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HowTo build Google Reader like Multi-User RSS and Atom Aggregator - Feed On Feeds

Desktop aggregators are great.  They sit there all day, pinging away at sites, and as soon as they notice something new, they pop up little windows on your desktop, and let you read items.  But what about when you go home from work?  Or what about when you are on a trip?  You get totally out of sync, and don't know what you've read and haven't read.  You are enraged.

A server side aggregator solves this.  It keeps track of what items you've read, and keeps happily checking up on your feeds no matter where you are.  Whenever you want to see what's new, you just bring up a web page and scan the newest items.  You can mark the items as read so they won't be shown again.  Or, you can just always show the most recent N items, like the way LiveJournal's friends pages work.  Also, having the aggregator in your browser eliminates the "impedance mismatch" that sometimes occurs between a desktop aggregator and your browser.  All your native browsing methods work on a FEED ON FEEDS page.  Open pages in new tabs, bookmark them for later, browse whatever way you like.

Installation and Configuration of Feed On Feeds:
1) Download this tarball.

2) Explode it using command - tar -zxvf feedonfeeds-0.5.tgz

3) Copy fof-config-sample.php to fof-config.php, and edit it to contain the correct DB connection information.
define('FOF_DB_HOST', "");
define('FOF_DB_USER', "username");
define('FOF_DB_PASS', "password");
define('FOF_DB_DBNAME', "database");
If needed, create a MySQL DB for FEED ON FEEDS.  Or, you can use an existing DB.

4) Upload the entire tree to wherever on your server you want FEED ON FEEDS to live.

5) Load the page http://{your server}/{wherever you put FEED ON FEEDS}/install.php.  The installer will first check that it can connect to your DB, and then attempt to create the necessary two tables.  Then, it will attempt to create a subdirectory called cache where it will store cached copies of RSS feeds.

6) Just set a password for the admin account and you should be ready to go!
Done! Navigate to, login, and start subscribing or creating users!

Setting up scheduled updates
The best way to use FEED ON FEEDS is to set it up to update periodically, and then read feeds whenever you have the time.  FEED ON FEEDS comes with a script, update-quiet.php, which will update all feeds without producing any output.  You can use cron, or whatever task scheduling system is available to you, to call this script periodically to update your feeds.  Once per hour should be sufficient.  For example, here is a crontab entry to run it 30 minutes past each hour:

30 * * * * /usr/bin/php -f

Alternatively, you can just click on 'update all feeds' every once in a while yourself to get the latest items.


Anonymous said...

Been using FoF for a few years now and I don't want to miss it :)

Anonymous said...

Just installed it but love it already. Is there a way to import twitter messages?

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