Dabbling in Dapper

I finally was able to have a look at Dapper.net which is a free service that allows you to extract, summarise and redisplay information from other web sites in your own site or RSS reader.

The screencast on the Dapper site shows how easily it is to extract a customised list of video information dynamically searched from YouTube for example. I tested it on extracting Gold Coast tide times from the bom.gov.au site. I created a dapp, as each extraction is called, for an RSS feed at dapper.net/services/GCTides. The layout of the information isn’t perfect as I use the boating forecast link http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDQ17500.txt which serves a text file rather than a web page. Nevertheless each time the BOM issues a new boating forecast a new RSS feed item is generated with the up to date tide information and sun/moon rise and set. This is classic web page scraping but is so easy to set up in Dapper. Even RSS feeds themselves can be scraped.

No knowledge of programming or HTML is needed and I recommend Dapper will be worth a look.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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