Wanna keep tabs on the status of bills in the General Assembly? Me too. So I created a Virginia General Assembly RSS feed. Add it to your news reader and you’ll be notified of all new bills filed in the General Assembly. If it works correctly, you’ll even be notified as the status of those bills change — when they’re assigned to committees, voted on etc.
Fellow programmers may be interested to know how this was accomplished. It’s totally easy. I created an account on the General Assembly site, providing me with access to generate reports. I grabbed the POST data for a fairly robust CSV request and used wget to reproduce that request from the command line, faking the cookie-based authentication via a header. I turned that into a shell script. Then I wrote a little PHP script that parses that CSV and turns it into an RSS file. I set both up a cron job to run both scripts, and that was that.
Happy Belated Christmas.