Vikshepa Blog

Mental Distractions

17 Mar 2022

2022-03-17 Hubzilla menus in mobile view - guest access tokens - PDF editing

In the morning we were busy with a guest. In the afternoon I had another look at a couple of things that have been bothering me regarding Hubzilla.

1: Menu system in Hubzilla mobile view. It is possible to create a custom menu that can be displayed on every page. However, the menu is not shown in the mobile version of the site; only the default menu is shown. For me, this means that, when giving a link to friends, it is better to send them directly to my blog, which is a website under Hubzilla's cloud file system. Here, I now have a responsive menu, which displays a "hamburger" menu on phones. (I have written how this is done in my technology wiki).

2: Access tokens. I find Hubzilla "dropbox style" guest access (which involves using links that contain access-tokens) a bit hit-or-miss. Today, when testing in a private browsing window, I found that the access token had stopped working completely, though it had been set to never expire. I went through the motions of saving the token again, and then the link did allow access - no idea why. But it worked for one private photo album, and not for another.

There is a separate problem that whereas the access token guest access seems to survive clicks across several Hubzilla pages, it does not survive the passage between my blog and the rest of Hubzilla. So if, as mentioned above, I use my blog as my primary give-out link, it does not help that I include there an access token. My conclusion is that, since most of my Hubzilla assets are public, this is important mainly for items like family photo albums. It is therefore better to keep those elsewhere, such as in my Fastmail storage. Although the links would be "public", they are hard to find without obtaining a direct link; for example, Google is not going to crawl those photo albums if there are no links to them from another website. Basically it means that when I have personal-type photos that I wish to share with the family or friends who lack login credentials, I will share these somewhere else.

There are, very occasionally, bits of text that I do not want to share publicly or get into search engines. These should not be included in the blog, but can be included in Hubzilla Articles then shared privately. There is an example in this current post.

The upshot of these reflections is that I can use the link to my blog in places like my email signature. This has a mobile view from which my other Hubzilla assets can easily be reached. And I will no longer worry about access tokens. When I wish to share a family album, I will place it elsewhere and share the link directly through email.

Adobe Acrobat writer

One of the office staff has asked me to purchase Adobe Acrobat writer, or whatever it's currently called. I pointed out that in the majority of cases it's possible to manage without it, but she was not convinced. I think I have never managed to persuade anyone to use free open source software. But admittedly it's a bit of a tough sell with PDF writers, because there is no exact fit among FOSS solutions. There are foundations to which we need to apply that require good PDF editing of their application forms. I personally haven't had much experience with filling out complex PDF forms but have seen the frustration of those who have needed to do so. I am sure I would manage somehow, as I always do, but can't expect that of others.

It seems that Adobe's Acrobat software is not part of their Creative Suite, for which they have a specific discount for non-profit associations like us. Therefore it's necessary to pay the full amount, which is quite expensive.

For simple editing of a PDF document, I personally find that InkScape has one of the best options. It imports a PDF document nicely (though only one page at at time), and allows one to edit both text and graphics quite well.

Tags: hubzilla software
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