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Old Jul 19, 2006, 12:06 AM   #1
Caezar
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Between a rock and a hard place
Is this feasible?

I am by no means a serious programmer (which will become evident as you read this very message), except that I use VBA almost daily to automate Excel spreadsheets.

I do enjoy programming however and the only thing that prevented me from learning a language other than VBA is the lack of a project. So far, I was not sure what I would do if I knew how to program in C++.

I now feel the need to develop a small program for myself. As the alumnus of a US university, I have a free subscription to Factiva (www.factiva.com), which gives me online access to virtually all newspapers, magazines, etc. using a normal internet browser.

The bad thing is that I can only access the articles one by one. I wish I could pick a magazine (let's say The Economist), download automatically all the articles for the most recent publication and finally combine and format them in a single Word document. This way, I will be able to print the magazine and read it on my way to the office.

Now my questions:
- is it legal? (I do have a subscription to Factiva. I do not intend to distribute the printouts)
- If so, is it feasible?
- If so, which language would enable me to perform these tasks?

Caezar, aspiring geek
Taiwan

Last edited by Caezar; Jul 19, 2006 at 12:40 AM.
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Old Jul 19, 2006, 01:18 AM   #2
live4ever
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I do this all the time with scientific journals - the tools are already in available.

1-get all the PDFs downloaded to a folder and numbered
I use Firefox with DownThemAll! extension
2-use Automater to combine the PDFs into one file
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Old Jul 19, 2006, 01:32 AM   #3
Caezar
Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Between a rock and a hard place
Quote:
Originally Posted by live4ever
I do this all the time with scientific journals - the tools are already in available.

1-get all the PDFs downloaded to a folder and numbered
I use Firefox with DownThemAll! extension
2-use Automater to combine the PDFs into one file
I am not sure it is so easy:
- the articles are accessible through a link and shown as text on the webpage and are not contained in a separate pdf file, just like on Reuters, NYTimes.com, etc.
- each publication contains probably 50+ articles. I would like the application to populate the list of articles itself and copy them one by one, instead of having to select them manually.
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Old Jul 19, 2006, 03:35 AM   #4
demallien
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caezar
I am not sure it is so easy:
- the articles are accessible through a link and shown as text on the webpage and are not contained in a separate pdf file, just like on Reuters, NYTimes.com, etc.
- each publication contains probably 50+ articles. I would like the application to populate the list of articles itself and copy them one by one, instead of having to select them manually.
Realistically, your best bet would be to go with a scripting language, such as Ruby, Python or Perl.

If you have an index page that links all of the articles, all you have to do is download the index in your app, parse the html to find all the links, and then download those links as well, saving all HTML downloads to disk...

A guru could probably do that for one specific site in about a day. If you have to learn the language, and have little experience with http, you'd better expect this to be taking up your weekends for a couple of months... But in response to your question, yes, it is feasible...
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Old Jul 19, 2006, 03:42 AM   #5
Caezar
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Between a rock and a hard place
Quote:
Originally Posted by demallien
Realistically, your best bet would be to go with a scripting language, such as Ruby, Python or Perl.

If you have an index page that links all of the articles, all you have to do is download the index in your app, parse the html to find all the links, and then download those links as well, saving all HTML downloads to disk...

A guru could probably do that for one specific site in about a day. If you have to learn the language, and have little experience with http, you'd better expect this to be taking up your weekends for a couple of months... But in response to your question, yes, it is feasible...
Thanks a lot! If I am not mistaken, I cannot develop in XCode with any of these languages, can I? What kind of (free) IDE should I use then?
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