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Featured Article

Backstage RSS Ticker

Last Update - 17th February 2006 - Version 1.1 (bugfix)

The BBC Backstage RSS Ticker is a platform independent RSS ticker which sits on your desktop. The ticker offers the user complete customisation including colors, feeds, typing modes and more. This project was developed as I could not find any RSS ticker which simply rotated news on the desktop in a small window. The inspiration came from the BBC's original ticker application however this uses dated text based feeds, is limited to BBC content and is not platform independent.

The Backstage RSS Ticker is available as a Java application (JAR) for Windows, Linux and Mac. Whilst the application works with the Java Virtual Machine 1.4+ it is recommeded that the JRE v1.5 is used due to the advancements found within the latest release which include better mouse management, ability to specify the application stay above all others and more.

I can be contacted at ticker (at) webcoding.co.uk. If you would like to see more things added then please get in touch and I will attempt to add requests into new releases along with credit attached for the idea you make

For more BBC inspired products take a look at http://backstage.bbc.co.uk

Application details

The application is very small in size (12KB) and was produced in Java. It utilises the org.w3c DOM object handler for reading in both local and remote XML streams. This project is held in CVS and code was developed in Eclipse 3.1. All code is available under the GNU General Public License and more information on the license can be found at http://www.gnu.org

This application has been tested and found to work on Windows XP and 2000, Ubuntu Linux and Mac (Tiger) with the latest version of the Java JRE installed (1.5)


Note: Whilst this program does work using JRE 1.4.2 or below you should have 1.5+ installed as 1.5 offers significant improvements. (http://www.java.com)

  • v1.1 - BugFix - Version 1.1 Release - Bug Fix
    • Download v1.1 BugFix (ZIP)
    • Thanks to John Robinson for pointing out some problems here
      • Fixed setLayout bug which occurs in newer java versions
      • Added in non fatal error if expected xml information is missing

  • v1.0rc-4 - Fourth release Candidate for BBC Backstage -
    • Download v1.0rc-4 application (ZIP) or (RAR)- NEW Version (30/10/2005)
    • I'd like to add thanks to Martin and James Lay for their input / bug highlighting in this release.
    • Download v1.0rc-4 source - Unavailable yet - formatting, documentation and tidying (coming soon)
      • New: Includes starting x,y coordinates for specific placement on startup
      • New: Now parses description nodes which contain HTML
      • New: Type-writer mode now controls breaking news alerts too
      • New: Font size, color and face are now configurable for all elements of ticker
  • Update - JAR Update Only If you are a new user, grab release below.
    • Download 1.0RC-2 JAR REPLACEMENT
    • Martin Sonntag noticed a reasonably good feature which was missing. Having the ability to specify the starting top left position is quite important. I've added this to the JAR and you should grab this if you want to use this feature. I will add a new build with everything incorperated shortly. You need to add the following to your XML file under the <preferences> node.
      • <startx>0</startx>
      • <starty>0</starty>
    • Martin also noted that for those of you trying this from behind a firewall the proxy settings dont tend to work through the main JVM config. The solution is to do the following (replace various areas of this with local system info):
    /usr/java/jre1.5.0_01/bin/java -Dhttp.proxyHost=yourproxy.com -Dhttp.proxyPort=0000 -jar /tmp/backstage-v1.0RC-2.jar
  • v1.0rc-2 - Third release Candidate for BBC Backstage -
    • Download v1.0rc-2 application - Legacy Version
    • Download v1.0rc-2 source - Unavailable yet - formatting, documentation and tidying (coming soon)
      • New: Goto next and previous feeds (suggestion: Paul Veltman @ BS List)
      • New: Taskbar icon added (suggestion: Paul Veltman)
      • New: Preferences now allows for limiting RSS items displayed by specific keywords
      • New: Font color of RSS item can be altered (Suggestion: Paul Veltman)
      • New: Preferences allows for only showing RSS titles, not descriptions
      • New: Taskbar now always contains latest title (may need to remove time)
  • v1.0rc-1 - Second release Candidate for BBC Backstage -
    • Download v1.0rc-1 application - Legacy version
    • Download v1.0rc-1 source - Unavailable yet - formatting, documentation and tidying (coming soon)
      • New: Minimise and Close now available as changeable image icons (suggestion: Paul Veltman @ BS List)
      • New: Bug fix for published time not closing brackets correctly (spotted: Paul Veltman @ BS List)
      • New: Now includes version checker
      • New: When minimised RSS story titles appear in the task bar (as much text as possible)
      • New: Dragging mechanism should be improved now
  • v1.0rc - First release Candidate for BBC Backstage
    • Download v1.0rc application - Legacy
    • Download v1.0rc source - Latest version (appologies if some of the code lacks adequate documentation). If you develop your own based on this source please let me know and I'll add a link on from here.
      • New: Breaking news alerts from BBC now available
      • New: Typewriter mode
      • New: Specify item and feed delays
      • New: Specify color settings and font details
      • New: Added support for Linux URL calling (inc. Netscape and Firefox)


  • v0.3 - Multi feed support. Enhanced configuration options (incl. typewriter mode for article output)
  • v0.2 - Improved GUI design. Attached preferences file
  • v0.1 - Initial Release

v1.0+ - Next release: Intended changes and enhancements

  • Preferences should be editable by interface
  • Allow for user to specify "show on new" option where only new stories are shown.
  • Allow for natural resizing of application without having to set up preferences each time
  • Allow users to specify a method for calling a URL. Allows for total platform flexibility and browser choice.



