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RSS monitoring notification for no feeds

Posted on 2013-06-10
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Last Modified: 2013-11-18
I really need some help to find a solution for this.  I am looking for a way to monitor specific RSS feeds and receive an email notification if an entry into a specific feed is NOT receive after a specified period of time, such as 72h from any specific feeds.

I need to be able to monitor or add many feeds into the application and it would be very nice if I could enter a couple of email addresses for each feed which would receive notification if nothing was received.  However, at the very least, if I could enter a single email address which would receive an email if nothing was received after a specified period (72h), and would indicate which RSS feed received nothing.
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Question by:rotnfire
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 39236523
Please show us the code you've tried to solve this problem, thanks.
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Author Comment

by:rotnfire
ID: 39236549
I'm sorry but I don't have any code.  I'm looking for a solution and hoping someone knows of a way I can make this happen.
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Ray Paseur earned 300 total points
ID: 39237420
I think this is a rather extensive application development project (not really a question with any succinct answer) so you might want to have some budget to hire developers.

You will need a data base.  It will have a few tables. One table will list the feeds you want to follow.  Another will contain the timestamp and message digest of the most recent RSS data acquired from each feed.  Another table will contain the email addresses for notification.  These tables will be linked by junction tables.  If you want, you might add a log table to this design, just to keep track of all the RSS accesses.  The log would enable you to develop historical views of the data.

RSS feeds do not "send" data to RSS readers.   Instead they simply replace the document at a given URL.  It is the responsibility of the RSS reader to repeatedly query the URL and to recognize when a new document is received.  

If you want to publish RSS, this article explains the process.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/PHP/A_5356-Real-Simple-Syndication-RSS-with-a-Single-PHP-Script.html

If you want to consume RSS, you need to understand the client/server relationship.  This article explains that relationship.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/A_11271-Understanding-Client-Server-Protocols-and-Web-Applications.html

Since you're looking for the absence of data you will need some consolidation of thought about how frequently you want to look for the data.  Understanding that you want an action if the data is more than 72 hours out of date, what you need to decide is, "how quickly does the software need to take action?"  Is +/- an hour close enough?  If so, then you can set up an hourly CRON job (or Scheduled Task).  The task will go to the data base, pull the list of all the RSS feeds, read each one, make an md5() digest of the content and compare it to the most recent digest.  If there is a difference, the task will update the data base with the new digest and timestamp.  If there is no difference, the task will look at the timestamp of the prior digest.  If the timestamp is more than 72 hours old, it will make the email notifications.

If that sounds like a lot of verbiage, it's because there are a lot of moving parts you will need to implement in order to build your monitoring app.  Hopefully this explanation will give you something to go on.  Figure a couple of days work for a senior developer, once good access to your server has been established and a test data set has been built.

Best regards, ~Ray
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Author Closing Comment

by:rotnfire
ID: 39239329
Although that is not was I was hoping for, that is what I was expecting.  I did not think there was any application which existed to do what I want.  Perhaps you and I need to get in touch with each other?
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 39239448
Thanks for the points.  If you want to reach me, you can find my contact information in the "About me" tab on this page:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/M_3774417.html

All the best, ~Ray
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