8 March, 2004: Ars Gratia Artis

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(This is probably of interest to Cambridge people only.) I've written a little program that generates an RSS feed of the films showing at the Arts Picture House, Cambridge's only halfway decent public cinema. If you use an RSS reader, you might find this useful.

I've ranted about the deficiencies of RSS as a format before, so I won't repeat my complaints now. But I'm not really sure what the most useful way to present this information in RSS is. At the moment the feed shows information about any films which are showing in the next 24 hours and for which tickets are available, which means that the RSS feed is the answer to the question `what can I go and see at the cinema this evening?' or something like it. Each film is represented by a single `item' which is marked up with a date corresponding to when the film is first shown (that is, all the items are in the future -- if this breaks common RSS readers, I'd love to know, since I wrote my own and am too lazy to test anyone else's), so that the films appear in the right order.

Anyway, I hope that this finds some use. Comments (especially simple suggestions for how to make the thing more useful) welcome (and thanks to Francis for already finding a bug in my comments program). You can also download the current version of the scraping program, artspicturehouserss, if you want to modify or improve it yourself.

Update: users of the Blog lines aggregator can follow this link to subscribe to the feed.

Copyright (c) 2004 Chris Lightfoot; available under a Creative Commons License.