Making the MB CDs searchable
Like a few other members on this board, my primary day job is programming and other computer-related things. I recently bought the CD set from eBay and was interested to see just how badly the CDs were organized. Actually, they are organized OK--for a MB dealer shop, or someone who uses them daily, that is.
I have begun building a system to greatly improve access to the information on the CDs. It will take a lot of repetitive, manual cut and paste operations and a fair amount of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) processing, but I have a great application package planned that will hopefully give a new lease on life for all that information that is tied to those inflexible HTML menus.
What is needed is a means for a casual user (a weekend tinkerer) to be able to see the menu titles of each file on the CDs and to find every occurrance of a given word or phrase, and then with a few clicks, be able to browse through the relevant pages and study or print the information found.
I spent last Saturday finding out just how much grunt labor will be necessary. Ten hours just to identify which menu titles are associated to which files within one of the larger folders.
The results were very telling--I found a few (and even one is too many) files that were not referenced and a few more that possibly referenced the wrong pages.
I manually built four hundred eighteen files for the CD1 Chassis folder alone. Just one of those files, titled the 'Functional Description of Airbags' or something similar, contained thirty-one pages of text and diagrams. There is a lot of information that will be made accessible via browsing or searching once I have finished the huge amount of grunt work and the programming to tie it all together.
I have hopes that the results will make a lot of MB owners happy and will make me a few bucks for my efforts to boot. The members of this forum can be my first (and possibly my only)critics when it is completed.