I’m not sure whether to be impressed by the BBC’s new online Programme Catalogue. On the surface, and a pretty ugly surface it is too, it’s just a web front-end on an impressive database. If there’s something worth celebrating, it’s the fact that people have been doing such sterling work maintaining the database in the first place. (One interesting aside, though: according to ex-BBCer Tom Coates, it’s built using Ruby On Rails. I haven’t seen that mentioned widely.)
Dig a little deeper, though, and there’s a gem of a function struggling to get out. Ever wondered what was on TV the day you were born? Take this example – http://open.bbc.co.uk/catalogue/infax/on_this_day/1985/7/13 (Live Aid day, not the day I was born) – and change the year, month and day at the end. Cool. But I wonder how many visitors to the site will have spotted it?