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Get notified when new guests are listed

Get notified when new guests are listed
« on: December 01, 2012, 04:49:36 PM »
Hello all,

I have created an open source web application that will send notifications via email and Twitter when new guests are listed on the Dragon*Con website. It was created as a hobby programming exercise. Hopefully someone will find it useful. Please let me know what you think, and what other notifications you would like to see.

Website (where you can subscribe via email): http://www.dcnotify.net/

Twitter: @DCNotify

Source code: Github

- Sean
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 02:50:00 PM by seanthegeek »
- Sean

Offline ice9

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Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 08:01:39 AM »
That is great. Thank you!

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 11:46:47 AM »
Thank you for your feedback. Please share the site with others; I'd love to stress test the system :)
- Sean

Offline Confused Mortal

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Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 02:11:27 PM »
Thanks!

I once thought I was an immortal Goa'uld, but as it turned out I'm just a confused mortal.

Offline Confused Mortal

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Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2012, 08:22:24 AM »
I was not notified by this application this morning that Anthony Simcoe and Paul Goddard were added.  :(
I once thought I was an immortal Goa'uld, but as it turned out I'm just a confused mortal.

TheDrunkenJedi

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2012, 09:36:41 AM »
me too.

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2012, 10:45:42 AM »
Sorry about that! It looks like my web host stopped running my update script as scheduled. As you can see at www.dcnotify.net the script was last run 14 hours ago as of the time of this writing. I will contact their support and post back when it's been fixed. I could run the check manually, but I want to make sure we find the reason for the stoppage first. Once it has been fixed, the script will send a notice with all the guests it has missed.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 12:42:25 PM by seanthegeek »
- Sean

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2012, 10:56:20 AM »
Correction -- A change in the format of the guest list page caused a new bug in my code. I have temporally fixed the problem. However, problem could arise again if/when they change the page structure. I'm looking into a more permanent fix. 
- Sean

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2012, 12:29:04 PM »
Sorry for all the posts. Instead of posting my first impressions, I should've waited until I had identified and corrected the cause of the outage. It turns out, this was entirely my fault. The problem has now been corrected, and I have added code that will email me in the event of a similar failure. Hopefully, the next time a problem occurs, I will have corrected it before anyone notices :)

Technobabble Alert

When the application looks for new guests, It checks the number from "Currently there are x Guests & Performers confirmed for 2013", and compares it to the number of guests it found on the page as a sanity check. If the numbers do not match, it is an indication that something has gone wrong. In the case of a failed sanity check, the script stops what it's doing to prevent a cascade of errors (e.g. corrupting the database, or continuously sending out bad notifications). Sanity checks are good things, assuming they are written correctly. Unfortunately, mine contained a mistake :-[.

The number of guests from the "Currently there are x Guests & Performers confirmed for 2013" string is identified using a regular expression. Until now, the regular expression that had been used was \d. This regular expression would find any single digit within a string. The script worked fine until the 10th guest was announced. Once the number exceeded more than one digit, the numbers didn't match anymore (e.g. 10 and 1), and the sanity check failed. I have since updated the regular expression to \d*, which will properly parse a contiguous number of digits of any length. This was a simple error that I should've noticed. My apologies. The changes have been pushed to the github repository if you would like to see them.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 12:49:14 PM by seanthegeek »
- Sean

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2012, 12:31:55 PM »
Apparently this forum system does not like regex strings with quotes around them, probably to prevent SQL injection and cross site scripting attacks.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 12:46:43 PM by seanthegeek »
- Sean

Offline Venaros

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Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 08:54:35 AM »
Excellent. I've signed up. Just hope they start adding people now. I've been checking obsessively since early december! haha

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 08:58:45 AM »
Excellent. I've signed up. Just hope they start adding people now. I've been checking obsessively since early december! haha

They just added a bunch of people over the past few days. You can check the Twitter feed for a history.
- Sean

Offline Venaros

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Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 09:01:26 AM »

They just added a bunch of people over the past few days. You can check the Twitter feed for a history.

Yeah that's what got me excited and decided to come check the forums. :)

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 08:30:24 AM »
D*C has redesigned their website. It looks much better, but it will take me a few days to adapt the application to the new layout. I will post an update when it's fixed.
- Sean

Re: Get notified when new guests are listed
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2013, 08:06:28 PM »
Service functionality has been restored. As of this writing, 15 guests were added since the site redesign. I would have had it fixed sooner had the redesign not occurred right at the start of my college semester.

Thank you for your patience, and sorry for flooding your Twitter timelines  :)
- Sean