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2shortplanks (968)

2shortplanks
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Mark Fowler has never been the same since he was elected leader of the London Perl Mongers. The strain manifests itself mainly in releasing various [cpan.org] modules [cpan.org] to CPAN, giving talks [2shortplanks.com], and use of the Trelane nick on #london.pm for endless procrastination. Doctors are still seeking a cure.
Sunday February 10, 2002
09:11 AM

Slash in the bath

[ #2750 ]
I really should get work to make me go home and have at least three baths a day. The reason? That's where I seem to do all my thinking.

This morning I was pondering next year's advent calendar. Yes, I know it's almost an entire year away, but actually it's only nine and a half months away, and hey, this project kinda is my baby... Anyway, if you heard my talk at the London.pm tech meet (which I must get round to uploading the slides, especially as acme kindly rendered them to PNGs for me) you'll know that I had a bit of a rush job last year. And the year before that. This year the plan is planning ahead. Or I'll probably end up rush it all at the end again anyway (only time will tell which I do.)

One of the things that I was planning to add to the advent calendar for 2002 is a comments section where people can post their opinions and experiences on the module. People seemed to like my summary of the module quite a bit, but I'm thinking that why should I be the only one to have my say? Much better to make it freeform so everyone can chime in.

Also this week I've been reading the ora slash book. Slash ... advent calendar with comment system ... slash ... advent calendar with commenting system ... Hello, McFly? Just. Use. Slash.

So, the idea is that I gut slash (sic) so that instead of showing the list of stories on the front page, it simply shows the 5x5 grid of doors that I've been using instead. Then when you click on these it takes you straight through to the story for that module. Excellent.

Using slash will also give me some nice extras for free. Firstly, I needed a framework to more efficiently serve my content. Slash uses templates from my templating system of choice (the one I used for the last two calendars, The Template Toolkit) directly out of a database. Job done. Secondly, I need to do some automated publishing this year rather than running the scripts by hand when I get back from the pub. Slash allows you to schedule stories to be published at a set time. Job done. Thirdly, I need a mechanism so that people who don't like using the web (yes, richardc, I'm talking about you) can have the calendar entries mailed directly to them. Slash uses can set up headline mailing. Job Done.

Fourthly I was going to provide better links to the rest of the community so that people that stumble onto the advent calendar know where else to go. With slash, I can take their RDF feeds and simply stuff them in slashboxes. Job done. Fifthly I was going create some form of XML RDF summary of the modules that I've picked sites and infobots can get at the data and access it directly. Slash does this automatically. Job done. Sixthly (this is getting silly now) I was planning to do some mad stuff to enable people to see what modules were picked from their mobile phone (I've also been reading Martin's Mosquito Book.) Slash automatically creates a WML summary of the stories too. Job done.

...and I'm going to stop there. I think I've convinced myself enough to cope with the overhead of installing slash on my server. Now I just have to see if this is all possible. I know some of the other members of London.pm run slash on high volume sites. Time to ask them about what to do.

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