Create an RSS feed of a webcomic archive, for slow perusal.
Create an RSS feed of a webcomic archive, for slow catchup.
Ever time I discover a new webcomic that’s worth following, I lose hours (often night-time hours) to catching up with the archives. This tool exists to avoid this problem: I can create my own dripfeed for the comic, schedule it with cron to update two or three times a day, and add the feed to my ordinary feed reader. So long as dripfeed updates more often than the comic author, my dripfeed will catch up eventually, and I can switch to the official feed from then on.
Create the feed:
dripfeed init gunnerkrigg # name for dripfeed commands like "update", "remove" (commandline-friendly) --rss ./gunnerkrigg.rss # rss file for output (will be created) --url 'http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=1' # where to find the first page --next "//img[@src='http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/images/next_a.jpg']/.." # XPath for "next" link --name 'Gunnerkrigg Court' # optional long name for output (doesn't have to be commandline-friendly)
The --next parameter is an XPath expression that extracts the <a> element whose href points to the next page. (This expression will be used for all pages of the comic.)
This places configuration for gunnerkrigg in a config file at ~/.dripfeed.cfg (creating the file if it doesn’t already exist).
dripfeed update gunnerkrigg
will update the rss feed at ./gunnerkrigg.rss and store progress in ~/.dripfeed.cfg: I’d expect this command to go in a cron job.
Errors are recorded in the RSS feed, and you can run dripfeed update with a --debug flag to see a full stack trace of the error.
The RSS feed entries are intentionally very very simple: they contain just a link to the page, and some placeholder text telling you which episode you’re looking at (counting from episode 1 at the initial URL).
It would be possible to extend the tool to include some degree of content scraping: more XPath expressions could optionally extract the comic image, title, commentary, etc. I do not intend to do this; of course you’re welcome to fork the code and make whatever changes you like, but I will not accept pull requests adding these features. The reason is that I want you to visit the original comic pages: making a living from webcomics is tricky enough as it is, and many comics are either directly or indirectly ad-supported. This script is not a syndication tool and is emphatically not intended to make business any harder for the authors whose work I admire.
MIT licensed. See the bundled LICENSE file for more details.
Not sure when I’ll get around to these, but here are a couple things I would like to do with it (maybe more for the learning experience than because the task really demands it):