Update of QuoraGrabber. A short script to grab items from rss-feeds and back them up on local machine.
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RSS Backup

This is an update of QuoraGrabber. A short script to grab items from rss-feeds and back them up on local machine.

I'm using it so I can ensure I have a local copy of all the writing I'm putting into say my Blogspot blogs.


Make sure you have Python installed.

You'll need a couple libraries that can be installed using easy_install.

easy_install feedparser
easy_install beautifulsoup4

Now ...

git clone https://github.com/interstar/rss_backup.git rss
cd rss
git submodule update --init
python grab_rss.py http://feeds.theguardian.com/theguardian/uk/rss Guardian
python list.py "The Guardian" > g.html
firefox g.html

What did I just do?


  1. pulled down a feed of recent stories from The Guardian via its RSS feed
  2. stored each in a separate file
  3. produced a quick HTML page (g.html) to display them.

(The Guardian here is just used as an example. You'll probably have a feed of your own you want to grab.)


I wrote this script to ensure that I could easily back-up the writing I'm doing on social media sites like Quora and on my blogs hosted on Blogspot. I don't like the idea that most of my writing only exists in someone else's silo. I at least want to have a copy of it on my local machine. In future I may write other scripts to do something more useful with it.

I Only Came Here Because You Said Something About Quora

OK. There's a special script to make grabbing your Quora answers easier.

python grab_quora.py YOUR-QUORA-USER-NAME
python list.py "A TITLE" > quora.html
firefox quora.html


Q : Why do the files have such weird names?

A : The file names are based on the titles of posts but they needed to be both a) shorter than the original titles, and b) unique.

A "hashing" function takes a piece of text and is almost certain to come up with a unique code-number based on it, so I'm using a hashing function to generate a filename from the title which is short(ish), but almost certainly unique.

Q : I looked inside the file and its weird.

A : I'm storing answers in JSON format. A very simple data-structure that most pramming languages can handle very easily. (More easily than XML in most cases.)

This gives other people the chance to write scripts to render those answers in different human readable formats. The list.py program included here puts them into a single HTML page. But there'll be other options. Talk to me if you'd like to request one.

Q : Does Quora Grabber work with Quora questions too?

A : Seems that the description of the question isn't in the feed, so you just get the question title and the body is a link saying "see this on Quora. Less than useful for backing up your work.