October 30th, 2002

  • deslea

An idea for a client

I have an idea for a client. I'm not a programmer (at least not an applications programmer, anyway) but I thought it may be something relatively easy to create just by tweaking a few things on one of the existing clients.

It all started with this support request. I know quite a few users in this situation - users with friends and family (and especially parents, grandparents, etc) whom they would like to be able to view their entries, but those people are just not net-savvy enough to find their way around their own accounts.

What would be wonderful would be if we could create a client that would display a particular user's entries, but with no capacity to edit them or to post. I know we can't summon friends' entries, but we could get them by having the application log in as the user.

But that's a security risk, right? Well, maybe not. What if there was some way the user could generate a password for this viewing client, derived from the real password and passed through an algorithm? And then it goes back through the algorithm before reaching LiveJournal? That way, the family member, or whatever, gets a password that works with the client, but without compromising the security of the account in any way not allowed by the client (ie, it doesn't let them log in at the site).

I think the biggest logistical problem for something like this would be that of working out how to limit access to entries - that is, something like this would probably want to include friends entries, but not private entries. Is there any way of working around that? Or would the user just have to accommodate that in their posting habits as a trade-off?

I know there are problems with this, but I think there is a certain range of users that could benefit. Do you think it's feasible? And, is anyone sticking up their hand to do it? It seems to me (in my non-programming opinion) that it could probably be done by adapting Visions Semagic, for instance, just by removing the posting/editing/etc options from the menu, changing the window size, and adding the algorithm. What do you think?