Ken Robertson (seadawg) wrote in lj_dev,
Ken Robertson

Idea for LiveJournal over email (calling it LJ-eGate)

For a long time now, I've wondered what I could do to help contribute to the LJ community, and finally I think I have come up with an idea...

I recently started a new job, and they are kind of strict about your web usage and like to monitor it, so I can't really get on LJ much. But they are really loose on email, since it is used so much. So why not write a program to let you access/use LJ through email? :)

I'm really kind of surprised that nobody has done this already, since I think many people would find it useful. I've already mentioned it to Brad, and he was interested in it, so if you all like the idea, I'll program it to use the LJ code and be run off LJ.

Here is a little layout of how I see it working...

It will work by setting up and email alias on LJ that will send incoming mail to the program. It will read it in, and then based on the subject, it will decide what it is supposed to do... i.e., if the subject is "postevent", then it will be making a new post... if the subject is "getevent" it will fetch an event's text and email it back...

The biggest issue with accessing LJ over email is security. a) How do we know that the person really sending the email is the user they claim to be. A From address can easily be faked, and not easily traced. b) We don't want the person to include their username/password in the body, since nearly all mail readers save sent email, that leaves their password sitting in plain text in a easily accessible location. Anyone could stumble upon it and see their password.

The best way to go around this is to use PGP encrypted messages when authentication is required. When the user activates the ability to post by email, have them give you their public key, so then when it gets the email and decrypts it, it will be able to know which user it is.

I plan on making it do more than just posting events... it would great if it could be a fairly decent frontend to LJ. Allow users to post, get events (including comments), automatically get new friends posts (when turned on), and maybe even post comments. Who knows.

I'd really like to work on this... my chance to do something useful for the LJ fokes and a project for my free time. :) I've already got it partially working... it received an email, decrypted it, then posted it to my journal through the web (same was as embedded journals).

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