the fact of the matter is that anytime you build yourself or anyone else up, you are building the kingdom of God (Cue a quote from some religious talk I can vaguely remember). That’s the real reason this is taking so long, quite honestly, is that all this is for Him. It’s a dedicatory work.

Well, I really didn’t intend to go off on a tangent like that, but now you know how I feel about some of the stuff I work on.  I’m still not really sure how I feel about it, or how this all mixes together.  In fact, merging a religious lifestyle and a cultural lifestyle has always been a confusing topic for me.  I actually like the way evangelists carry it in their lives so much, and make it such a positive aspect of their life all the time, and so freely talk about it.  There’s definitely some characteristics like that I’d like to apply in my life.

Leave a Reply