feeds and rivers

I’ve started to poke at something that’s been on the back burner for too long.

I put out IFURLs (a weekly curation and summation of interactive fiction links) for about a year, and while I enjoyed the process I felt like I reached a natural limit doing everything by hand after a while, so I put it on hold. The new idea (well, it’s certainly not new at this point) was to build a tool that would make the process easier and invite collaboration from like minded folks. I thought that while I was at it I could add feeds from outside the strictly-defined parser IF community, since I did that anyway with the list by hand. Choice-based games, muds, electronic writing of every kind — what I wanted to make was a huge firehose of all that stuff and then develop the tool to make it easy to filter and sort that information for the reader, the ultimate goal always being to present a weekly select list of the most interesting links. So it’s not a planet site, and not an add-a-link Reddit or Hacker News clone; I’ve seen these kinds of sites described as rivers and that’s not a bad description.

I’ve taken the first step of putting about 30 feeds (some are planets as well) on a page.

I’m using Clojure, noir-async, and clj-rome to put it all together.

Clj-rome wraps the rome-fetcher RSS library, and that seems to present the first issue. You can see in the screenshot that some of the items include dates and some don’t. It appears that rome-fetcher isn’t parsing some of the RSS pubdates correctly. The Mudbytes feed items for example includes pubdates, but I don’t get them in the rome-fetcher parsed feed.

I remember 5 or so years ago when I swore I never would touch Java code. I seriously had a natural aversion to it from the first time I had half an idea of what it was all about. I guess Time is the great Trickster, isn’t it?

I’m not sure how to proceed with the pubdate issue. There was a somewhat related issue filed at the rome-fetcher Jira page, and I commented on that. In the worst case I can add my own date based on when I pull down the feed item, since it’s not that important that my date syncs precisely with the actual post date of whatever I’m grabbing.

A nice thing about Java is its layers of abstraction. It feels industrial and solid. Of course that’s also a downside; getting at a problem seems to require a lot more peeling back of layers, though I think (hope) some of this complexity is just a lack of familiarity.

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