Play podcasts whilst you read..
Currently on UK TV
My Projects
BBC Have Your Say
Oct 2006
Win (C# ) app for monitoring and reading the BBC News' "Have Your Say" features. (more)
Directory Monitor
Nov 2006
A directory watcher. (win/c#). Quite simple really, me experimenting with creating a program to monitor file activity of any directory and it's sub directories. Also seems to work on private shares! (more)
LondonTown HotelMap
Sep 2006
A fully featured mapping system for purchasing hotel rooms. A really good and well featured system which makes finding your room easier. (more)
RSS Weather
Jul 2006
Added RSS feeds for the exisitng XML sets I was doing for the weather.. Should be compat. with all RSS readers now. (more)
Tide XML Feed
Apr 2006
I've been told to cease on this project.. Most likely a rights issue. (more)
Aria Products Feed
Apr 2006
RSS Feeds for the Aria.co.uk product range. Simply enter your query to the end of the URL and add it to your feeds. Utterly unofficial :) (more)
Weather XML Feeds
Apr 2006
*new* - Feeds for 24 hour and 5 day forecasting. A large number of UK locations supported and many other countries. Supported by backstage. (more)
Mar 2006
A fully working RSS Ajax Ticker implementation. Utilises a PHP requester for the remote feed. You should be able to extract and run. (more)
Top 40 XML
Mar 2006
Converts the BBC's top 40 html chart to an XML feed using a bit of scrape 'n' shape :) (more)
Photo Resizer 0.0.1
Mar 2006
Batch tool to convert directories of images files from one size and format to another. freeware, enjoy! (more)
BBC Page Archive
Mar 2006
I've written a C# webpage capturer to archive the homepage of both the main BBC site and thier news site. More to come. (more)
iMP Hacks
Dec 2005
I've released this after the trial. Essentially some small bits of info for having multiple users per single iMP install plus a few other bits. (more)
RSS Ticker
Sep 2005
NEW - Platform independent RSS Ticker built for BBC Backstage. Highly configurable Java Swing application. Updated to v1.1 (bugfix) which fixes a few problems spotted by some kind folks! (feb 2006) (more)
Work: Ajax Search
Dec 2005
New Ajax based search system for work. Predictive listings, real-time interaction. [beta..ish phase] (more)
Code Bites
Dec 2005
Little code samples of bits I've needed help on recently or interesting things i've done or have found. (more)
Nov 2005
Automated downloading app for legal torrent and NZB files. Very useful for sysadmin type stuff. Currently not available as release as there is a bit more work to do. (more)
Office 12
Nov 2005
Constantly updated bug list for Office 12 (more)
TV System
Nov 2005
Starting a new TV system website/app which will rock. More soon on this, currently in development
Car Puter
Nov 2005
First stage of my car puter. Installation success with success use with mapping application and GPS. Next phase to install properly in new car (more)
Win RSS Ticker
Nov 2005
Windows RSS Ticker built in C#. Based around original java RSS ticker built for Backstage. Currently in development. (more)
Nov 2005
Webcoding.co.uk redesign and code implementation - what you see here :) (more)
Backstage BOT
Oct 2005
MSN Bot which alerts you to upcoming TV shows. Website allows users to set TV preferences which the BOT will automatically alert you too.
BBC Search 2
Oct 2005
Prototype of BBC search intergrated into the BBC design. Searches produce results which intergrate directly into the standard page template (more)
BBC Search 1
Oct 2005
Search device for the BBC news. Utilises Ajax for real time search results as you type. Articles stored using backend cron'd JAR app. (more)
Lat Long Java Obj
Jul 2005
Roger at Carabus produced an amazing javascript util to convert UK northings to eastings. I've turned this to a java object, enjoy! (more)
TVAnytime Pull
Jul 2005
Simple bash script to pull the latest BBC TVAnytime results and extract them locally to your machine ready for processing. (more)
Previous Webcoding Posts
17/09/07 - Prison Break Season 3
17/09/07 - Humax 9200 TB Freeview Recorder
