Hi, I'm Chris Moyer's Blog.

Dead Simple Photo Blog by Email :: AutoBlogger

Goal: Live up to my photoblog's name, Proudestfather, by updating it with adorable pictures on a regular basis.
Plan: Whip up a quick perl script which will take emails from an email account, parse, create thumbnails, and generate static HTML.
Results: Download Tarball — Anonymous SVN (svn co svn://inarow.net/trunk/autoblogger) — Proudest Father

With this in mind, I decided to implement this project in perl, for several reasons:

  • Familiarity with several CPAN modules for handling email
  • A desire to dig further into Template-Toolkit, after playing around with catalyst.
  • An expectation that most of the project would be manipulating strings.

With this in mind, I set out to complete this project in an evening…

 5:30	Start

 5:35	README and templates/index.tpl created

 6:00	AutoBlogger::Post.pm created

		This involved learning some basics about perl objects.

		Experimented with Class::Std and h2xs to make a Module

		Went with a very simple class

 6:10	Made autoblogger.pl and it takes arguments

		Found GetOpt::Long and applied it

		Verifies that pop credentials are passed

		Verifies that you give it a publish and storage directory that exist


 6:15	Mail::POP3Client chosen and installed		

		Net::Pop3 doesn't seem to do SSL


 7:10	Pop Harness in place, need SSL

		Done putzing with IO::Socket::SSL, took a while to make CPAN install it properly

		Throw in a debug_tell() sub that takes a message and optional importance


 8:15	Start framework for parsing mails

		Add --rebuild and --nopop to support testing

		Man, getopts makes that easy

 8:50	Ok, now I have lots of command line args, write a usage()

		Currently, the script:

			logs in to pop

			downloads emails	

			parses them out to find date, text and image

		Time to refactor.


				Raw MIME message archived

				Ability to just rebuild index, a single month, or all

				Don't recreate images when rebuilding, unless size changes	


				Break storage/ into months (storage/200712/)

				Put messages in their own folder



							MIME::Parser files


 9:50	Ok, that's rewritten and tested.  

		Onto writing out an index.

10:40	Rewrote it so that the AutoBlogger::Post class takes the storage directory for 

			the email in the constructor, and builds the object around this.

		Now to have it ensure that the thumbnails are there.

Snack time.  Hmm, pretzels.	 Housework, exciting!

12:15	Start and finish thumbnailing, make the size optional.  This goes quickly with GD.

		File::Copy::Recursive is needed to move the MIME::Parser files into their target 

			storage directory (mainly because I happen to have /home and my docroot on 

			different partitions)

12:40	Tweaks, debuging... w00t!  index.html is there.		

Ok, time for some Kingdom of Loathing turns.  (http://www.kingdomofloathing.com/, give it a try)

 1:30	Back


 1:40	Refactor out the index into a do_file

 2:00	Apply that to the archives

 2:50	Test, tweak template, site up with 2 downloaded posts, index and archive!

At this point, the project is working and ready for a beta release! Quite an evening, but good results. I'm sure I'll push out updates. I want to support passing in a date in the body of the message, for importing older posts. I did take the time to create some usage details.

autoblogger.pl [args] path-to-storage path-to-published-site

-v [--verbose]      Verbose mode

-h [--host=]*       Pop Host

-u [--user=]*       Pop User

-p [--pass=]*       Pop Password

-s [--ssl]          Use SSL

-n [--nopop]        Don't get newmessages

-r [--rebuild=]     Rebuild output index,200708 or index or 200708 or all

-i [--indexsize=]   How many posts on the index

-e [--extension=]   Extension for output html (default html)

   [--tmp=]         tmp directory (defaults to /tmp

   [--thumbsize=]   thumbnail size (defaults to 150x150)

   [--fullsize=]    full image size (defaults to 800x800)

   * required

Back to Blog Home »