The way it worked before I modified it (or at least some of it) was it would immediately print out whatever it was working with. Now personally I'm not too happy about this because I prefer to calculate it all (or at least entire sections) before sending it out all at once. In order to do that I had to tell the called functions they would be returning strings, but the builtin functions didn't want to change that. I had to create complete alternative functions in order to get it to work.
After I finally got all that working again I told my entries function to use lj-like tags when it printed out community and user names on the friends page. You can look at my friends page to see for yourself.