private software development topic home

Here's a list of tools, side projects, applications and major investigations that I've done and implemented as a hobby, for my personal benefit, or to broaden my knowledge. Most of these have not been published or made available to the general public (in contrast to my open source contributions).
The list goes back to my first programming experiments on the PC, and lists the project name, its main programming language, and a short summary:


(whole year) mvn-log.cmd
Because the default output of Maven builds is overly verbose and hard to follow when running interactive builds, I've written a wrapper script that filters out unimportant stuff, and transforms long (multi-line) output into a shorter summary (using sed).
05-Apr-2013 commenter.wsf
This filter reacts to passed patterns in the pipe and then notifies the user about the occurrence, either via a simple beep, playing a custom sound file, or speaking parts of the pattern. I've added this to the mvn-log.cmd to be informed about successful builds (and failures, with a different sound); runtime exceptions of the web app are spoken.


03-Feb-2012 git-writebackup-import
To facilitate the migration of more and more of my home-grown tools and side projects to published, collaborative open source projects (prompted both by individual requests and the conveniences of modern platforms like GitHub), I've written a Bash script that automatically converts my writebackup archives into a Git repository with complete revision history.


19-Oct-2011 Quake-Terminal
Took a simple AutoHotkey script found on the Internet that implemented a pop-up console window (similar to the Tilda tool for Linux), and adapted and polished it to my advanced needs. After making it much more robust, I added the capability to toggle the console from another executable (assigned to a custom keyboard key) and devised a mechanism to allow both local and Remote Desktop Connection triggering (by offering two variants of the script that bound to either both or just the left CTRL key). The instant, everywhere access to a plain text console is crucial for a keyboard-focused, multitasking, remote system-juggling hacker like me.
May..Jun-2011 Subversion and Git command-line aliases addonly alias diff dp help lg ll log lsprivate prune rmprivate sh show statistics unprune
It started with various Git aliases that I had picked up from various blog postings. After these considerably enhanced my Git workflow and expanded my Git capabilities, I desired to have something similar for Subversion (and eventually Mercurial etc.), to have a more uniform revision-control use, more customizable and powerful tools than the ubiquitous Tortoise GUI, and to paper over deficiencies in the rather limited svn command-line tool.
This continues the tradition I started with my ClearCase tools in 2005. I complement these tools with various plugins for version control-handling in Vim.
07-Feb-2011 Imake archiverules, fprules, retrievalrules
Most of my colleagues are either too young or too afraid of the Imake-based build process, even though it's actually quite powerful. I reduced the sprawling growth of custom build scripts by extracting several general-purpose Imake rules for retrieving packages from two internal FTP locations and our private Maven repository, handling file archives, and finally generating file placement information automatically from these packages. This made the complete product build a one-step process triggered by a single make again, and avoided the error-prone choreography of various script invocations that had to be executed in the right order and in the right places.


17-Jun-2010 AutoHotkey
Published a set of scripts that ease task switching inside Remote Desktop Connections, allow quick minimizing of windows via mouse and keyboard, and allow entering of special characters like umlauts via digraphs.
12-May-2010 application activation.vbs
Re-activated an old utility script from 2006, refactored and enhanced for use with my new dev PC. Assigned to the multi-purpose keys of my Microsoft Natural Keyboard, this allows to launch or activate several of my favorite applications with a single keystroke. Now also works with minimized windows and minimizes the window if applied to an active one.
12-Apr-2010 ssh-copy-id.cmd
Enhanced the waitup suite of Windows shell scripts to a complete suite that allows me to manage and launch any remote connections via a central control shell, including a Windows port of ssh-copy-id to install my public key to any new test systems, and helper scripts such as 2ssh to make two separate shell connections (my typical setup on test systems) at once.


