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1. Downloader


The downloader plug-in downloads CSV, text, excel or RSS data from any website, parse it, transform it, and then import it to your databases.

N.B. the downloader plug-in use the ASCII Importer engine to parse the downloaded data.

1.1. Introduction


Each download item is associated with one or sereral URLs, and each URL can contain any number of fields.

If for example you want to import stock quotes for the server '', and the complete URL to get stock quotes for the symbol "goog" is " quotes.php?id=goog".
In addition, you have to login first using the following URL
"" before being able to download any quotes.

Given this example, your download item, should contains two URL:

1 ""
2 ""

The first URL should contain two fields, one for the login and another one for the password.
The second URL should contain a field named 'id', you have to set this field's type to 'Symbol'.


1.2. Create a download item


Open the download manager by clicking on 'Download' in the menu bar, then 'Download Manager'.
Click on 'Add', in the download manager.


1.2.1. Download Steps


'Download Steps' are the URLs that the downloader must visit in order to download your content.
Click on 'Add URL' to add a new download step.



1.2.2. Fields


You can associate one or more fields to each 'Download Step' or URL.
First, add a new URL, and then click on the button 'Fields' under the 'Fields' column. Fields are used as parameters.

To add new fields, click on 'Add Field'.
To remove a field, select one, and then click on 'Remove Selected Field'.
To close the fields form, click on 'Close'.

When adding a field, you should specify four things:

         Field name: The name that will be used in the URL

         Field value: The value that will be used in testing and in static fields like the login and password fields; the value of a dynamic field is automatically updated in the downloading process.

         Field Type: The type associated with the field.

         Field visibility: Indicate whether to display the field as a URL parameter or not. Check the box to hide the field. You still can use the fields data (please refer to how to use brackets).



URL: ""
Field Name: b
Field Value: test
Field Type: Custom

In the testing process, the software will use this URL:
In the downloading process, if you put the following values (EX1 and EX2) in the text box inside the tab associated with the field "b":

The downloader will use theses URLs to download your content:

How to use brackets:
In order to use a field inside a URL you should insert the field name inside brackets.
Let us take the last example: "".
You can display the value "2" that corresponds to the field "a", using the following text: [a]
Example: "[a].php".

[DATE]: displays the date
[SYMBOL]: displays the symbol
[field_name]: displays any field value


1.2.3. Ordering URLs


Open the 'Update Download Item' form.
Click on the icon within the 'Up' column.


1.2.4. CSV, Excel, RSS, ZIP


After you have added the URL, specified the fields, and depending on the content you are parsing, click on the cell within the 'Parser' column and select the appropriate content type.
Click on 'Parser' to open the 'Parser' form.
This form will upload some content to help you fill in the appropriate parsing settings.
Look at the 'ASCII Import' plug-in for more information.

Excel: Download excel file and parse the content of every sheet.
RSS: Download RSS feed then transform it to CSV.
Zip: Download a compressed archive and parse every file included inside the archive.

1.2.5. Settings

Click on the "Settings" cell to open the settings form.
Within this form you can specify:
Whether to submit the fields data with a POST or GET method.
Whether to execute the URL-Script once or for each combination of fields.
For more information on the URL-Script, please visit the appropriate section.

The URL-Script is executed before downloading any data. This script let you define dynamic URLs. It is executed for each combination of fields, which means that if for example you are using 10 Symbols and a custom field with 2 custom data. This script will be executed 20 times, once for each Symbols-Custom data combination. If you check the above element, then the script will be executed only one time, and you have to define the URLs inside this script.

1.2.6 Test


In the 'Update Download Item' form, there is a button named 'Test'.
Click on this button to see how the application will browse your URLs to import your content.
This tool is designed to help you find and correct possible problems.


1.2.7. Detect


In the 'Update Download Item' form, there is a button named 'Detect'.
Click on this button to open a browser page. Visit your content pages URLs to look for all the form fields names.
This tool is designed to help you create your download item.


1.3. Download Settings


1.3.3. Settings

  • Maximum number of download threads to allow: specify how many concurrent threads to use during the downloading process. 
  • This item should download data every: You specify here a number of days for your download item, and the application will alert you each time a download item needs to be run. A column named 'Need a run', in the 'Download Manager' form, tells you if the download item needs a run or not.
  • Number of seconds to wait between requests
  • Database to use for the 'last symbol date': Use this option to download only missing quotes or data. Select a database so the downloader can grab the last date from the symbol data in the specified database.


1.3.4. Proxies

Specify a list of proxy URLs to use when downloading data.
Each line represents a proxy URL.

1.3.5. Symbol translation table

Translate symbols before downloading data.
Change the symbol name in the URL that will be used to download data.

Each line represents the source and destination symbol pair.

1.3.6. Offset dates


The "offset dates" button let you offset dates components.
If for example yahoo wants the month component to varies from 0 to 11, 0 means January and 11 means December, then in the 'Offset Dates', set the 'Offset Month' numeric box to one.

1.4. Using the downloader


To open the downloader form, select "Download -> Download Manager".
Select a download item then click on "Open".
Click on the button "Start" to begin the downloading process.
The progress column shows you the download progression and each time a download is complete, the corresponding row is unchecked.

In the "download items" grid, the "Last" column indicates the number of days since the last execution of the corresponding item.


1.4.1. Symbols


If you have specified a symbol field in the 'Update Download Item' form, then a 'Symbols' tab will appears.
Select the symbols you would like to download.


1.4.2. Dates


If you have specified a Date field in the 'Update Download Item' form, then the 'Dates' tab will appears.


In this tab, select the start date, the end date, the format, the interval, then click on 'Save'.

The 'Dates' text box, will show you the dates that are going to be used in the downloading.

Format text box:

[Y]: year, example: 2008
[Y2]: year, example: 08
[M]: month, example: 01 or 10
[M2]: month, example: 1 (without the 0) or 10
[D]: day, example: 01 or 22
[D2]: day, example: 1 (without the 0) or 22

In 'Update Download Item' form, you can also specify dates component within the URL.

Example for yahoo:[2M2]&b=[2D2]&c=[2Y]&d=[M2]&e=[D2]&f=[Y]&g=d&ignore=.csv

Dates format are a little bit different here:
[Y], [Y2], [M], [M2], [D], [D2] refers to start date, while [2Y], [2Y2], [2M], [2M2], [2D], [2D2] refers to end date.

1.4.3. Start and end dates

If you have specified date components within URLs, a 'Start & End Dates' tab will appears in the 'Download Data' form.

Select 'Last symbol data' to download only missing quotes or data.
The database that will be used to get the last downloaded date for a particular symbol can be set in the 'Download Settings' form.



1.4.4. Custom fields


If you have specified a custom field in the 'Update Download Item' form, then a tab containing a text box will appears.
Each line inside this text box corresponds to a value.


1.5. Downloader Scripts


1.5.1. URL-Script

If you need to dynamically specify the URL to download then you have to use the URL-Script to programmatically specify what URLs or URLs paths to use.
A URL path is a sequence of URLs. It is used if for example before loading a URL, the website requires that you load some other pages, login...
A URL is added using the following function:

A URL path is added using the following functions:

Functions.CreateURLPath: creates an URL path.
AddURL: adds an URL to an URL path.
Functions.AddURLPath: adds an URL path.

The (Functions.Net) class contains different methods to download, extract and parse HTML documents.

1.5.2. Summary

The engine will look for URLs specified in the URL-Script; it downloads them and split the content using the parser settings. It then passes the split content to the Pre-Script. This script allows you to modify the provided data. Finally the content is parsed and before added to the quotes or custom databases, it is passed to the Post-Script.



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