Great Joy! For someone I imagine. Such are the tails of toil and sorrow for this to have come to pass. Well, ok, maybe not. But given that I couldn't find anything that worked the way I wanted, I did end up writing my own script to build the RSS file.

The single biggest problem with all the RSS generators I found is that they are all blogging systems. Which is all fine and good. Doubly so since this opinions section of my site is basically a blog. Don't call it that, since I was doing this before the buzzword, and I don't update it that frequently. Which is the first bit that rather eliminated most of the blogging software. They all seem to be designed around the idea of tons of tiny updates.

It takes little effort to see I don't work that way. Look at the index for these opinions of mine. I seem to average about five a year. So getting a system that is designed to handle multiple a day just seems like over kill.

Next, and by far the biggest, issue is static rendering. My site is static pages. I have a bunch of scripts that twist all of the files into the static html pages. I like doing things this way, and I could make all sorts of arguments about caching and stuff. (but i won't here.) But really, the reason I stick so hard to static pages, is that the cpu on my web server cannot handle the load of cgi scripts. (Yes, it is that old. but it works.) And besides, it is rather fun to find ways to avoid using cgi scripts.

Anyways, I need static rendering support, and I only could find one blogging software that did that, blosxom. Thing is, that it really only does the static rendering as an after thought. The main package does a rather decent job of it, but most plugins don't take it into consideration. And though I did try to tweek and fix things up, it got to the point where I would be doing less work to just write my own.

Then the last and equally big issue, was what I wanted to appear in the RSS listing. I wanted the RSS file to mostly be a listing of what bits of my site where most recently updated. This means that it needed to cover these opinion bits, the stories I write, recipies I post and bits of code I upload. Now regular blogging software basically requires you to write a seperate entry in addition to the pages you upload. And me, I'm lazy in an odd way.

I think it is way too much work to do that kind of double uploading. But somehow I'm conviced that writing code to scan and parse over the files to my site and build a list of the latest updates is less work. (It is unquestionably more fun to write the scripts.)

It was interesting to see some of the choas of my site building this script. Of most intrest, was all the differest forms that the created dates are in. (I keep a bit of info in each source page of when I created it. You can see this if you look in the meta headers of the rendered pages.) Most of the many many date forms were handled ok by the time object. However, when we got to the really old pages that are marked as "Sometime 1997" it rather gakked. I thought it was interesting anyways.

I've got the script mostly done. There are a few inportant tweeks that need to be done yet. Firstly, I still don't have a good way of getting the updates out of the projects section. Secondly, I need to do something about the way that it grabs the starting bit. Right now it grabs lines up to either the 10th line or the first </p>. Which seems to work for most things, but breaks on a few.

Mostly there are a couple pages where the first paragraph is one line, and I'd like to grab some more there. And grabbing the first ten lines of the recipes just doesn't work. All just tweeks I need to make sometime.

But all in all, I finally have something that lists the lastest updates to this site. Though I suppose I should build a html version of it someday. Oh well.