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Patches and Matches







This is nothing about matches or regular expressions of any
kind, but it rhymed and was in a song I was listening to.
Anyway...

First of all, congratulations to Oz on the success of Sphinx;
if I've got it right, he's out at Linuxworld right now talking
about Sphinx and Sourceforce. Hope it goes well. There's been
a lot of very good coverage of Sphinx in the techno web press,
and I think we can all agree it's going to be an important
milestone in, for want of a better phrase, free speech.

Anyway, to business! :) From now on the collected patches will
be available from: http://www.infobot.org/patches
This has better bandwidth than me, and won't go away in August.
Many thanks to Oz for giving them a good home and giving me
the means to poke at it. I'll sort out links from the rest of
the site sometime soon.

I'm also extremely pleased to announce that the guys over at
Linuxhelp have got the latest version of the infobot up and
running with their SQL back-end. Cool beans! If there's any of
them listening, (and I know there is, because I have CC:.
Muhahahaha.) I don't want to put the wrong sort of pressure on
but it would be really nice if you could either feed me a patch
or provide a link to some information about what you've done; I
understand fully if you don't feel prepared to do this, but I
can't help feeling it would be easier for everyone (and
*especially* for upgrades and updates which may require sources
to change and hence break old stuff) if there was a single
source-and-optional-patches tree. We don't want to duplicate
work, and we don't want you to duplicate work either! :)
(Seriously, again, if you'd rather not, I honestly do
appreciate that.)

To directly contradict all that I've just said, I don't know if
we're yet at the point where we can start deprecating the old
bot. Certainly, the new one should be the primary focus of
development right now, and I'm hoping to run myself completely
out of business pretty soon. :)

Oz, how do you want to play this? We can either go for a gradual
phasing-out, carry on two separate development threads, (don't
like that much) or we could just *stop* work on the old one.
There's not much reason to work on it once 0.5 is as featureful.
Oh, and we could sourceforge it.

However, if you do still want to kick around with it, here's
me top 10 wish-list for what I'd like to see in the current 0.4x
bot before we wrap it up. I'll be randomly implementing some of
these as and when I get bored, so give me a shout if you want
to play with them:

     1) I don't want this to happen:
<foo> Simon?
<Simon> Yes?
<purl> Simon is a matter of fact, or a villian in a million.

How to avoid it: keep track of who's on the channel. (This is
an excuse to put some more user-defined hooks on IRC events)
On join : $whowhere{$channel.":".$person}++
On part/nick change: $whowhere{$channel.":".$person}--

Don't respond if not addressed and $whowhere{$channel.":".$query}

     2) Privacy on `seen', especially if spanning multiple
channels. Hint, this is bad:

<foo/#perl> purl, seen nou?
<purl/#perl> nou was last seen 3 hours ago on #hotsex saying
"whip me again with that leather vegetable!"

I suggest multiple levels: users should be able to say
`watch what I say and when I say it', `watch when I say something'
or `don't watch me at all.' Further, channels should have a setting
to state whether seen data is shared outside that channel.

     3) Channel-based databases I've been meaning to get around
to for ages.

     4) Ditto spanning multiple servers. The cheap hack we're
doing with purl could be better. This could be a big project requiring
some big source changes! Do not rush off and implement lightly!

     5) Anti-escaping. This is tedious:
purl, \what \I want is <reply>\why do \you ask \what \you want\?

and people get it wrong on a daily basis.

This is not:
purl, literal what I want => <reply>why do you ask what you want?

     6) Update documentation, POD on extension modules and maybe
autogenerate manual.

     7) Collect other cool tales of what people are doing with
infobots and write a web page with links.

Things we've discussed and everyone thought would be a nice idea
and nobody's done:

     8) CDDB interface
     9) CPAN i // or search.cpan interface
     10) Masque, you had a cool extension idea I was going to steal
but I've forgotten what it was.

Teckle, I have a patch for your timezone thingy (I think) so I'll
put that up soon. If you have a patch at hand, feel free to put it
up yourself.

That'll do for the moment, because I have just got a Perlix bug
report, meaning that the world is surely about to end.

Simon