Multimedia Stock Ticker
One day a friend of mine who worked for a New York pharmacutical
company called me up and asked if I could help him with a project.
The company was going to have a booth at an upcoming trade show,
and they wanted to have a presentation playing on a pair of large
screens at the booth. The presentation would consist of a looping
video clip and a pair of stock tickers at the bottom of the screen.
The budget for the project was small, so I suggested a custom
Visual Basic application that could be written quickly and cheaply.
Originally, I embedded the Windows Media Player into the application
to play the video clip. However, halfway through the project,
the format of the video clip was changed to Apple QuickTime and
used a codec that was unsupported by the Windows Media Player.
A freely embeddable version of the QuickTime player was unavailable
at the time, so I decided to embed Microsoft Internet Explorer
into the application, which then displayed a web page that contained
the QuickTime clip.
Stock quotes were pulled from Yahoo using the Microsoft XML library's
XMLHTTP component to grab the HTML documents. Regular expressions
parsed the HTML to extract the necessary quotes. The list of quotes
was stored in a text configuration file so it could changed at
the last minute without recompiling the application.
The ticker graphics were generated in hidden picturebox controls
and Win32 API routines were used (for speed) to copy the portions
of the pictureboxes to the on-screen tickers.
The entire project took about 20 hours, including changes requested
by the client, debugging and deployment.