31/05/07 - Microsoft Surface
26/04/07 - Dasher
01/04/07 - Creative Vision W
01/04/07 - Apple iTV
22/02/07 - FOWA (Future of Web Apps)
13/02/07 - Ajax objects
09/02/07 - SVideo Resolution
05/02/07 - Charlie Brooker Rules
01/02/07 - Uncle Guy is live!
01/02/07 - XQuery Northing/Easting to Lat/Lo
24/01/07 - Samsung F71 and Xbox 360
15/01/07 - Samsung F71 Versus Plasma
15/01/07 - Samsung F71 and Media Center
12/01/07 - Hiper Media Case
11/01/07 - Javascript Image Zoom
08/01/07 - Sony NS76H HDMI DVD upscaler
03/01/07 - Samsung F71 40" LCD update
26/12/06 - I just bought an LCD TV
24/12/06 - Windows Mobile
28/11/06 - BBC "Have Your Say" Reader
07/10/06 - LondonTown.com Hotel Map - Ajax
21/09/06 - Get well Hamster
30/08/06 - Vista 5536 Pre RC-1
15/08/06 - Get your own terror alert!
24/07/06 - RSS Weather feeds
24/07/06 - Links 24 July 2006
22/07/06 - Sat 22nd July
21/07/06 - Friday 21st July 2006
19/07/06 - KOSS Ear Budz
19/07/06 - BoingBoing, two years out of date
19/07/06 - Stuff 19-07-2006
18/07/06 - Links
20/05/06 - Outlook 2007
18/05/06 - Big Brother UK 2006
18/05/06 - ReadyToSurf Hack
18/05/06 - Snap.com
17/05/06 - TechCrunch "ClusterFuck"
16/05/06 - Google Notebook
09/05/06 - Eriksson picks unknown 17 year ol
08/05/06 - Top Gear, Season 8
25/04/06 - IE7 Beta 2 Preview 25th April
22/04/06 - Office 2007
20/04/06 - Firefox Security Updates
13/04/06 - Weather Feeds
30/03/06 - Javascript Ajax RSS Ticker
28/03/06 - UK Top 40 in XML
18/03/06 - Photo Resizer 0.0.1
17/03/06 - Incorrect versions of .NET
09/03/06 - c# web screen capture
09/03/06 - Google Analytics
22/02/06 - Multi Touch Interaction Experimen
16/02/06 - Resin Server 3.0.17
07/02/06 - IE7 Beta
19/12/05 - LivePlasma.com
19/12/05 - Google to buy5% AOL stage at $1bi
19/12/05 - MS Vista December CTP
13/12/05 - LondonTown Ajax Search Beta
09/12/05 - Ajax Search
08/12/05 - Pandora
06/12/05 - Experts Exchange
05/12/05 - TeleAtlas & Ajax Search
04/12/05 - Flight plan, Finding Neverland, T
01/12/05 - 10MEG 10MEG
25/11/05 - XML RSS & XMLHttpRequest
24/11/05 - Javascript objects
23/11/05 - Change for the better
18/11/05 - Messenger
17/11/05 - Flex 2
17/11/05 - A google to far
17/11/05 - New website
16/11/05 - XSLT, do we need @blocks?
15/11/05 - .NET Framework 2.0
09/11/05 - BBC RSS Port
09/11/05 - RSS for tasks
07/11/05 - Car GPS
07/11/05 - Beard Goes
01/11/05 - iPod Woes
31/10/05 - BackStage v1.0 RC-4
31/10/05 - New MAIN puter bits
31/10/05 - Carputer
31/10/05 - The 2.5inch disk enclosure
This website provides RSS XML feeds of it's projects and articles along with links
Webcoding - Project RSS
Webcoding - Article RSS
Webcoding - Links RSS
Travel Links
LondonTown - Londons no.1 website
LondonMonthly.com - Monthly events
News Links
WinSuperSite - Windows News
Slyck - Filesharing news
Slashdot - Geek News
Ol'Reg - Biting the old IT hand
BBC News - The News Site
Labs / Web2 Links
Macromedia Labs - Flex2, Flash 8.5..
Google Labs - Google Labs
Google Base - Google Data Sets
Google Analytics - Free site stats.. nearly
Backstage - BBC Backstage Project
Fun Links
VCDQ - Stuff
BoreMe - Viral Attachments
Computing Links
Ubuntu - Linux for people
NTL - UK Cable
Microsoft - Microsofts website
Code Links
W3C - W3C Consortium
PHP - PHP Language
Mysql - Mysql Database
Javascript DOM - Good ref on JS DOM
Java - Java Language
Code Project - Amazing C# place
Blogs Links
Davy Mitchell - Backstage fellow
Ben Metcalfe - Ben from the BBCs blog
Andreas - Andreas Blog
Backstage Links
Mood News - News listed by mood
Mightyv - Backstage TV Site
Quick Biography
I'm a twenty seven year old programmer who works in London and lives in Surrey. Most of my work hours are spent programming web sites in Java, Php with XML and XSLT. Currently enjoying experimenting with C#, Ajax and sampling some Ruby stuff. I'm available for freelance work so please give me an email anytime at jim (at) webcoding.co.uk.

Copyright (C) 2005 - All Rights Reserved - James Holden
All projects shown on this site are also copyright to James Holden

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