Categories
Technology

Your home-made Google search apparatus

Google coop has been their platform to solicit public participation in refining the Google search results. The latest addition to the stable is the Customized Search Engine apparatus. It is on the lines of Rollyo and ScoopGo but with Google results, the search is surely guaranteed to be powerful and exclusive.

I could now stop myself from playing a bit with it and I created “Chittha Khoji” (Hindi for Hindi blog explorer) that would search the Hindi blog aggregator Narad and Chittha Charcha a Hindi blog review site that I am part of. I think the collaboration theme is quite evident in the effort and anyone can solicit volunteer contribution to their engines, Google marker is there to quickly add sites. The Site look and feel is customizable though I noticed that it does not accepts Unicode yet.

And there is much more. You can create the complete engine using XML and can even AJAXify it using their API. Refinements allow you to allow labels to filter the search results; again, Unicode characters weren’t being supported yet. So English is what would work now, I hope other languages would be supported soon.

Here is a glimpse of search results from “Chittha Khoji” 🙂

Customized Hindi Blog Search Engine

Categories
Technology

Make your own Java newsreader

XML feeds are the way today to keep a tab on what’s happening in the blogosphere as well as to know about site updates and new additions. I had heard about two popular open source feature-rich Java APIs to deal with the feeds, Rome and Informa but could never really savor them. For one of my own sites where I, sort of hand-built the aggregator as Myjavaserver does not allow deploying external JARs or Taglibs I did not get any chance to play with these APIs. So when I got some opportunity it was imperative that I tried them.

The following is a very elementary example of using the two news aggregation libraries that imitates a newsreader. The examples, as I said, are pretty basic and they would make a hit to the specified Feed URL every time you call the JSPs. The code snippets are not meant to demonstrate good coding practice.

Both the libraries support almost all versions of RSS, RDF and Atom and features such as dynamic discovery of feed format. Feature wise probably Informa has an upper hand (it supports OPML, recognizes the Enclosure element making it suitable to comprehend Podcast feeds and can be configured to use a persistence mechanism built over Hibernate) but what it lacks is availability of documents. There are no primers at the site and the code is very poorly commented making the Javadocs difficult to come to pace quickly. The two Java.net articles that I could, Google have been outdated, as I used the 0.6.5 version of the library. Rome, on the other hand, has very nice documentation available at its site, complete with code examples. Many desirable features are unfortunately still on the TODO list. While I have not investigated them, there are a number of sub-projects based on both Rome and Informa, for example: there is a JSP Tag library based on Informa. There is a short review of various libraries here but I guess much stuff on Informa is not relevant now since its latest release.

I am not mincing my words when I say that each API has its own strengths, Informa library is pretty bulky but supports OPML while Rome has a wider support for all kind of XML feeds and has a pluggable architecture. The good thing about these APIs is that they pretty much offer you everything that you may want to do with feeds, reading, generating your own, and creating a digest from multiple feeds and so on.

To run these JSPs, needless to say, you would need to download Informa and Rome libraries. I ran these on jakarta-tomcat-5.0.28 / j2sdk1.4.2_06 and the only dependency I was missing was the JDOM jar that Rome needs.

Click here for a bare-minimum Newsreader based on Informa. Click here for a bare-minimum Newsreader based on Rome.

I hope this post helped you, do leave your comments here.

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