For the Financial Times, I developed a Editorial application for user’s who visit the FT Facebook Fan Page. The application reads in content from the Financial Times website using RSS feeds and then displays the content to Facebook users who visit the app on the fan page. Content was scraped from 9 ‘News’ RSS feeds and one Video feed (YouTube).
The application also has a simple CMS which administrators can be used to update the RSS feed URLs that were scraped, so content could easily be swapped out.
The application was developed using PHP, but a flat file storage system was used to store the URLs of the RSS feeds that the app would scrape. The CMS system linked to a XML file which contained the URL for each RSS feed. A scheduled task (cron job) on the server would periodically scrape the RSS feeds (every 30 minutes) and parse the stories in each feed.
The stories for each RSS feed would them we used to create a HTML page with a snippet of each story along with images. The HTML for the page would then be cached so that the app would load up instantly for users.