14-Dec-2009 syncUnixhomeProxy
Refactored my synchronization script to also support access through an SSH proxy system, since I didn't get any socks software to function on Windows Vista / 7.
Bash shell script to checkout relevant parts of the 6+ Subversion repositories at work. Many of those contain staged binaries and the tool chain for various platforms, so a full checkout would be prohibitive. I use this to keep my three dev systems in sync and to be able to automatically set up a new dev system.
20-Jul-2009 syncUnixhomeExternal
Exposed my main file server at home to the Internet (only SSH access) to be able to access and synchronize files while at work. Wrappers around the syncUnixhome scripts with reconfigure the Unison tool to use the externally visible hostname. The wrappers themselves can be socksified to allow Internet access from a restricted company Intranet.
15-Mar-2009 photoshow
JavaScript function that adds controls to sequentially view photos to album web pages. Implemented with the JQuery library.
12-Jan-2009 runVimTests
A testing framework for the Vim editor, consisting of a Windows shell / Unix Bash shell driver, a Vim evaluation script and an optional Vim testing library. Also integrates with the TAP test protocol provided by another author. I use this to automate the regression testing for my Vim scripts.


18-Dec-2008 MAF patch
JavaScript patch to the Mozilla Archive Format addon to make it compatible with the File Title addon (and massage the suggested file name into something that is close to my personal naming preferences.
15-Oct-2008 OLPC XO customizations
Customizations and enhancements to the user interface and window manager of the 100 Dollar laptop, which is written in Python.
17-Sep-2008 syncUnixhome
Set of Windows and Bash shell scripts to synchronize common parts of my home directory with my main file server (using the Unison tool for the sync). Based on unison-unixhome from 2006. Together with the writebackup tool, this implements a primitive Distributed Revision Control System.
24-Jun-2008 NSLU2 customization
Installed Unslung 6.10 Linux distribution on a small NAS device from Linksys and configured Samba, web server, TWiki and various tools.
09-Apr-2008 waitup
Windows shell script which allows to monitor a host as it goes down and up again during a reboot. An external command (like VNC or Remote Desktop Connection) can be launched once the host (or a specified remote-enabled service) is up again.
01-Jan-2008 sitemenu
JavaScript function that fetches a sitemenu HTML page via AJAX and embeds it into the page. Allows custom styling via CSS and fallback menu (without duplication!) if JavaScript is disabled. Implemented with the Prototype library.


12-Jun-2007 toolbox
Windows shell scripts that package everything that is contained in my tool share (, GNU Unix tools for Win32, Java web server, PuTTY, directory statistics, Wink screen capture, Total Commander, IrfanView, and Vim editor (of course!)) and put it in a TrueCrypt container. This container is deployed to (test-)systems and kept up-to-date via my automatic updater. With this, all tools start faster than through the network share and do not hang when the VM their run in is suspended.
05-Apr-2007 OpenSUSE@wotan
Installed OpenSUSE 10.2 on my former development system and migrated my Intranet web server and TWiki wiki from my old HP-UX workstation.
22-Jan-2007 page aging
JavaScript function to progressively dim a web page background based on the current date. Includes demo page and JsUnit tests.


15-Dec-2006 download Dilbert
Windows shell script that scrapes an RSS feed to download today's comic from the Dilbert website.
12-Dec-2006 unisync
VBScript that performs a unidirectional synchronization of a directory tree, copying only files that have changed since the last sync; files and directories that have been removed in source will also be removed in destination. Differences are propagated only from source to destination, not the other way around.
24-Nov-2006 unison-tools, -unixhome, -public stuff
Set of Windows shell scripts that employ the Unison tool to sync various directories across multiple systems or portable media.
22-Sep-2006 autosource
Bash and Korn shell configuration scripts split off of my growing .bashrc, making my configuration modular and pluggable: aliases, history, additional commands, paths and prompt settings are defined in separate files.
27-Jul-2006 settings
Set of Windows shell scripts and registry fragments that configure a (test-)system with one click: Internet Explorer security settings and start page, proxy, virus scan config, eventlog, screensaver, Windows console properties.
2006 website utilities
Extension and refactoring of VBScripts to process and automate my private web sites:


