Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Almost a good idea

Appleworks (formerly Clarisworks) is software that's been dead meat since 2007.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AppleWorks#End_of_Appleworks

Which is fine unless you have an old computer with old applications that still works. For example, a 2002-vintage iMac G4 http://www.imachistory.com/2002/ still works. Slowly.

When someone jumps 11 years to a new iMac, they find that their 2002 iMac with 2007 apps has files which are essentially unreadable by modern applications.

How can someone jump a decade and preserve their content?

1.  iWork Pages is cheap. Really. $19.99.  I could have used it to convert their files to their new iMac and then told them to ignore the app. Pages can be hard to learn. For someone jumping from 2007-vintage apps, it's probably too much. However, they can use TextEdit once the files are converted to RTF format.
2.  iWork for iCloud may be a better idea. But they have to wait a while for it to come out. And they want their files now.
3.  Try to write a data extractor.

Here are some places to start.
Documentation on the Appleworks file format does not seem to exist. It's a very weird void, utterly bereft of information.

In the long run $19.99 for a throw-away copy of Pages is probably the smartest solution.

However, if you're perhaps deranged, you can track down the content through a simple brute-force analysis of the file. This is Python3 code to scrape the content out of a .CWK file.

import argparse
import struct
import sys
import os
from io import open

class CWK:
    """Analyzes a .CWK file; must be given a file opened in "rb" mode.
    DSET = b"DSET"
    BOBO = b"BOBO"
    ETBL = b"ETBL"

    def __init__( self, open_file ):
        self.the_file= open_file
        self.data= open_file.read()

    def header( self ):
        self.version= self.data[0:4]
        #print( self.version[:3] )
        bobo= self.data[4:8]
        assert bobo == self.BOBO
        version_prev= self.data[8:12]
        #print( version_prev[:3] )
        return self.version

    def margins( self ):
        self.height_page= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[30:32] )
        self.width_page= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[32:34] )
        self.margin_1= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[34:36] )
        self.margin_2= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[36:38] )
        self.margin_3= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[38:40] )
        self.margin_4= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[40:42] )
        self.margin_5= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[42:44] )
        self.margin_6= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[44:46] )
        self.height_page_inner= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[46:48] )
        self.width_page_inner= struct.unpack( ">h", self.data[48:50] )

    def dset_iter( self ):
        """First DSET appears to have content.

        This DSET parsing may not be completely correct. 
        But it finds the first DSET, which includes all
        of the content except for headers and footers.

        It seems wrong to simply search for DSET; some part of the
        resource directory should point to this or provide an offset to it.
        for i in range(len(self.data)-4):
            if self.data[i:i+4] == self.DSET:
                    #print( "DSET", i, hex(i) )
                    pos= i+4
                    for b in range(5): # Really? Always 5?
                        size, count= struct.unpack( ">Ih", self.data[pos:pos+6] )
                        pos += size+4
                    #print( self.data[i:pos] )
                    yield pos
    def content_iter( self, position ):
        """A given DSET may have multiple contiguous blocks of text."""
        done= False
        while not done:
            size= struct.unpack( ">I", self.data[position:position+4] )[0]
            content= self.data[position+4:position+4+size].decode("MacRoman")
            #print( "ENDING", repr(self.data[position+4+size-1]) )
            if self.data[position+4+size-1] == 0:
                yield content[:-1]
                done= True
                yield content
                position += size+4

The function invoked from the command line is this.

def convert( *file_list ):
    for f in file_list:
        base, ext = os.path.splitext( f )
        new_file= base+".txt"
        print( '"Converting {0} to {1}"'.format(f,new_file) )
        with open(f,'rb') as source:
            cwk= CWK( source )
            with open(new_file,'w',encoding="MacRoman") as target:
                position = next( cwk.dset_iter() )
                for content in cwk.content_iter(position):
                    # print( content.encode("ASCII",errors="backslashreplace") )
                    target.write( content )
        atime, mtime = os.path.getatime(f), os.path.getmtime(f)
        os.utime( new_file, (atime,mtime) )

This is brute-force. But. It seemed to work. Buying Pages would have been less work and probably produced better results.

This does have the advantage of producing files with the original date stamps.  Other than that, it seems an exercise in futility because there's so little documentation.

What's potentially cool about this is the sane way that Python3 handles bytes as input. Particularly pleasant is the way we can transform the file-system sequence of bytes into proper Python strings with a very simple bytes.decode().

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