20th April 2018 — Adrian Cochrane

Incorporating WebData Into Templates

One of the best things about the Web is that you can take data from multiple sites and combine them into your own display, even if most people celebrating that fact are really trying to get you to improve the value of their silos for free. But nevertheless it was a feature I wanted to incorporate into Prosody. And today I drafted the code to make it work, in what is essentially Prosody bindings for LibSoup.

The syntax for this tag is very simple. It’s a block templating-tag where all the URLs listed upon executing it’s body are fetched for their results to be made available in a variable specified by the end tag. The HTTP requests occur concurrently (but not in-parallel) so the whole operation only takes as long as the slowest request. And if the data is XML or JSON it will be parsed by libXML or JSON-GLib respectively, and otherwise it will be accessible as a filepath. The latter case is mostly just useful for “attaching” SQLite files onto Odysseus’s active database connection.

Implementing this wasn’t really that hard, as all it needed was:

  1. For it’s parser to parse the rest of the template as a trailing “subtemplate”, so that a new variable could be added to it’s context.
  2. To keep a makeshift mutex (a.k.a. a counter of active HTTP connections) to determine when to execute that tailing subtemplate.

Why do I want this?

Most pressingly, I wanted to fill in gaps of the topsites with localized links I (or the people localizing Odysseus) would recommend to you. And this tag will allow me to fetch SQLite databases I provide on that GitHub pages site and load them into the local database. I promise this’ll only be a first-launch thing, so as to keep odysseus:home performant and to better protect your privacy.

But I could’ve done that without this tag. What I really want it for is when I’ll eventually implement builtin federated-search. Because then I’ll want to fetch search results from (compatible) sites you’ve registered with Odysseus.That’ll be hard to achieve without this tag.

@ 2018-04-20 23:15:30 +0000

Talk Page for Incorporating webdata into templates — Odysseus Development Blog