03-Nov-2005 makeMeAdmin
Enhancements to a Windows shell script by Aaron Margosis, then Johannes Endres. I'm now running Windows XP without administrative rights and use this script to temporarily gain Admin rights for my account.
15-Aug-2005 SendToGVIM
Shell alias to send files to an existing instance of the Vim editor. Unix port of the VBScript I had implemented earlier.
03-Aug-2005 cteclipse, ctfindbranch, ctfindchange, ctfindsince, ctsetcs, ctWaitForSync
Various Korn shell tools to simplify the handling of the Rational ClearCase revision control system.
Jul-2005 CppUnit libraries
Built libraries for the CppUnit unit testing framework on a variety of platforms: Win32, HP-UX 11.00 PA-RISC, HP-UX 11.23 Itanium, Solaris 8, AIX 5.1; all 32 and 64 bit. Learned a lot about C compiler and linker settings and each platform's peculiarities.
25-Jan-2005 CopyM3U.cmd
Windows shell script that numbers MP3 files based on a Winamp playlist, so that the tracks are played in the defined order on my MP3-player.


22-Sep-2004 automatic updater
Windows shell script that implements a simple automatic software updater for directories using Windows file shares as installation sources. Allows bootstrapping, check via autostart, pre- and postinstall commands. Used to automatically update desktop background and system tools on a variety of test systems.
07-Sep-2004 lsEx
Unix aliases for many common and advanced uses of the ls command. Features include recursive flattened listing and omission of temporary and backup files.
05-Sep-2004 extedit
C++ tool to synchronize text from any Windows application to an external editor and back.
Many applications prompt the user to edit text via the standard Windows edit control. Most of the interaction with web applications (think about Internet forums, Internet mail composing) is done via a browser. Almost all browsers do not allow to configure another editor for text area editing (except for the text-only Lynx and a patch to Mozilla). The extedit tool allows more comfortable editing of edit boxes in Windows applications. It uses simulated keyboard input to capture the edit box content in the Clipboard, saves the Clipboard contents to a temporary file, and opens that file in an external editor. When editing is done, the modified contents are synchronized back to the edit box. With extedit, you can use your favorite text editor for increased productivity. In addition, you get a backup of the volatile edit box contents (have you ever pressed <Esc> in an Internet Explorer text area?) for free.


11-Sep-2003 SendToGVIM
VBScript tool to send files to an existing instance of the Vim editor through its OLE interface. I call this from Total Commander, to quickly pass file(s) to my running Vim instance.
10-Jul-2003 writebackup
Korn shell script to write subsequent backups of the passed file(s) with a '.YYYYMMDD[a-z]' file extension. Unix port of the VBScript I had implemented earlier.
17-Jun-2003 TotalCmd dirstack
VBScript that implements an directory stack for the Total Commander alternative file explorer.
25-Mar-2003 site maintenance
CGI scripts for maintenance of my web server: List log files, backup website and Wiki, run link check.
05-Feb-2003 HP-UX @ wotan
Configured HP-UX 11.0 64bit on my HP B2600 workstation: Compiled Vim 6.1, Midnight Commander and various other tools; set up Samba, Apache and the TWiki Wiki.
31-Jan-2003 prepareForJava
Korn shell script wrapper to run and compile Java applications through various JDK versions, which are fetched from revision control. Later implemented a caching mechanism to speed up startup.
24-Jan-2003 writebackup
VBScript to write subsequent backups of the passed file(s) with a '.YYYYMMDD[a-z]' file extension.


