Dapper: Give the Web an RSS Makeover
It’s 2008, why doesn’t every single page on the web offer an RSS feed? We have no idea, but we do have a nifty workaround — Dapper.net. Using Dapper you can set up your own page scraping tool to gather data even when a page doesn’t offer an RSS feed.
Dapper is a free web app that can scrape just about any page and combine the data into a variety of output formats — raw XML, RSS, JSON and even customized widgets for Google, Netvibes and more.
Using Dapper is dead simple, just point it to a page and then tell it which bits a data you want to collect and how you want them displayed. The level of customization in setting up your custom feed is what sets Dapper apart from other players like FeedYes or Feed43. With Dapper the input options are pretty much limitless. To see Dapper in action, check out the screencast.
So, you’re thinking, why do I need this? It’s true, most good sites have RSS feeds, but not always for every single page (search results pages often lack RSS feeds) which is where Dapper can help.
Other possibilities include pulling Flickr images straight to a Google Map or put a feed through a translation engine and then subscribe to the results. There’s even a Firefox plugin called Dapper Fox which allows you to see any feeds other Dapper users have created for a page — you might not need to do anything other than add their feed to your reader.
If you want to get really fancy you could combine Dapper with something like Yahoo Pipes to mash-up all sorts of feeds and spit out the results in nearly any format you want.
So stop worrying about sites that fail to embrace RSS and just scrape their data yourself using Dapper.
[via Download Squad]