Is this feasible?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by Caezar, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. Caezar macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2004
    Between a rock and a hard place
    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 (, 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
  2. live4ever macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2003
    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
  3. Caezar thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2004
    Between a rock and a hard place
    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,, 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.
  4. demallien macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2005
    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...
  5. Caezar thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2004
    Between a rock and a hard place
    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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