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Based on your description, it sounds like what you've got could be generalized to generate a side-bar based on
any RDF feed (allthough maybe not ... I'm not sure where you're getting the comment counts, or topic/image -- since those aren't in the feed [slashdot.org])
"Porting to slashcode" would be very easy ... make it a command line perl script that can read the RDF file from disk, and write out a file in whatever format the side-bars are in, and it can be run as a regular "task"
As for getting people to help you rewrite it in perl, the folks over at PerlMonks [perlmonks.org] could probably lend a hand. If you submit a post that:
Not in the RDF feed to which you linked, but in the sitename.xml file. If you look at http://slashdot.org/slashdot.xml:
<title>Pioneer DVR-A05 Review</title>
The comment count as well as topic and image are listed. There's no absolute URL for the image, but with a Slash-based site, you could probably assume domain/images/topics/.
I don't see why the "sidebar" functionality couldn't be placed in a standalone script. If all you're doing is interpreting the XML and resizing images, you could just code a quickie script to run out of cron. Or perhaps make it a task for slashd, maybe after new XML/RSS/RDF files are written.
After seeing this post during the weekend, I coded up a quickie CGI [perldude.org] to take any slash-style XML feed and whip it into the format in Greedo's sample image. The whole thing is highly inefficient, as no images are cached locally, but it was just more of a POC for myself. Obviously, this would be a cool addition to Slashcode itself (or the slashd process), but it can be easily made into a server-side cron job or a standalone cgi/php page.
Apologies, Greedo, if I've violated any copylefts ;)
-- Kill-HUP.com [kill-hup.com], proudly running Slash since 1/28/2002.
Guess I'll have to revisit some of Kill-HUP's topic icons...
I did manage to get it down to a task capable of running under slashd. I opted to make it a separate task, as not to clutter the open_backend util. Makes it a great add-in, even for sites running "older" slash versions who aren't looking to upgrade.
If I get a chance to clean up the code a bit more, I'll be sure to post something.
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