[pmwiki-users] Email notification on a page change

Marco Ferretti marco.ferretti at gmail.com
Thu Mar 2 17:46:18 CST 2006

On Thursday 02 March 2006 23:44, Patrick R. Michaud wrote:
> Replying to myself here as I think further...
> On Thu, Mar 02, 2006 at 03:48:49PM -0600, Patrick R. Michaud wrote:
> > 
> > So, what we *really* want is to generalize MailPosts (which already
> > handles the "wait and batch changes before sending" aspect) so that 
> > it can handle arbitrary watch lists.  
> > 
> > And perhaps watch lists should be specified using pagelist parameters, 
> > [...]
> > But that might be too much work for the system to keep up with --
> > I'll have to think about it a bit.
> I'm not so sure it's so much work.  Originally I was thinking
> of implementing this with (:pagelist:), which is expensive,
> but if we just process the parameters directly then it's not bad
> at all.
> So, let's look at a model very similar to MailPosts except it's
> configured using a Site.NotifyList configuration page instead of 
> config.php.  If the page ends up containing email addresses, then
> it's read-only except to the administrator to keep the spam harvesters
> at bay (or perhaps the email addresses are simply obfuscated, which is
> very easy to manage in this case).
> This gets a little complex (because I'm just figuring it out as we go),
> so bear with me a bit here.
> First, the Site.NotifyList page contains lines that indicate the type
> of notifications people have indicated they want to receive.  The
> lines look like argument lists to pagelist (even though they're not),
> thus we end up with specifications such as
> 1.  Notify Alice of any changes to the site:
>         mailto=alice at example.com
> 2.  Notify Bob of any changes to pages in the "Books" group:
>         mailto=bob at example.com group=Books list=normal
> 3.  Notify Carol of changes to any of the pages listed on the
>     "Profiles.Carol" trail:
>         mailto=carol at example.com trail=Profiles.Carol
> 4.  Notify Dave of any changes to pages in the Skins category:
>         mailto=dave at example.com link=Category.Skins
> 5.  Notify Carol of changes to any pages that link to her Profiles
>     page, but don't send any messages more frequently than once per day:
>         mailto=carol at example.com link=Profiles.Carol squelch=86400
> The #3 option above, using trail=, becomes the mechanism whereby
> most non-admins can easily maintain a "watch list" of pages on which to
> receive notifications.  Essentially, we create an "?action=watchlist"
> that is used to add entries to the Site.NotifyList.  (Admins can of
> course edit the Site.NotifyList page directly.)
> Let's take the example where Carol wants to use Profiles.Carol as
> a watchlist trail.  Carol goes to the Profiles.Carol page, and adds
> "?action=watchlist" to the url.  This presents a form that asks
> her for her email address, and she submits "carol at example.com".
> (The form can also provide options to set the minimum time between
> notifications, the amount of time to wait after changes before
> sending a notify message, etc.)
> After Carol submits her form, PmWiki then generates a random key,
> and places the information about her requests into a file corresponding
> to the random key.  It also sends a message to carol at example.com
> containing a link back to the site containing the random key --
> i.e., something like
>     http://www.example.com/pmwiki?action=watchlist&key=1234567890
> When Carol follows the link, PmWiki knows that she successfully
> received the email message, so it can then add her request 
> (trail=Profiles.Carol) to the list on the Site.NotifyLists page.
> Note that Carol only needs to do this step once -- once she has 
> her trail on the Site.NotifyList page, she can subscribe or unsubscribe
> to pages simply by editing the Profiles.Carol page.  (Anyone with
> edit access to Profiles.Carol can change her list, so she might want
> to password-protect it.)
> Of course, any page can be used as a source trail for this, so if 
> Carol really just wants to watch the Books group, she could use
>     http://www.example.com/pmwiki/Books/RecentChanges?action=watchlist
> and go through the email verification process for that.
> So, that's the user-interface, what goes on behind the scenes?  Well,
> when someone saves a page, PmWiki goes through the Site.NotifyList
> page to find out which notify lines encompass the changed page,
> checking for a match of any list=, trail=, group=, name=, etc.
> options that happen to be present.  When it finds a match, it
> adds an entry in a .notifyposts (similar to .mailposts) file
> containing the page name, the time of the change, and the email
> address to be notified.  The email isn't immediately sent -- we
> just keep track that one is queued to be sent.
> Then, at random intervals (again, using a similar algorithm to what
> MailPosts uses now), PmWiki batches up the entries from .notifyposts
> and sends out email messages to whoever is supposed to receive them.
> It also "holds off" sending anything to someone who has requested
> delays between messages, or a minimum number of messages, or whatever
> batching criteria we want to add.  
> This seems like a pretty good approach, at least initially.  It
> gives us very flexible configuration of mailposts and per-user
> notify lists.  It also doesn't require a lot in the way of performing
> searches, and spreads the load of processing mailposts over many
> requests (and doesn't increase latency for visitors to the site).
> Comments, thoughts, for anyone who managed to get this far...?
> Pm

I must admit that I am positively impressed ! 
Unfortunately, I am a very freshmen of this tool so, in order to be of some 
help in coding, I'd have to get to know the tool better. Where can I go 4 
documentation that help me understand the way pmwiki works ?
I'd really like to help ( specially in this topic since I started it ) ...


p.s. : 
Patrick nice job with your experiments !

Excellent day to have a rotten day.
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