Y’know, lylina isn’t bad, but it’s got some issues that are bugging me:

  • It's rather slow getting started. This is of course at least partly due to the fact that I have rather a lot of feeds in that thing; and also that quite often, every one of them needs to be loaded up before I can get a response back to my browser, due to the fact that I don't use the cron-based update feature. Reason being that, I didn't think I had the ability to set up cron jobs on my web host. Turns out I was wrong, so maybe I should go back and try fixing that. Still, it would be nice if it displayed something while it was loading up the feeds, especially if it could start displaying the feeds it's already downloaded and munged through while it continues working on the rest... y'know, more Ajaxy;)
  • The aggregator's own RSS feed doen't seem to work. I'm not actually sure whether it's supposed to have one, but the RSS icon shows up in the address bar when I visit in on Firefox, but if I add it to Sage, I can't read it; I just see an "XML Parse Error."
  • Handling of some special characters seems to need some work. For instance, for some reason, single quotes in feed titles show up preceded by three backslashes ("O\\\'Reilly Radar," "Michi\\\'s Blog") and entities aren't expanded in article titles.
  • It doesn't respond to not-perfectly-valid feeds as well as it could. You can't just assume all software out there generating RSS feeds is completely free of bugs. I've had feeds not parse correctly on a few occasions now, and in fact my own RSS feed for this site was invalid at one point because I used a less-than symbol in a post title (eventually I fixed that by using the html entity). Anyway, when any of the many feeds I have set up in lylina causes an error such as "not well formed," "junk after document element," or "undefined entity," not only does the error message appear at the top of the screen (not really a big deal), but I am thereafter unable to access my preferences page (I receive a page with only the word "Forbidden" on it). This is actually the main deal-breaker for me because it's really annoying. I haven't been able to open the preferences page to add or remove feeds for several days now.

Plus the things seems to be missing some features I’d like to have, though at the present time I can’t recall what those were. Overall it’s still a pretty promising piece of software, but the above point about dealing with invalid feeds really needs to be addressed. On the other hand, it’s quite possible that a majority of RSS aggregators share this problem.

I’m thinking of giving Rnews a try, and wondering if anyone out there has had any experience with it. Or has any other PHP/MySQL based RSS aggregator they really like.

Charlie Schiz

Charlie Schiz
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. I've been weird all my life. It's my time to shine.

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