development & media



Initial thoughts on the weblog
My weblog is currently very basic. It takes a set of files located in a given directory and displays them on whichever page you put the proper PHP code on, sorted by date. Nothing very interesting there. It gets a bit more interesting (just a bit, don't worry) when you need to get files into those directories. I suppose you could just fire up your editor of choice and pound them out by hand, straight into the directory; you need to do all that typing anyway. You could put up a web form and type (or cut & paste) your text into a big text area. That's perfectly acceptable and probably the proper way to do things. But, I was getting bored with programming stuff like that all day at work, so that was out. So, I decided to go about things in a slightly roundabout way: submission by e-mail.

E-mail is one of the basic things most people can handle when using the internet. Those new-fangled web browsers with their submit buttons and drop-down menus and tiny text boxes can get confusing. Or something. But just about anyone can handle typing out a simple e-mail. So, with thoughts of people who lack a certain amount of "web savvy," as people who make more money than me call it, I set up a quick system that uses PHP's sparsely documented IMAP library to populate my weblog.

It's pretty simple at the moment. I address my e-mail to a particular e-mail address, put my entry's title in the subject preceded by the section in which that entry belongs (i.e., main, reef, etc.), and type my message out like any other e-mail. The system then checks the mail box every so often and if something is in there, it routes it to the proper directory and it's displayed on the right page.

I know, I know, there are tons of problems and holes in the system. I'm addressing them as I have time. Straight off, I set it up so as only to accept mail from me, but a sender's address is easily spoofed, so I have a bit more work to do there. Another thing I'm going to do is set up an approval system, so something isn't automatically added to the page without approval. Perhaps upon receiving an entry, the system will send out an e-mail to me with "Yes" and "No" links in them. That would go a lot of the way towards securing things up. Using some sort of encryption (i.e., PGP) is also something I'm considering, though that may complicate things a bit too much for the users, since encryption isn't normally something found by default in mail clients. There probably should also be a way to go back and edit stuff, or at least delete posts, too, especially since my Mozilla mail client doesn't currently have a spell checker installed.

Ok, I think that's enough for now. I'll post again when I get some more work done.

©2002 shrugsoft - got a problem with that? drop us a line katawosukumeru