ASPit - Totally ASP JSit - Totally JavaScript
Search PHPit

Use this textbox to search for articles on PHPit. Seperate keywords with a space.


Screen scraping your way into RSS

(Page 2 out of 3)

For this article, we�ll use PHPit as an example, despite the fact that PHPit already has RSS feeds.

We�ll want to generate a RSS feed from the content listed on the frontpage. The first step in screen scraping is getting the complete page. In PHP this can be done very easily, by using implode(file(��, �[the url here]�)); IF your web host allows it. If you can�t use file() you�ll have to use a different method of getting the page, e.g. using the CURL library.

Now that we have the content available, we can parse it for the content using some regular expressions. The key to screen scraping is looking for patterns that match the content, e.g. are all the content items wrapped in

�s or something else? If you can successfully discover a pattern, then you can use preg_match_all() to get all the content items.

For PHPit, the pattern that match the content is

[Content Here]
. You can verify this yourself by going to the main page of PHPit, and viewing the source.

Now that we have a match we can get all the content items. The next step is to retrieve the individual information, i.e. url, title, author, text. This can be done by using some more regular expression and str_replace() on the each content items.

By now we have the following code;

// Screen scraping your way into RSS
// Example script, by Dennis Pallett

// Get page
$url = "";
$data = implode("", file($url));

// Get content items
preg_match_all ("/

([^`]*?)<\/div>/", $data, $matches);

Like I said, the next step is to retrieve the individual information, but first let�s make a beginning on our feed, by setting the appropriate header (text/xml) and printing the channel information, etc.

// Begin feed
header ("Content-Type: text/xml; charset=ISO-8859-1");
echo "\n";
                PHPit Latest Content
                The latest content from PHPit (, screen scraped!

Now it�s time to loop through the items, and print their RSS XML. We first loop through each item, and get all the information we get, by using more regular expressions and preg_match(). After that the RSS for the item is printed.

And finally, the RSS file is closed off.

That�s all. If you put all the code together, like in the demo script, then you�ll have a perfect RSS feed.

« Previous: Introduction
Next: Conclusion »

4 Responses to “Screen scraping your way into RSS”

  1. What the? Says:

    When trying to view the code:

    Security Alert! Breach has been logged for review (IP Address:

  2. Robert M Says:

    I’m getting the same in Firefox.

    Security Alert! Breach has been logged for review (IP Address:

  3. Jim M Says:

    Viewing the code in Internet Explorer 6 works fine. Thanks for posting this example! :)

  4. rigorouslogik Says:

    The code works great!
    How could I scrape just meta data or links ect into a text file?
    Thanks for any input.

Leave a Reply

About the author
Dennis Pallett is the main contributor to PHPit. He owns several websites, including ASPit and Chill2Music. He is currently still studying.
Article Index
  1. Introduction
  2. The code
  3. Conclusion
Bookmark Article
Download Article
Download this article as a PDF file