Aggregator Adventures


One day, when I surfed the web, I found an interesting site. This site has function like a normal blog, but the post written there was posted from various blog sources. Later, I knew that this blog is called aggregator. How this blog aggregator works? It works by collecting RSS Feeds from various blogs registered. The feeds then posted as normal posts in the aggregator. One of the differences is the article title linked to the “real” blog source.

Ilkomerz 41 Blog Aggregator
Ilkomerz 41 Blog Aggregator

When I knew that some of my friends also have their own blogs, I started to thinking about building this aggregator. The site that I found earlier is powered by Planet, a Phyton-based feed reader. I tried it, and ended up with failure. I just couldn’t configure and tested it properly. I didn’t have Internet connection and didn’t familiar with Phyton at that time. So, I tried to find alternative. I found WP-o-Matic plugins for WordPress. So I installed, asked my friends permission to grab their feeds, and hosted it. I called it Ilkomerz 41 Blog Aggregator.

Another problem arose. This plugin will automatically read and parse feeds from its registered blogs every amount of time. To make this fetching run automatically, it uses cron job. The WP-o-Matic has two options of cron job. The first one is UNIX cron job run by web hosting. Free hosting, like the one I use, doesn’t give cron job feature. So I go to the next option, web cron. It will automatically calling fetching script on the hosting.

I use the web cron option for some months until suddenly the aggregator was down. Well, it worked again when I send a support ticket to the hosting provider. I know that maybe it’s not because of the web cron spending too much resource. I suspected that because of the multi-user nature of the aggregator, the blog automatically sending email to the blog writer. The hosting may called it spam. So I killed the auto-email feature. I also shut down WP-o-Matic and switched it to manual fetching. I know that maybe it’s not because of the WP-o-Matic’s web cron, but I don’t wanna take the risk losing this blog for the second time.

Manual fetching was a pain. I must open my Google Reader, find if my friends have new post, and then login to the aggregator, fetching the post, and the post will showed up. I was thinking, there must be a better way to do this. Accidently, I found out that there are some webs that provide free cron job. One of them is SetCronJob. This site can calls the cron script url of the aggregator. So, I tried it yesterday. I registered the aggregator to the site. And now, my aggregator works well automatically. I don’t know what will come in the future, but I have a high hope for SetCronJob.

Do you have another opinions or experience? Feel free to share it.

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