November 6th, 2000

Lord Yupa

Techie stuff.

As I get more and more into XML, I'm finding it to be an extremely useful technology.

One thing I'm considering doing soon, is suggesting XML as an output format for exporting your journal. For those not aware of the feature, you can export your entire journal here (For example, if you wanted to save all of your journal entries to your hard drive). Right now, however, the only available export format is CSV (Comma Separated Values).

I can't help but think setting an XML export format would be reasonably trivial. Heck, even with my still fairly limited XML knowledge, I could prolly whip up a CSV to XML converter within a few hours. (Longer if I did it 'right' and interfaced an XML processor library, less if I just did a straight textual conversion.)

You may be wondering why I would want to do this. Well, XML is growing very rapidly in popularity. It's a great format for information exchange. With some fairly simple programs, or even with a definition file, as some of the XML transformation schemes mature, you can easily convert XML into other formats. Prolly the best example is the XML version of DocBook. DocBook is a special markup language, very similar to HTML, that you can use to write documents, books, etc, in. Once you have a book written using DocBook, you can convert it into about a dozen different formats, including: text, HTML, LaTeX, dvi, pdf, and more.

One thing I eventually want to do is set up my own private journal thingy on my own server. However, I'd also like to continue using LiveJournal, as I consider it a great service. By using XML as a format, I could set it up so that my entries were published to my own site, and also simultaneously sent to LiveJournal. Heck, I might even be able to set it up to publish them on, another (more technically oriented) journal/diary site, too.

An example of this is available from advogato, which allows exporting of a person's journal in XML. To see an example of my old journal (which hasn't been updated since I found LiveJournal. ;-), check out here.

If they have a DTD created for this, LiveJournal would be wise to either use it, or base theirs on it, so we can keep them halfaway compatible.
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