Dave Winer, you said. . .
>Now what would the format of the incoming message be?
I've been thinking about this a bit. I think it might be worthwhile to go
"whole hog" and do a e-mail responder framework; it's what I was going to do if
Userland didn't do anything. The first line of the e-mail (or maybe the
subject, though I think I want to reserve that for later) would be the
"responder name" that we want to invoke, and the rest of the message would be
handled by the responder. The tool could ship with some default responders, and
we developers could add more as we desired, much as RU works with the web.
I think it might also be good to parse "command-line arguments" for the
command, perhaps put them into a list the responder can get at, similar to
parsing GET or POST arguments.
An example Manila post command:
manila-post [manila website name] [optional password]
[the message to be posted, exactly as it will be posted]
The manila-post responder would be passed two things: The list of arguments (in
this case the site we are posting to), and a string containing the remainder of
the message. Presumably, we've already told manila-post what the website is,
so we don't need to send _all_ the website information.
The thing is for all the actions people might want to take, it's hard to define
a uniform interface.
MUOTD-add-channel http://[rss channel]
[message body ignored]
might add a channel into MUOTD remotely, even if you can't get to the website
behind a firewall.
For extra bonus points...
XML-RPC [optional XML-RPC version]
<methodCall> ... </methodCall>
Do we want a response? In general, I think we do. The responder should probably
be able to return a response, which the framework would mail back. So, the
XML-RPC handler would take the command, process it, convert the result into
XML-RPC results, and return that, which the framework would then e-mail back to
The other major feature that may not seem immediately useful, but would really
make this useful to developers is the ability to send e-mails with unique
things in the subject line and then make sure they are still there when the
e-mail comes back. I'm sure you've seen this when subscribing to a list; they
send you an e-mail with a unique subject so you the sender can be certain it's
not being faked. I have not fully considered how to do this yet, but it seems
The Right Thing.
(The use I have in mind for this is to allow people to e-mail my copy of Radio
Userland a password, so it can upload things to their site via FTP. I want to
make sure that when they reply, they are replying directly to my e-mail, not
just sending the system stuff in an attempt to crack it.)
Yeah, it's a little more complicated then the original manila-poster, but I can
think of a _lot_ of things we may want a responder for. (Interesting thought:
"Return all e-mail responders this copy of Radio Userland can handle", implying
some sort of registration system. If we want that feature, it needs to be in
at the beginning.)
I hate to restrict something this powerful, yet simple to use, unnecessarily.
(For use by The People, we might default the responder to be manila-post and
default the site posted to, so all this complexity condenses down to "Mail this
address and it will appear on your manila site" for people who don't care for
everything else that they might be able to do.)
>How about editing an item?
manila-get-message [site] [number or path] [password if so configured]
manila-edit-message [site] [same number or path] [password if configured]
[The message being edited]
"manila-get-message" just happens to return an e-mail that is already formatted
for sending to "manila-edit-message", which will post it. The easiest thing to
do is copy & paste that message (or reply, if you can convince your e-mail
program not to put quote chars on the reply), and just send it back. This would
Please forgive me if this is a bit grandiose... if userland doesn't do it, I'll
do at least part of this someday (though it will be a while, time is scarce
right now). I've got to for my own system, I might as well do it "right" the
first time so others can use it.
- Jeremy Bowers jerf@... http://www.jerf.org
- * Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom * -