SUMMARY: merging Answerbooks

From: Todd Pfaff (
Date: Tue Jun 15 1993 - 06:23:28 CDT

I recently asked:

] Date: Thu, 10 Jun 93 00:03:48 EDT
] From: (Todd Pfaff)
] Subject: merging Answerbooks
] I have installed two different AnswerBooks in different directories:
] Solaris 1.1 AnswerBook SUNWab_1_4 /usr/AnswerBook/SysSoft1_4
] SunPro AnswerBook SUNWab_18_1 /usr/lang/AnswerBook/SunPro
] Is it possible to access them both from a single navigator process?
] I tried merging the bookinfo files from both but the two AnswerBooks
] have different book-ids (SUNWab_1_4 and SUNWab_18_1) so the navigator
] launched from the answerbook process only sees the stuff related to
] one book-id or the other.
] I have tried a couple of alternatives which work:
] 1) modify the answerbook script to start two navigator processes
] (one for each book-id)
] 2) make a different script, say answerbook-sunpro, which starts
] a navigator for the SunPro book-id
] Is there a better way such that one navigator will navigate both
] books?

Apparently, there is an automated way of doing this in Solaris 2.x
but not so in Solaris 1.x. Some people offered methods for manually
merging answerbooks in 1.x but I haven't tried them yet.

Thanks to all who replied.

From: Larry Chin <>

far as I know there is no way to merge answerbooks prior to SunOs 5.0.

From: (George Pallas)

The merging process is supposed to merge Book "A" and Book "B" into
a single, combined Book "C". The directories that make up Book "C"
contain only pointers and indexes; all the data is still under "A"
or "B". When you run the answerbook script for the pseduo Book "C",
navigator sees both books.

This is described in "How to Merge AnwserBooks", which I found in
the "Solaris 2.1 System Software AnswerBook Online Documentation
Installation and Setup" guide. I presume there is a SunOS 4.1.x

From: ( Andy J. Stefancik 206-234-3049 )

I use this script. I believe you need Solaris 2.x to merge answer books.
if test "$0" = 'answer'
elif test "$0" = 'answer1'
        echo;echo not a good command name;echo;exit
FONTPATH=" ${ABHOME}/lib/fonts"
answerbook &

Then make this link

lrwxrwxrwx 1 ajs6143 6 Jan 8 10:48 answer1 -> answer

From: (Leonard Sitongia)

My limited understanding of this is that it is only possible under
Solaris 2.x.

From: (Steve Lee)

I know this won't help much now, but Solaris 2.2 allows you to do this.
At least that's what I think it does, since it integrates the User
AnswerBook with the Full AnswerBook, and also includes an AnswerBook
for Sun hardware (release manuals, etc.)

From: Mike Raffety <>

Can't do it in Solaris 1.x; but Solaris 2.x you can do it quite nicely.
Sun's still thinking up ways to force you to migrate ...

From: (Tim Tessin)

Yes, but not easily. A lot of hand hacking, and probably not worth it...

There is an "ab_merge" but I think it only works with the Solaris 5.0
and Solaris 5.1 Versions

Solaris 5.2 finally got it right. A single navigator uses a "library
card file" to locate the various answerbook directories and merges
them together in the navigator. They can be sprinkled all over the
network. I had solaris1.1, sunlang, solaris 2.1, solaris 2.2 all merged
on one navigator. Of course, the answerbook has to be run on a sol2.2
machine, but that's what DISPLAY is for.


I would think the most elegant way would be to merge the bookinfo
files, but I've read and heard many times that AnswerBook merging
doesn't work except in Solaris 2.1. AnswerBook seems to work
differently from release to release (e.g., using a binary bookinfo
file in OS 4.1.x and the plain ascii one in 5.x), so merging is
probably a problem.

Anyway, somewhere in the AnswerBook mire there should be ascii
bookinfo files that you can merge. Then you can do a "mkbookinfo" (I
think that's the command -- it's also somewhere in the AnswerBook
mire) on the merged text bookinfo file to get the binary version that
the 4.1.x answerbook seems to require.

That's how the Solaris 2.1 AnswerBook merge works, anyway, though
it just uses the text bookinfo file. I don't think merging is
supported or automated in any other OS release, though...

Hope this helps. Sorry for my incoherence. It's late in the day
and late in the week, and that's pretty deadly...

Leslie Dreyer Kalra
AT&T Bell Labs
Allentown, PA

From: torsqnt!!bill (Bill McSephney )

Read about "mkbookinfo".

From: pdn!twilight! (Brooks Cutter)

I just cat'd all the card catalogs into a single file, started navigator
with the -c flag pointing to it, and then clicked on the Modify Library

Yes, by default answerbook doesn't start with all the answerbook

From: Paul Kranenburg <>

This can be done. You need a couple of utilities to merge the top-level
books (SUNWab_1_4 and SUNWab_18_1 in your case). These utils will come
with my soon-to-be-released navigator for Non-NeWS X servers.

There are a couple of snags though: 1) you will have to construct the
new top-level book index file by hand (an example of this file can be found
in ~AB/sr_index/ascii.xtoc) making shure to have unique ID's for every
entry. 2) It is quite possible that searching won't work for one or both
merged books (until now, I've never looked into the search mechanism).
3) The book entries in the `bookinfo' file must also be unique. You could
potentially work around this by renaming all book directories and recontructing
every book index file in addition to the collection index as described in 1).
Normally, you would not expect name clashes between the base system Answerbook
and any subsidiary (as Sun calls them) Answerbooks.

Solaris 2's answerbook also comes with a utility to merge books based on
some other kind of (undocumented) navigator/docviewer options. It is also
subject to the same unique-bookname constraint.


Todd Pfaff                       \  Internet:
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering   \    Voice: (416) 525-9140 x2902
McMaster University                \     FAX: (416) 572-7944
Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA  L8S 4L7  \

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