[amsat-bb] rss feed

Joseph Armbruster josepharmbruster at gmail.com
Sun Apr 12 10:38:55 PDT 2009


The purpose of this email is to find out if anyone at Amsat would be 
interested in a satellite status rss feed.

I am reasonably new to Amsat (and sat stuffs) and thought it would be 
useful to have satellite summary and mode data available in an xml 
format.  I felt RSS combined with some custom amsat tags would be a good 
fit.  It would essentially be a regular rss feed (xml file) that will be 
extended with some amsat specific tags for satellite summary and mode 
data.  This data could then be used by the community for obtaining 
satellite status updates if they'd like.  This would definitely be a 
nice resource for anyone in the community, especially developers.

To date, i've mentioned the idea to Andrew G and David J and both have 
seemed open to have open arms to the idea (Andrew / David, correct me if 
i'm wrong :-))  I wanted to open this idea up to others at Amsat.org in 
order to get more input.

There are probably quite a few challenges here, including:

A) Determining where all the sat status data originates and figuring out 
how it should all be aggregated
Notes: Andrew indicated there is quite a bit of manual work that takes 
place to obtain this data and make it available on amsat.org.  I haven't 
solved this problem, I still need to do my homework here :-)

B) Determining the format of the amsat specific tags to be used in the xml
Notes: I mentioned the idea to Andrew G. and David J briefly over email 
and started proposing some ideas.  I attached a sample rss xml file to 
this email.  This is by no means comprehensive or complete, but simply 
exists to provide some insight into what the custom tags could 
potentially look like.  If i've left anything out that may be of 
interest, please let me know.

C) Getting all the data into the RSS feed to start out
Notes: I created a python script that walks through all the amsat.org 
satellite status pages and scrapes the summary and mode data.  It then 
aggregates it all into a text file for now.  I can very easily use a 
template engine to get this data into the rss xml format, once it's 
agreed upon.  This should drastically reduce the amount of effort to get 
this feed started.

To give everyone on the list an idea of what i'm talking about here I 
attached both the sample rss file and status.txt file generated by my 
script.  The status.txt file as I mentioned is just what the "scraped 
out" data looks like.  This file would then be translated into the final 
rss xml format to get things started.  If you have any questions or 
comments, do not hesitate to contact me.  The main question I would like 
to have answered by the community are:

1) Is anyone in the community interested in an rss feed like this?
2) Would anyone have a use for sat summary, mode and keps data being 
provided in such a way?

Let me know,
Joseph Armbruster, KJ4JIO
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