Querying the next Sydney ferry

Have been playing with Yahoo!’s YQL this weekend, querying the Sydney Ferries website. Pretty amazing what it allows you to do, though the Sydney Ferries site wasn’t the best site to start playing with I guess. I did have a need to have the ferry timetable on my iPhone (especially the Neutral Bay service), so that’s why I put together Next Sydney Ferry this weekend.

The premise is pretty simple: when does the next ferry depart from Circular Quay? I had this wild idea to do cool stuff with it, but inspired by the simplicity of Next Manly Ferry, I thought I’d start out pretty simple too. And it certainly still is a work in progress with plenty of bugs.

NextSydneyFerry.com parses the timetables of the SydneyFerries.info site using YQL. No luck with any API, so it’s pretty fragile reading in the HTML table data. Wish they made an effort marking up the data a bit more helpful (as in markup-as-an-api). One of the URLs even has a typo (“weekemd”).

Things on the to-do list: testing/debugging, exceptions to the timetable (like, euh Sunday – got it figured out already, just need to implement it), a neat logo (and touch icon), webkit database caching, cool-ification, scrolling though all times, scrolling through all ferry stops,… There seems to be a problem with iPhone 3 (beta 5) too, which I don’t have on my iPod touch with iPhone 2 OS (nor on the desktop). Hope it’s the Mobile Safari beta, but that makes it currently useless on my iPhone, ha…

[Yet another website that will never get finished, and used…]


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Nice one, JJ. I should set up an alert for “inspired by Keith Mason” to find more useful stuff like this. Mental note: Next time Keith asks me: “have you got any good business ideas”, i’ll keep them quiet ;-)

I don’t remember. Think I must have been looking “ferry timetables” or something, as that’s what I needed on my iphone.
And yours was simple and to the point, though not for my ferry to Neutral Bay…

Dear Jean-Jacques,

Sorry, on a totally different matter…
Have not seen you recently on the Whirlpool Forum page so decided to contact you via your page.

Tried to follow your advice of 2007 and connect the D810 to Mac via Bluetooth to use it (Dopod) as a modem. However, once connected, it does not stay connected for more than 10 sec and goes to Paired: Yes, Connected: No.

WHat might be the reason? Is there any time out settings?
I am using Dopod with WM6 (updated) and Mac with OSX 10.5.

Will appreciate your advice.


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