Application Questions

Discussion about Schedules Direct grabber code and data formats.

Application Questions

Postby jsmar » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:38 am

I have a few questions regarding current grabbers and developing new ones:

1) I seem to remember reading quite some time ago regarding "download etiquette", i.e. what the max frequency for downloading data should be, etc. Are there any set rules? How do most apps handle this? I'm considering downloading a full 14 day schedule once a day, and then downloading the next 12-24 hours (for last minute changes) worth of data more frequently.

2) Is it required to use compression for downloading data? I see some apps that appear not to do it.

3) Is the data on the server being updated all the time? Are there particular times when new data is added? For example, does the "15th day" data rotate in on an hourly basis, or is there a particular time of day when a whole new day of data is added?

4) Do the "unique" station id's ever change (i.e. is it possible that all the stations id's would be unique for a particular download, but they may change between downloads)? It's already clear that they are fairly stable, I was just wondering whether or not it was a good idea to specify mappings based on those numbers, since they may be more stable than the station name or callsign.
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Re: Application Questions

Postby rmeden » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:26 am

1) Downloading 14 days daily is very reasonable. There's no point in downloading more than that since the server is only updated daily. (we're looking to have this changed, but that's the case right now). The "best" time to download is one suggested by the TMS servers via the "acknowledge" SOAP call. If you don't want to take their suggestion, I recommend between noon and 7pm central time.

2) Is it not required to use compression, but it's a nice thing to do. Most libraries allow it with little impact on the application. (just part of the http request)

3) The data server is currently updated once M-Sa, We're working with Tribune to add multiple feeds a day. (like Zap2it.com receives).

4) Station IDs seldom change. If the station changes callsigns and network afflications, they might... it's as stable as it can be. If it did change, you'd probably want it to. When certain cable stations changed names (The Learning Channel -> TLC for example) the Station-ID didn't change.

Robert
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Re: Application Questions

Postby jsmar » Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:48 pm

I noticed that the schedule entries appear to be grouped by station id and sorted by time for each station. Is that something that applications can rely upon? Do any applications depend on this behavior?
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Re: Application Questions

Postby rmeden » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:54 am

I don't believe the order is part of the specification so I don't recommend counting on it.

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