Big Brother 2006 RSS feed that actually works

The Big Brother rss feed I created with Feed43 didn’t work. Although the feed seemed OK if you went and checked it, and although it presented very nicely when it did work, it never seemed to update on Bloglines, giving an error signal for days on end before spluttering into life again. No good and it seems I am not alone. I experimented with a few other screen-scraping feed creators:

  • FeedYes which is scarily automatic and therefore bordering on easy to use. It works and updates, which is important, but would repeat the headlines in the description, which is not too much use as Big Brother use rather obtuse headlines. The Feed43 also let me put the day and time of the event in the feed (e.g. Day 12 9:30) which FeedYes didn’t. Ok if nothing else worked, but otherwise poo. To be fair, I would certainly try it on other web pages, just not this one. Feed:
  • FeedTier which is even more shockingly easy to use and managed to get the correct stories with no configuration at all. However, it only gives headlines and it bizarrely formatted the feed title as Big+Brother+-+the+official+Big+Brother+UK+website+from+Channel+4 in the rss feed: there was option- unless I missed it- to change the feed title. In all, no good. Feed:

I therefore had a go at doing it myself using PHP and a couple of regular expressions, and managed to make a feed identical (in output if not in XML coding) to the Feed43 one. And it works. Feed: After doing this I wonder whether Feed43 will really have a market as the sort of people who can make sense of terms like ‘whitespace’ and symbols like {*}, {_}, and {%} will probably be OK doing their own exactly as they want it with a little code and a regular expression.

3 thoughts on “Big Brother 2006 RSS feed that actually works

  1. Agreed on feed43 having no future. What you *actually* want is something which shows you the page and says “select a title”, then “select the text that goes with it”, then makes you do it again two or three times, and then *works out the regular expressions for you and doesn’t bother to tell you what they are*. Of course, that would actually be hard and therefore people won’t do it…

  2. Yes, but it is hard to configure without paying for it: the basic automatic feed has all sorts of nonsense in like the BB privacy policy and rules. In any case, the feed you created is just headlines, which was my problem also with FeedYes and FeedTier.

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