The Output Channel for Summer 2009


Welcome back to the Output Channel: a relatively regular review of what’s shakin’ in the Bricolage ecosystem. If you have submissions or corrections that you’d like to see included in the next issue, please e-mail them to


As always, it's an exciting time in Bricolageville. In case you missed it: in early May our fearless leader -- David Wheeler -- migrated the Bricolage source code to GitHub. He details the grueling experience in this blog post. Thanks to the effort, we now have easily-editable Wiki pages, pretty network graphs, and -- most importantly -- the ability for you to fork the project and get hacking.

If you're not familiar with the Git version control system, or working with GitHub, fear not. David has also written up a number of dead-simple how-to articles on getting started. Specifically, be sure to check out: Working with Git, Contributing a Bug Fix, Working with Branches, and Merging with Git.

As if that wasn't enough, David also managed to find time to develop a new Bricolage API browser using jQuery and Pod::Simple::XHTML. Goodbye iframe, hello fancy jQuery tree menus and cross-browser compatibility. If you haven't had a chance to take a look recently, you should definitely check it out.

Bricolage news and projects of note

Okay, so I'm stretching the concept of a "summer" edition with this Output Channel newsletter (or winter for those of us down south). Rest assured, the tardiness is not for lack of exciting things to write about! In this edition we have: all kinds of template-related goodness, a two-part series on things to love (or hate) about Bricolage, new site announcements, "Tweeting" from Bricolage, and much, much, more. Read on and get involved.

  • Announcing Template::Declare::Bricolage: Looking for a way to generate XML for the Bricolage SOAP interface, but hating all the options out there? If so, you're in luck. In June, David developed a helpful new CPAN module for just this task. The example that David uses in his blog post about Template::Declare::Bricolage is to parse an incoming NewsML feed, turn individual stories into Bricolage SOAP XML, and import them into Bricolage. Sound familiar? Thanks again, David!

  • At long last! Media Templates: Shortly after the last edition of the Output Channel, long-time Bricoleur Paul Orrock from Digital Craftsmen developed a patch for Bricolage 1.10.X that provides the much-requested ability to have templates for media assets. With some luck (or with some poking), we'll see that functionality committed to the 1.11.x branch.

  • Upcoming Job Manager improvements: Not to be outdone, Bricolage's friend at the World Health Organization -- Mark Jaroski -- developed a number of improvements for Bricolage administrators in the form of improvements to the functionality and user interface of the Bricolage Job Manager. And, as all "good" developers should (hint, hint), he's working hard to ensure these improvements make their way back to the Bricolage community.

  • One hundred things to love (or hate) about Bricolage: Never one to turn down an opportunity to self-promote, I would be remiss to not mention two wildly popular blog posts penned by yours truly. Ten things to love (or hate) about Bricolage and Ten things to love (or hate) about Bricolage Part II are light-hearted responses to similar posts out there in the blogosphere like: Why I hate Django, Why I hate Drupal, and 10 Things I Love/Hate About Movable Type. Given that every Bricolage user and developer must have at least five pet peeves, and five compliments, about Bricolage -- why not pen your own version on this topic? Send us a note about your posts to and we'll profile them in the next edition.

  • On the topic of blogging, I should note that the folks at the Enlightened Perl Organisation have launched a great excuse to get your own blogs fired up, called the Iron Man Blogging Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to to promote the Perl language, and encourage more people within the Perl community to promote the language to the world outside the Perl echo-chamber. Currently, there are over two hundred individuals who have joined the challenge. Posts range from the political to the technical, from serious to just plain fun (or funny). Take a moment to add your blog to the Iron Man Blogging Challenge today.

New sites and Bricolage sightings

  • The Tyee: The long-time, Bricolage-powered, daily-news destination spent the last year re-designing and re-factoring their award-winning site. The site was re-launched in June, with a new design courtesy of Biro Creative, a new Bricolage-to-Drupal integration module, and a refreshed Bricolage back-end developed by David Wheeler and Echo Ditto.

  • International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX): The team at Pectopah have done it again: launching another content-heavy, multilingual, Bricolage-powered site for the International Freedom of Expression Exchange. The site, launched quietly earlier this year, is home to thousands of documents covering freedom of expression violations around the world, each containing rich meta data and translations into French and Spanish.

  • Roger's And, not to be outdone (by themselves), the folks at Pectopah just re-launched the Roger's site with a fancy new look and feel on Bricolage 1.10.7. Bret says "Key features include football, baseball, basketball, and hockey" (as well as more than 70,000 stories in the system as of June 1, 2008).

Templates and tutorials

  • Upgrading from 1.10.x to 1.11.x: Thinking about upgrading from Bricolage 1.10.x to the newer 1.11.x development version? If so, there's a great conversation -- full of tips, tricks, and advice -- on the users mailing list. Not on the users mailing list? Subscribe today.

  • Tweeting from Bricolage: Twitter -- the 140-character, micro-blogging phenomenon -- is all-the-rage these days. So it would stand to reason that you would want to "Tweet" whenever new content was published to your site via Bricolage. Historically, this would have been accomplished by using your site's RSS feed. However, that approach has some problems, not the least of which is that the RSS summary of your content gets truncated at 140 characters. Thankfully, our friend Iván Chavero at The University of Chihuahua (Mexico) has put together a helpful utility template to make it possible for Bricolage to "tweet" when new content is published, which provides the added benefit of letting the content author compose a summary specifically for Twitter. You can find the template here.

Miscellaneous stuff

That’s it for this month’s issue. Remember, if you have submissions or corrections that you’d like to see included in the next issue, please e-mail them to

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