Patch for Result Sets

   Following on from an earlier email I've had a few responses from
people who were interested in this patch so I figured I might as well
post it to the list with a bit of explanation around it.

   The patch was initially designed to remove HTML from backend output
and return it in something a bit more flexible.  As I added this
functionality it rippled a bit, so that a few more bits and pieces that
had been mentioned on IRC as desirables came in to play.  To summarise,
the patch:

   - returns data from backends in a structured format, as a set of
   - standardises on HTML output in the current GUI
   - provides a way to return 'sub-results' (e.g. the GAIM backend
returns a given user as a result, with a set of recent conversations as
   - tags each field returned, paving the way for allowing users to
define which fields they want to display from a given backend
   - separates the backend from the GUI to allow future GUIs to be
written without touching backend code
   - timestamps results sets to provide a way of 'fading' data as it
   - provides categorisations for backend data to allow for grouping
(e.g. the 4 different bookmark backends all have the same category)

   Now for the bad news.  I haven't updated all of the backends to work
with the new output format, so they aren't all going to work
immediately.  The backends that have not been updated are:
regexpchainer, rhythmboxlibrary, ephybookmarks, addressbook, evomail,
and ephyhistory.  It doesn't take much to get them working, but I don't
have the required data to test these with so left them alone.

   If you do attempt to use this patch then please ensure that you clear
out all of your backend .dlls from your dashboard installation
directory, as older .dlls will cause problems.

   I do not suggest that this patch gets applied to CVS as it's a
relatively major change and if a 0.1 release is desired soon then this
is a bad patch, as it destabilises more than it stabilises.  That said,
I'd love to get some feedback from people on the patch, and think that
it would be great to hit CVS after 0.1 is out of the door.

   The patch is available at

Jim McDonald - Jim mcdee net

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