Using OMNIbus to Monitor Sporting Events
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My name is Francesco Fraulo. I am a software Tester for ITNM here at IBM. I will mainly be blogging about the installer for ITNM and OMNIbus, but every so often I will talk about new and interesting ways to use our products, like today.
There is a lot of hype around sport this summer, i.e. the “summer of sport” hyperbole is actually warranted for once. The regular yearly events of Wimbledon and the British golfing open being joined by the European football championship and the Olympics. The upcoming months are so jammed packed that by August, the very mention of the word sport will have the average person running a mile, preferably to somewhere with no TV.
The sheer number of sporting stuff going on got me thinking. Could OMNIbus be used as a way to keep track of it all? The short answer is not easily, it is not like there is a “Sky Sports News” probe for such a thing. However, the more I thought about the problem, the more I wanted to find a way to solve it. Then I remembered that I wasn't the first person to think of this. My colleague Guy Thorne had done some great work at a recent event developing a prototype Twitter Probe. He thought it would be interesting to make and could lead to something that would be useful for our customers. A tool that can keep track of mentions of a company or a product on all the various social media out there would be very useful these days. Largely as it seems that people will flock to the web at the first sign of trouble, and will usually do so before going through official channels.
So I had my inspiration to use Twitter but the problem of implementation was a poser. I had to work out a way to get the information from the outside world and put it into an Objectserver. This posed a challenge, the design of OMNIbus allows it to accept input from a variety of sources, but asking it to look at websites was probably asking a bit much. My first thought was to use an external tool to take an RSS feed or something similar and to then parse it into a log file, so I made a little script to do this in Windows. It was a bit clunky, but it got the job done.
The script grabs the RSS feed for a user from Twitter using wget, extracts the relevant information and inserts it into the Objectserver via a simple SQL statement. I learnt a lot while writing that script, mainly that doing something like this in a Windows batch file was asking for trouble.
Of course, a simple script is a long way from a workable product but it is early days yet.
Here is the Windows script I mentioned above for you to try out. Feel free to comment on it. The script requires Wget, an open source version is available from http
Some suggested Twitter feeds. Euro2012stream, Opengolf2012, Nfl, NBA, London2012, Wimbledon