ralphm's blog

Wednesday, 6 November 2002

Staying up-to-date

I've been quite busy lately, but mostly studying. In the few spare moments I have been working on a little new project. Jabber related of course. In my blog there have been a few mentions of Jabber news notification services like JabRSS and janchor. Also, I have been playing with e-mail to Jabber gateways like JabberSMTP.

But they have a few things I dislike. First of all how these notifications of fresh news or e-mail take place:

Using <message>s of type headline.
Works when your jabber client has support for this message type, but when you are offline, the messages are discarded by the Jabber server.
Using normal or chat messages.
Works with all jabber clients and gets stored offline by the Jabber server when you are offline. The notifications are then sent to you at the moment you get online.

But both methods are not completely satisfactory (to me). I want to be notified only when I can be disturbed. And receiving 30+ messages on login isn't great either. So I need some gnanularity in how I receive notifications. Also, what to do with the notifications when I cannot be disturbed? After looking at Evolution I thought I knew what I wanted: some kind of overview page for all the news that has accumulated, but still with notifications when I am online.

Brainstorming a bit further I now have something in alpha testing with following components:

  1. An RSS aggregrator which publishes fresh news items to ...

  2. A preliminary Jabber publish/subscribe component (based on JEP 0024 (thanks DJ!))

  3. A perl script that receives published news items and stores them in a database. This script also takes care of notifying people of new items when they are online.

  4. A website for the overview page.

#1 is a hacked version of janchor for now that publishes the information to #2. Using publish/subscribe makes it possible to have things like blogs notify the system directly for updates in stead of having to poll. There are some things which are on my wishlist for this project:

  • E-mail notification.

  • To-do list and appointment notification.

  • Status updates from applications like PIKT.

In related news there was the announcement of Chandler, a cross platform Information Manager using Jabber as one of it's core protocols. There might be some overlap with my stuff, but that's ok. Just playing...

(When was the last time you used all HTML list types in one blog?)