Monday, May 14, 2007

Getting your Oracle Forum posts as RSS

In my last post I said one of my "Top 10" wishes for OTN was to be able to get an RSS feed of posts by a specified member to the Oracle Forums.

At first it may sound a bit narcissistic to have a feed that allows you to follow what you have written yourself!

It was my exploration of Jaiku that prompted the thought. Since "presence" is their big thing, I've been experimenting to see what's its like to have Jaiku aggregate all your web activity. So far it looks really cool - I love the interface. Must say that I'm not sure how useful Jaiku may turn out to be in the long run ... I suspect it works best if you have a whole lot of your friends also using it. NB: the Jaiku guys are particularly focused on mobile phones. Its not something I've tried yet because I think it would be a bit ex from where I live.

So Jaiku was the catalyst for me thinking about getting an RSS feed of my forum posts. Recently I've been trying to make an extra effort to contribute to the forums; frankly, they've always seemed a little quieter than I think they should be. So seeing any forums posts I make highlighted on Jaiku should be one of the neat indicators of my "web presence".

Problem is, while you can get a web page that lists your recent posts, and you can subscribe for email alerts when authors post, I wasn't able to find a way of getting an RSS feed for a specific author's posts.

So I created a little perl script that scrapes the HTML and generates an RSS feed (using XML::RSS::SimpleGen). I've packaged it as a CGI program on a server I have access to. That's what I registered on my experimental Jaiku site, and it works like a charm.

Until Oracle build this feature into the forums, feel free to take my oracleForumRSS.pl script and experiment away. Its pretty basic, but is generic for any forum user and ready to go. Sorry, but I'm not hosting it for direct use by others, so you'd have to find you own server with cgi or convert it to script that spits out a static rss xml page instead.

Post-script: Eddie Awad blogged on the "Easy Way" to do this using Dapper. Very cool, thanks Eddie!

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