As I’ve mentioned before, I’m using Feed on Feeds as my syndication feed aggregator of choice. FoF just progressed to v0.1.7, and despite a couple concerns—which I will detail later—I have migrated to it for personal use from 0.1.2. I tested other intermediate versions and found them slightly wanting before I upgraded. [If you want to see my unprotected 0.1.7 test bed, you can see it at https://gfmorris.net/feedstest/. This uses a slightly out-of-date feed database, and if you add/delete from it, I’m not going to cry—it’s a testbed and nothing else.]
How I use Feed on Feeds
I have a cronjob set up to run every 20 minutes to run update-quiet.php. This updates all my feeds in the background, and every once in a while, I load hit “view new items” in the frames view. If there are new items, they show up.
I’ve modified 0.1.7 to show posts in chronological order as noted in the linked RFE. I hate viewing syndication items in Weblog-style—that is, reverse chronological—order, because it doesn’t tell me what I missed in the order that I missed it. If I’m reading every 20 minutes, it’s not a big issue, really, but when reading overnights or over-the-weekends, yeah, there’s a difference.
I like the frames view, although I rearrange it every time it loads. I need to look and see how the frame sizing is declared so that I can change the defaults.
Why I Use Feed on Feeds
I read feeds from multiple machines; this makes client-based aggregators a pain for me. [There are great client-based aggregators on the market—FeedDemon is the only one I would recommend to Windows users.] I wanted something server-based, GPL‘d, and FREE. I found FoF thanks to Q Daily News, and I’ve been mostly happy with it.
Concerns I have with Feed on Feeds
There are obvious concerns—the biggest being that this is early-development software!—and one not-so-obvious one: FoF uses MagpieRSS as its feed parser, and the version of MagpieRSS used does not liberally parse feeds in the way that Mark Pilgrim’s Universal Feed Parser does. I agree with Mark that there are no exceptions to Postel’s Law: “Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send.” As such, I’m concerned that Magpie is not a liberal feed parser, but I will happily note that I am too lazy to try to re-write FoF to use UFP. Perhaps MagpieRSS will get with the liberalization as it approaches 1.0.
Kudos to Steve Minutillo for his work on FoF, and to Kellan Elliott-McCrea for his work on MagpieRSS. Thanks to these two guys, I have a solution that works for me.