Evil Hack of the Day
MacOS plist XML files are evil; even more so than regular XML. For instance, my iTunes library file consists mostly of entries like:
<key>5436</key> <dict> <key>Track ID</key><integer>5436</integer> <key>Name</key><string>Getting Better</string> <key>Artist</key><string>The Beatles</string> <key>Composer</key><string>Paul McCartney/John Lennon</string> <key>Album</key><string>Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band</string> … </dict>
You’ll notice that there’s no connection between a key and its value, other than proximity. There’s no real indication that these are fields in a data record, and unlike most XML files, you have to consider the position of each element compared to its neighbors. It’s almost as if someone took a file of the form
Track_ID = 5436 Name = "Getting Better" Artist = "The Beatles" Coposer = "Paul McCartney/John Lennon"
and, when told to convert it to XML in the name of buzzword-compliance, did a simple and quarter-assed search and replace.
But of course, what was fucked up by (lossless) text substitution can be unfucked by text substitution. And what’s the buzzword-compliant tool for doing text substitution on XML, even crappy XML? XSLT, of course. The template language that combines the power of sed with the terseness of COBOL.
So I hacked up an XSLT template to convert my iTunes library into a file that can be required in a Perl script. Feel free to use it in good or ill health. If you spring it on unsuspecting developers, please send me a photo of their reaction.