Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Using RSS to produce New Books Lists

For a couple years I've been producing a weekly list of new books and another list of journals that have been received during the past week. Using an expect script, I scheduled a CREATE LIST on our Innovative Interfaces system to run on Sunday nights. The output of that list was sent to me by E-mail. I saved the contents of the message as a text file and used a perl script to convert the list to html. I mailed the html file to myself and pasted it into the web page. This all worked fine except when I wasn't in the office, as in this semester, I'm teaching a course on Monday mornings.

The past couple days I've modified the process. I wrote a shell script that calls the expect script and saves the output to a text file on the server. It then calls a perl script to convert the text file to an RSS file. I inserted a java script developed by Alan Levine (of Maricopa Community Colleges) that reads the RSS file and inserts it into the New Books and Recent Journals web pages. Now the whole process runs daily without my intervention.