I have in the past messed around with making Mozilla Sidebars. They are essentially a small browser window which work in conjunction with the main browser window in Mozilla (Netscape 6). Over the past week, I have vastly improved the scripts I had written for the Mozilla Sidebar. If you are interested you can see my work at my Mozilla Sidebar Installer page. Now that is somewhat besides the point, but it got me thinking today, wouldn't it be cool to have my LJ friends page as a Mozilla Sidebar.
Now the way the standard Friends page (at least mine and I have not played with styles in the least) is setup, is definitely not ideal for a Sidebar. For a Sidebar, you would typically want a list of links directing the main browser window to the real content. So what I started thinking was a Sidebar which would make a list of links, each link's text would contain the person who posted, and either the subject or the first X characters of the post.
With that idea in my head, I started trying to figure out how to accomplish this. I figured about the worst way to go about this would be grabbing the persons friends page, parsing it out, and redisplaying the information. But despite it being the worse way to go about things, I figured I would look at that first. All of the information needed is available from that page. It isn't formated in the most advantageous manner for machine parsing, though it could be done. Individual styles would definitely break any parser into many small unusable pieces unless there was specific information added in HTML to facilitate parsing.
Next I decided to look at what should be a better way of doing this, using the LJ Protocol. I hadn't ever really looked at the protocol documentation, and found it pretty easy to work with. Of course on further perusal, I noticed that it was definitely lacking in a mode to do what I wanted. I could quickly see if there were new friends entries, manipulate my own journal, but no way to grab in whole or part the list of friends posts.
Another possible issue I immediately thought of in regards to the protocol, is everything required authentication. In my mind, I had planned to write this script, put it on my site, and let anyone use it. I didn't expect to get the trust of anyone, and therefore didn't expect to actually have any password information. So I didn't want to authenticate to LJ for this process.
Well that is the idea that went through my head today, and what I did to explore it. I would really like to see a usable LJ Mozilla Sidebar, but either I am missing a way to implement this, or it would require server side intervention. What lengths someone will go to while they are supposed to be doing their job at work.