Monday, August 13, 2007

Top 10 Trends - August 12, 2007

1. lisa lampanelli - Lisa Lampanelli, the comedian most known as being an insult comic, seems to be popular most recently because of her appearance on the Roast of Flavor Flav on Comedy Central. You can find a small clip of her performance here.

2. anna farris - Anna Farris has recently been made popular because of the upcoming movie she will be starring in titled House Bunny. More information here.

3. merv griffin - Merv Griffin became a popular search on Google after his death on Sunday, at the age of 82. Merv was known for being the creator of a few famous game shows such as Jeopardy and Wheel Of Fortune. You can find more on the story here.

4. meteor shower august 12 2007 - Many things lately related to meteor showers have been popular lately because of the Perseid Meteor Shower that has been viewable at night. The meteor shower peaked at 3:30 AM EST on the 12th. Read more here.

5. monowi nebraska - Monowi, Nebraska is a town in Nebraska with a population of 1. The only resident acts as the Mayor, Police Chief, Town Clerk, Bartender and Librarian. I'm not sure what spiked interest in the small town so recently, but it happens to be ranked 5th on Google Trends for the 12th. Here is the article.

6. roast of flavor flav - Related to Lisa Lampanelli, the Roast of Flavor Flav has become popular because of the recent hype about it on Comedy Central.

7. carrot top - Once again related to the whole Roast of Flavor Flav event, Carrot Top will also appear on the roast.

8. tiger woods wife - Elin Nordegren became popular in the Google search field after her appearance at the US PGA Masters, where she was supporting her husband - Tiger Woods. Tiger won the tournament by two strokes. More information here.

9. woody austin - Woody Austin also became popular because of the US PGA Masters, where he placed 2nd behind Tiger Woods.

10. tommy thompson - Tommy Thompson became popular in searches after dropping out of the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. He pledged to drop out of the race if he didn't place 1st or 2nd in the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, and did so after placing 6th.

Vacation, Catch Up, and New Projects

First off, sorry for the lack of content lately. I have just returned from a 2 week vacation in Europe with the family. The good news, is that during the course of the vacation I have thought of a few new ideas to implement on this blog.

If you have taken a look at the recent posts/comments, you may have
noticed that my most recent project - the top 10 Digg application - has
come to a quick stop. The reason for this is that Digg released a
widget during the project. At first, I had a chance to continue the
project because the widget did not have the capability to display the
top 10 Digg submissions from the front page of Digg. Soon after I
mentioned this, a comment was left from Kurt W. of Digg saying that this
was a bug and would soon be fixed. Fine.. next project.

The next project actually consists of two parts. The first will be the
next coding project, and the second will be more of a blog project. The
coding project is going to involve the top 10 songs from the Billboards
top 100. I will most likely write up a little regex that will
parse the HTML of the Billboards website, and return the top 10 songs in
a usable format.

The second part of the project involves Google Trends. If you haven't seen the website before, Google Trends has a list of the top 100 searched terms on Google for each day. I am going to start explaining to the readers of this blog, why each of the search terms in the top 10 is so popular. Some of them may be obvious, but others may bring new light to a subject that could be useful. For you blog writers out there, this could be a great resource for finding hot topics to write about.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Digg Widgets

When I was browsing Digg today I noticed a new link near the top 10 box on the right side, which mentioned widgets. If you check out the widget link, you might notice that Digg has made it a little easier to add their content to any web page, via widgets. You can check out the blog post about it here.

There are still a few issues however, which luckily makes my blog scheme still relevant for Digg. Through the options in the widget, it still not possible to replicate the widget that is on the front page of Digg -- which displays the top 10 Digg submissions within the past 12 hours. Yesterday, I explained how to use the Digg API to access this information in xml format, and soon I will release the code as well as an explanation of how to organize this data and format it for publishing.

You have to wonder though, if Digg is going to make this widget available to the public, then why don't they include the option to publish the widget that is shown on the front page? It is obviously the most popular, as well as the most viewed. Plus, if it is possible to grab the widget anyway through a bit of work with the API, then wouldn't it just be smart of them to include the option within their own widget?

I don't mind much myself, because I have the ability to make a hacked up form of the widget available to the public -- it just seems that Digg would benefit from making it available themselves.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Top 10 Diggs Over Past 12 Hours

The first step towards grabbing the top 10 diggs over the past 12 hours is working with the Digg API. Digg has set up their API to make the information on easily available to everyone. If you take a look at the "List Stories" link on the far right, you will see some documentation on how to use the api to grab a list of stories -- which is exactly what we want.
Since we know that we want a list of stories for our end goal, the url that we are going to use for the api is going to start like this:

Next, we tag on a /popular to make sure that we are grabbing stories that have popular status. From here we can set a couple arguments to make the data returned a little more specific. These arguments will be count, min_promote_date, and we will also need to set appkey. Heres how it is going to look:
  • count=100
  • min_promote_date=[current time - 12 hours]
  • appkey = [the url making the request, or something similar]
If you are just looking for the url, here is the end result:

Here is the explanation: We set count to 100 because we want the most results possible, and Digg sets a limit of 100 on the number of stories returned. In case you are curious, the default for count is 10 if you decide not to specify a number for it. The min_promote_date is required to be in the number of seconds since the unix epoch time format. The time I just put into that link was at
Monday, July 23rd 2007, 8:12:27 (GMT). This is because at the moment I wrote the link, Monday, July 23rd 2007, 8:12:27 (GMT) was exactly 12 hours ago. Last, appkey always needs to be set in order to use the api, and it needs to be set to the url making the request or a few other options. Here is how Digg describes what it needs to be:
  • The application itself, if it's a web application.
  • A web page describing the application.
  • A web page offering the application for download.
  • The author's web site.
From here, we have the data we need in xml format. However, we still have a little work to do. We need to sort the results by number of diggs, and then output the stories in a neat little format. Check back tomorrow for that stage of the digg top 10 list.

Beginning of The Top 10

I have noticed over my time on the web that top 10 lists are quite popular. Through my knowledge of web development, I would like to make top 10 lists more easily accessible to the world. I am even going to explain how to do it. If you stick around and read this blog, you will find coding advice, regex examples, and much more. If you aren't interested in that, then just enjoy the collection of lists that you will be able to view in one place.

The first top 10 list to be done is going to be from Digg. I am going to set up a script that will grab the top 10 most popular posts within the last 12 hours, and it will constantly update itself. If you haven't noticed yet, this will be the same list that is shown on the front page of Digg, on the right sidebar. Check back tomorrow for some more news.