Sunday, October 23, 2005

The PC Industry Reference List

As I mentioned in one of my earlier articles, I used to have an automated process that scanned a large list of company websites looking for their new press releases. I was using the Netscape browser since it kept it's favorites in a single html file instead of multiple individual files like Microsoft's Internet Explorer. This made it really easy to write various utilities to manipulate the data from that list for other purposes. In particular, I could keep my current reference list of websites in my favorites file for Netscape and then using a utility program that I wrote automatically generate a reference website for everyone to access that listed all the links organized in various groupings.

One of the tools I used was a shareware program that would automatically scan all the links in my favorites file and check for two things: what press release pages were updated and what web links had moved since the last time I scanned the links. The utility recorded additional information in the favorites html file for the next scan (like the date of the last scan) and used certain website header information to find moved pages or sites. The scanning tool created a log file as it ran that made it really easy to find new press releases and manage the link list in my favorites file.

The other tool that actually created my PC industry weblink reference site I wrote myself in C. It used the Netscape favorites html file and created the fancy website pages organized into various categories. My listing of web resources included online publications, organizations, events, company/product indexs, distributors and more from throughout the PC industry. Plus it listed all the current press release pages for various companies from throughout the industry.

I originally made the weblink reference list available on AOL and then later to everyone via the web. I actually kept the reference list goning for quite some time after my area on AOL was canceled. The website was called the PC Industry URL Reference List and even thought it hasn't been online for many years, there are actually copies still available in the Wayback Machine at archive.org -- click here for a sample! Just keep in mind most of the links listed in the archive are no longer valid since this was back in 1999 and has not been maintained since.


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