Working in Cambridge cafe CB2

Lots of stuff happening here.

Earlier in the week, I’ve been getting WriteToThem to update more of its data automaticaly. Two volunteers contributed useful screen scrapers. Richard George’s gathers data from the Welsh assembly, and Jonathan Hogg’s screen scrapes the Scottish Parliament. They both spit out CSV files with representatives, constituencies and contact emails/faxes. I’ve now updated the script that can load in those CSV files, and set it all running once a week on cron. Along with another London Assembly scraper Chris wrote earlier in the year, and some code to get MPs from parlpase.

Today I’ve been doing other bits, including improving the link from WriteToThem to HearFromYourMP. When somebody has confirmed a message to be sent with WriteToThem, we know their email address is valid. So, why if they follow the link to HearFromYourMP do they have to confirm again? It’s bad user interface, and is probably reducing our signups to HearFromYourMP a bit.

The fix is to pass a signed email address through from WTT, and check the signature on HFYMP. The magic of hashes and shared secrets does the job.