10-Oct-2002 prepareForImake
Korn shell script wrapper to simplify running Unix builds via the Imake tool. Detects and sets up the environment on various Unix dialects and even MS Windows (under the MKS Unix emulation).
08-May-2002 bginfo
Using the bginfo tool from, I created a custom configuration for our internal development and test environment, wrote a simple installer, and embedded my automatic updater mechanism. The bginfo tool runs automatically during login, gathers the system information, checks for updates to itself, writes the information to the desktop background, then quits.
25-Apr-2002 vmware-scripts
Suite of Windows shell and VBScript to automate system customization after cloning a Windows VMware virtual system: Choose hostname / IP from a pool, create unique system ID, update DNS settings.
22-Feb-2002 default application startup
VBScript that starts my default applications in the correct order, waits until the app window appears, and can change the window size.
Also includes a couple of wrapper scripts that can be launched from the configurable extended keys on my Microsoft Natural keyboard.
01-Feb-2002 Simple Java WebServer
Extended a simple demo implementation of a Java web server from Sun with security bugfixes, external configuration, virtual directory directives, response delay, etc. Using this as an on-demand web server in my toolbox.


01-Jun-2001 general.css
Complex Cascading Style Sheet to apply a consistent look and identity to my personal homepage, Intranet site, and portals on various systems. The styling is based on my Microsoft Word template; much of the complexity comes from the distinctive large left page margin. Being a strong believer in the separation of content and styling, this stylesheet has grown and expanded together with the CSS capabilities of the leading web browsers. (The CSS support of Netscape 4 was really bad; IE 5.5 offered much better support, in 2009 everyone derides IE 6's non-standard quirks.)
19-Apr-2001 CommandLineForwarder
This C++ tool calls a secondary file with the same name as the actual tool's name; only the .exe extension is stripped. All command-line arguments are passed AS-IS, i.e. exactly as they were provided to the tool. This tool is handy to forward '/RegServer' command-line arguments to a batch file.
2001 website utilities
VBScripts to process and automate my private web sites:


03-Dec-1999 cdEx
Unix alias for the cd command that updates the prompt and has many advanced DWIM features.
28-Jan-1999 FileShuffle
Successor to Nextbmp: C++ tool to copy one randomly selected file from a specified directory to a destination, while changing the filename to a standardized one. Used in Windows autostart to change the desktop background on each login.


Dec-1998 Style Guide: Definitions for C/C++ coding
This document grew from a couple of pages about C++ coding style (identifier naming, function prototype documentation comments) based on suggestions by my assistant project's mentor to a 50-page collection of various software engineering topics (project management, analysis, design, layout, coding). Various Internet sources and excerpts from software engineering books have been incorporated into it. It has spawned off comments templates for many programming languages.
Microsoft Word template for use in project documentation, specifications and design documents. Offers consistent styling for headings, paragraphs and lists with a landmark large left page margin that contains some minor headings and annotations. The file contains templates and copy-and-paste fragments for cover page, table of contents and tables.


01-Oct-1997 Nextbmp
C tool to copy random bitmap file selected from 1..9, a..z files to Windows folder to use as background picture.


27-Jun-1996 Vocabulary
A vocubulary trainer written as a Turbo Vision GUI application. Reads (English) vocabulary data from an imported Word document. I used this to improve my English.
Microsoft Word 6.0 document template with completely customized keyboard shortcuts and macros. I had a keyboard stencil for all CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-Function-key combinations, and a cheat sheet for all other keys and custom formats. Word was my main text processing system for many years, and I only broke up and left it completely (in 2002) when I discovered an editor and text systems that were more universal, portable and configurable (viz. Vim and HTML+CSS).
1993 - 1995 Mathematics & Chemistry applications
Various small Turbo Pascal applications for homework or additional investigations in my mathematics and chemistry classes.
25-Apr-1993 Backpropagation-Mustererkennung
Extension of a neural network sample application into a Turbo Vision GUI application which allows loading, training and recognition runs of patterns.
12-Oct-1992 Fractals
Various Turbo Pascal applications to display Mandelbrot and Julia sets in graphics mode through the Borland graphics interface.

Before personal computers, I played, programmed, and built electronics on my home computer.

Ingo Karkat, 24-Jun-2010, last update 31-Aug-2012