Mobile Olympics News Aggregator


This latest mobile brainstorm of mine came as a direct result of a confluence of news that happened to catch my eye in the past 48 hours. First is the build up to the Athens 2004 Games which starts in just a couple days. Then there were several items about mobile tech and the Olympics, including this Daily Wireless update and a news item about NBC Olympic news on AT&T's mMode service. Add to this my last post about markup for the minibrowser and mix in Dave's great overview of Rome (a Java library for parsing RSS and Atom feeds) and I was like, "it would be so cool to crank out a mobile Olympics news aggregator..." Then I went to and typed in the most obvious name for a service like this I could think of, and low and behold. It was available!


Beautiful, no? "Moh-lympics" like "moh-blogging" and "moh-bility!" After mulling it over for the day yesterday, I pinged Erik and Matt last night (as per normal) and got their input and then just started cranking out the app in the most quick and dirty fashion possible. The pages are *insanely* simple - pure JSTL. Even the "NewsAgent" aggregator piece is just a Quartz process and some database calls. Rome - by the way - is pretty great to work with. We're talking 10 minutes from JavaDocs and Wiki site to me parsing both RSS and Atom feeds and popping the data in a MySQL DB. I have one table of "channels" and one table of "items" and I made the items' title column unique to prevent duplicates. No fancy logic here, man, there's no time!

I just finished cleaning up the site with XHTML-MP and made it look decent on both a mobile phone and for anyone who happens by the site with a web browser. I had the idea originally of creating some sort of WURFL-directed mini-sites for Web, WML and XHTML-MP, but I just don't have enough time to do all that, so I just went with the simplest version possible. In fact, to make sure you can follow the stories, I route all of the links through Google's XHTML parser so I didn't have to write some sort of translation tool. I was thinking of using jTidy, but this is so much easier. :-)

Matt found me a bunch of Olympics-based feeds and now the aggregator is up and running online. You should be able to hit the site from your phone's minibrowser (XHTML-MP/WAP 2.0) without problems and from the web. I've made a basic search page and included the latest 30 stories on the front page. That should keep anyone interested in the Olympics more than informed while reading on their mobile.



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