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CTDATA Completes Content Syndication Support for Slash 0.4

CTDATA completed a preliminary version of an implementation of portald for Version 0.4 of the Slash Engine. This allows an administrator of a Slash 0.4 site to define a Slashbox to contain a continuously updated set of headlines from another Web Site. Headlines in RSS 0.9 and 0.91 formats are supported.

This brings the content syndication aspect of Slash 0.4 to feature parity with Slashcode 1.09.

As a result of this development, we plan to deploy a number of RSS Slashboxes on ctdata.com and rcnj.org in the near future.

Planned Enhancements

Enhancements to Slash 0.4 and the portald module are planned, beginning immediately. These include:
  • Channel link element support

    This will allow us to make the title of RSS Slashboxes into hot links that point back to the main page of the Web Site that created the RSS file.

  • backSlash block editor simplification

    We plan to improve the usability of the Slash 0.4 block editor. This is a feature that is used by the administrator of a Slash-based Web Site to components of the Web Page templates.

  • backSlash section editor modifications

    We need to make changes to the section editor to correspond with modifications to the data model necessitated by RSS support.

Controlling the Number of Headlines Displayed in a Slashbox

One of the issues that we are still grappling with is how to implement a control that the author can use to limit the number of items (headlines) that are displayed in an RSS Slashbox. RSS 0.9x provides support for up to 15 headlines, and displaying all of them in a Slashbox often takes up a great deal of vertical space on the right hand side of the home page or one of the section index pages.

We are considering these two options:

  • Setting a limit on the number of headlines at the block level.
  • Setting a limit on the number of headlines at the section level.
Update: While it would be nice to have a choice, we determined that the data model we are working with dictates that we limit the number of headlines at the block level. The block is the storage unit for recurring text elements of all kinds, and implementing some secondary limitation on this would require us to do some sort of translation on HTML.

A second alternative is to use the blocks table as a cache for RSS files and apply and XSL transformation whenever information stored in RSS is required. We simply do not have the expertise in XSLTs to know if this is viable, so we fall back on controlling the number of items at the block level.

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CTDATA Venutures (CTDATA) develops Internet and Intranet applications for corporations and non profit organizations. Our services include:

  • Consulting services for Movable Type and TypePad-based publishing systems (visit our Weblog Improvement website for more information),
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