March 10, 2006

Feed For Free

A new service has been launched which lets you create feeds from any HTML page on the internet. Feed for Free (Feed43) was launched on the 4th of March and can be used for an infinite number of things.

Since IMDB does not send out any feeds, I though I might try to get some feeds from their pages. Feed43 is still in its alpha stage so a lot of things are not as good as you would like them to be, but it's great. Also it is restricted to the top 20 search results.

I made live feeds for two pages from IMDB. One was the Top 250 Rated films of all time and the other was the Top 50 Rated movies from 2000's.

This is what I came up with :IMDB Top 20 and Best "2000s" titles

Looks good. You bet.

Now for a small tutorial in case you are interested. This one is for IMDB Top 20.

1. Go to Feed43 and create a login id.

2. Click on "Create your own feed"

3. For the first step, enter the URL of the web page. In our case it is: "" and click on "Reload"

4. It would load the HTML source of the page in green.

5. From the web page, we can see the line above the names is something like "Top 250 movies as rated by our users". So we search for the string in the HTML source.

6. Step Two of the process, it to specify where would the feed be found. There are two things we need to take care of. The first is which part of the page contains the required values. The second is to find the replicating lines between the required values. In case you are still confused, the help is pretty good.

7. Two operators would be used which we need to learn. {%} is used for data that is required, and {*} is for data that is not required. That is all we need.

8. Now to specify where the feed would be found, we type "{*}<h1>Top 250 movies as voted by our users</h1><I>For this top 250, only votes from regular voters are considered.</I><p><table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4">{%}</table>" in the "Global Search Pattern".

9. In the "Item (repeatable) Search Pattern", we add "<tr bgcolor="{*}" valign="top"><td align="right"><font ><b>{%}.</b></font></td><td align="center"><font >{%}</font></td><td><font ><a href="{*}">{%}</a> ({%})</font></td><td align="right"><font >{%}</font></td></tr>"

10. On clicking Extract, we are able to see the different values.

11. Now we just need to define the Output format.

12. I added "IMDb Top 20" for the "Feed Title"

13. "" for the "Feed Link", which comes automatically.

14. Now we need to define the template for the RSS.

15. I added "<tr><td>{%1}</td><td>{%2}</td><td align="center">{%3}</td> <td>{%4}</td> <td>{%5}</td> </tr>" in the "Item Content Template"

16. Click on "Merge all items into single one, optionally applying global template" and add "<table border="3" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="6">{%}</table>" this in the box

17. Now just press Preview and you're done.

If you just think about the uses we could put this thing to, you'd realize that it could be realy really big. Just couple this service with rss-to-javascript, you could have a an almost read time data on the highest grossing movies every week. If you couple it with technorati, you could have a JavaScript updating your Technorati rank on your page. More so, you could even get cricket scores on your web page without much problems.

Pretty cool, eh.

Do send me the links if you create ant new ones.

And while I am at Technology, do take a look at this compilation of free softwares by BotHack.

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