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BBDB or BADB (born again database)

From: Roland Winkler
Subject: BBDB or BADB (born again database)
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 15:00:35 -0500

I thought I can post this here.

Is this BBDB or BADB (the born-again database)? I don't know!

BBDB had been dormant for quite some time. Actually, I never used it.
When I looked at it, the code appeared rather rusted to me,
a software package that had grown organically over many years
(many years ago), making it difficult to make new changes to it. Yet at
some point I thought I needed something of that kind to keep track of
names, phone numbers, email and snail mail addresses and what else.

When I tried to get BBDB working for me, I ended up doing much more
changes than I had ever expected. 

- I didn't try to keep any backward compatibility (beyond the latest
  GNU Emacs released a few days ago), nor did I try to keep the code
  compatible with Xemacs (which I don't know / don't use). (Yet I
  could even imagine that it is not so difficult to port the new code.)

- I gave up to write a ChangeLog, changes were too numerous.

- I tried to give variables and functions more consistent names. If
  you have any old customizations of BBDB, most likely they will not
  work with the code below! (Yet maybe you want to agree with me
  that it might have become easier to add new ones.)

- Also, I tried to give functions and commands more consistent
  calling sequences.

- Many changes of variable and function names were done on all files
  simultaneously with tags-query-replace. In that sense the different
  files below should be consistent. Yet I've mostly looked into the base
  files bbdb.el and bbdb-com.el. I didn't look much into various
  speciality files of BBDB. (And I don't know I ever will. For some of
  them the concepts they tried to implement appear outdated to me and I
  do not have time for such things.). So don't be surprised if lots of
  things do not work!

- The code below comes with a user interface which to me appears
  more compatible with other emacs packages I like to use. This
  includes the usual menus and font-locking.

- I changed the format of the database file (see bbdb-migrate.el),
  yet forward migration should work as with older versions of BBDB.
  (But there's no backward migration anymore. Who wants that???)

- And beware: most likely there are lots of (new and old) bugs, too!

- I didn't look much into the various interfaces with various MUAs.
  (Beware: I do not know much about them. I am a fossil that still
  uses VM, though I am dreaming of something more modern.)

- I haven't tried to update the BBDB texinfo file nor do I know
  whether I might ever find the time to do that.

Other volunteers are welcome to do their part!

Probably, there are many other issues I should mention here, too,
that I keep forgetting. Oh well!

Should I rename my code to BADB to avoid incompatibilities? I'll be
happy to do that!

Comments / feedback of any kind welcome!


PS: How to use these files? Compile them with make, and put them
into your emacs loadpath. Then the command bbdb is kind of a generic
starting point. The menus show you many commands that you can use.

Attachment: bbdb.tgz
Description: Binary data

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