“Mitt Romney — who recently faced questions about his common sense for strapping his dog in its carrier to the top of his car during a 12-hour drive, causing the animal to defecate over his windshield — said the format is beneath his dignity.”—Republicans Terrified of YouTube Debate
Problem: I want to track water conservation notices in my county, but ncwater.org does not offer feeds or alerts of any kind. It only has static HTML pages generated via form input.
Solution: My very own NC Water Management Dapp. I can now consume notices about water restrictions in an RSS feed, NetVibes module, XML doc, email alert, JSON, CSV, and about seven other formats.
I’d toyed with Dapper before. It sounded like an interesting concept: point Dapper to similar pages, show it what inputs generated that page, tell it what output is important on the page, and choose an output format for the scraped data. Admittedly, I shrugged it off. Why would I want to screen scrape a site? Doesn’t everyone provide RSS/Atom feeds, email alerts, text messages, etc. these days?
How easy I forget that not everyone is so tech-savvy. I can thank Google for making me so naive. “What do you mean I can’t get service X delivered in format Y to my device Z?!”
Anyways, now I see how truly useful Dapper can be. I spent about fifteen minutes teaching it:
Three days off ahead. Time to cook some dogs and ‘burgs tomorrow, relax with Jackie and Zora. Then time to work on my thesis over the last two days of the week. I’ve spent entirely too much time hacking on mindtrove lately, but I’m happy with where it’s heading. I’m sure it has all sort of issues rendering in non-Firefox browsers since I haven’t had the willpower to enter the compatibility quagmire yet. But MochiKit sure is fun. :)
Now that the structure is decent, I think I’ll work on expanding the content, particularly the articles section. There are four on my wish list (+1 in my head) that I need to write down. It gets more important by the day as I start to forget all sorts of details about GNOME accessibility as PHP/JS/Dojo/Zend and Web accessibility start filing my head.
On the topic of forgetting, I just remembered that I still have some outstanding accessibility-related patches to commit for pyatk. They’re a first step toward making it possible for Python developers to implement accessible custom widgets (e.g., pycairo widgets). If you’ve got some free time and would like to hurry the work blocking meta bug #377642 along, please contact me.