Saturday, April 07, 2007

RSSing The 5th Wave

Many of us have heard of The 5th Wave, a weekly comic strip by Rich Tennant which usually appears in the papers on Sunday. Naturally, I enjoyed it. However, a certain question struck me - where is the RSS feed where I can view the cartoon every week in Google Reader? Indeed, there wasn't a RSS feed which I could subscribe to!

With some help from Dapper (read more it here), I managed to extract the relevant parts of the webpage which I needed and generate an XML file which could be manipulated.

Since I was not satisfied with the RSS generated by Dapper, I went to Yahoo Pipes, another data masher of sorts, and pieced together a RSS feed that gets data from the XML file.

Still not fully satisfied, I decided to write a simple PHP script that gets data from the XML file and outputs it in the exact format that I wanted.

Every week, when a new cartoon is published, the content from the Dapper XML feed will change and so will the corresponding RSS feed. Google Reader will then rely on this RSS feed and "adds a new post" for your viewing pleasure.

Thus, I have come up with 2 viable options:
- Yahoo Pipes RSS Feed for The 5th Wave
- Host your own PHP script to extract the contents

I also hope that through this post, I have demonstrated the usefulness of Dapper.

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