What is this?

If you're a fan of Elite: Dangerous then you may also follow the Frontier Developments forums. If you do that then you may be frustrated at the lack of an easy way to see just the developer posts.

Your response then might be to write a scraper to form an RSS feed of the posts. There have been others providing similar services. If you also want to keep up on Twitter, Steam and Reddit posts then Elite Dangerous Dev Tracker is useful.

You might then eventually decide that rather than doing direct SQL queries on the database perhaps you should write a small web page to allow anyone to search the 'precis' text of each post. That would be what this page is for.

NB: The feed is updated at most every 5 minutes, more slowly if the forums are especially busy. Thus there's no point polling this feed more often than every 5 minutes. Also the output contains the last 7 days worth of posts, so if you check the feed any less frequently than that you will miss posts.

Caveat 1 - This feed will only contain the fully public posts from the forums, i.e. nothing from the Private Backers Forum or the Alpha Backers Forum. Also you'll see all Frontier Developments forum posts, not just those relating to Elite: Dangerous.

Caveat 2 - Each post in this feed will be as it is seen on the appropriate member profile page's "Activity List". That means you'll only ever see the new text (only a portion of it for longer posts), and never any quoted text. To gather the quoted text and/or full posts would take an extra page load per item which would add to the load that the scraper causes on the forum. I already go to some lengths to lighten the impact the scraper has on the forums, especially during those times the forums are under high load, and wouldn't want to upset the moderators by causing more of an issue.

The oldest useful posts are from around 10th October 2014, when I first started running the scraper. There are a few older posts where accounts had only posted a few times in the past, as far back as 2006!

Note that the box does accept & (ampersand) for logical AND along with | (pipe) for logical OR and ! (exclamation mark) for logical NOT. So you can construct queries like "anarchy & ! wanted". If you do not include any of these logical operators then it will assume you want to search only for posts with containing all your words, i.e. it will turn "green tree frog" into "green & tree & frog". If you wanted an 'OR' search then you'd need to use "green | tree | frog".

Also note that the text search tries to be clever, it will include plurals of the words you specify and other such slight transformations.

The results are currently sorted on the Rank column, which is supplied by the underlying search engine, weighted towards words being found close together, and then by the Date/time column, most recent towards the top.

The Search Box

Rank Date/time Thread (forum) Poster Precis

Who are you?

I go by the name 'Athanasius' online, and indeed I'm 'Cmdr Athanasius' in Elite: Dangerous. You'll also find me as 'Athan' on QuakeNet's #elite-dangerous and on the Frontier Forums.


2017-09-02 18:25 BST
I've just implemented being able to search on thread title text as well as on the precis text. There are checkboxes, both on by default, to control this. If you try to search with neither ticked you'll get an error.

2015-06-15 11:01 BST
Linebreaks in the Precis output are now properly converted to <br/> sequences. I won't be attempting to parse URLs in there to linkify them, click through to the forum link if needs be.

2015-06-15 23:50 BST
If you specify no logical operators at all the query will assume you want ALL the terms to be present in results, i.e. it will turn "powerplay update" into "powerplay & update". If you really do want "powerplay | update" then you'll need to put that pipe character in.

2015-06-15 23:23 BST
First live version up and running, it's only searching on the 'precis' text for now, no filters for posters or dates.