How to build a Screen Scraper Vista Gadget – Introduction

28 01 2007

I thought I would write a couple of posts on how to create a Screen Scraper Sidebar gadget in Windows Vista. So what is a screen scraper you might be asking? Well, it’s a program that goes to a web site and ‘scrapes’ off the infromation you are interested in, a way of consuming infomration from websites that don’t offer feeds of infomration through RSS or web service.

To build a screen scraper, there are three main components that need to be considered:

1. Request a page – Before we can scrape a webpage, we have to go out and get it;

2. Extract the required information – Once we have the page, we want to extract the infromation from it we want to display in the gadget;

3. Display the information – Finally, we need to display the infromation in the gadget

As the diagram shows above, this can happen again and again, allowing you to poll for updates at regular intervals.

Over the next few days I will outline each of the concepts and how to integrate them into a Sidebar gadget shell. Instead of going into the guts of developing a sidebar gadget, I am going to assume you have already downloaded the Microsoft Hands on Lab available from Dave Glovers blog.

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