Its not secret, I love social networking, I cant get enough of it. I also love programming and anything internet related.
I’m not sure how I came across it, but a PHP based, Object Oriented RSS caching tool named SimplePie caught my attention.
Previously I had been using a tool called Last RSS, but I found that Last RSS could not handle ATOM feeds.
Digging into how SimplePie works, I found that I could merge several feeds together, sorted by post time, my first thought was to use this to aggregate and cache all the different music related news feeds that and going to add content to notpopular.com v2.5 (when ever I finish it). I started thinking about it a bit more and thought it would be cool to use SimplePie to mash together all of the different RSS feeds from the different social networks I am on.
It wasn’t that hard to use SimplePie and the various social networks to make something really cool.
//establish the feeds
$pownce = new SimplePie("$pownceRSS_url");
$flickr = new SimplePie("$flickrRSS_url");
$twitter = new SimplePie("$twitterRSS_url");
$digg = new SimplePie("$diggRSS_url");
$youtube = new SimplePie("$youtubeRSS_url");
//merge them all together!
$merged = SimplePie::merge_items(array($pownce, $flickr, $twitter, $digg, $youtube));
Then all you have to do is look over each item in $merged, and output the appropriate info you want.
You can see what I built over at www.JoshHighland.com
One thing I really found great was the API that was on the SimplePie site.
After I put this all together, I found out that there is a term for what I had just built. People are calling them “LifeStreams“, which is a very appropriate term. I thought I had invented something, but guess LifeStreaming is like fire or a spear, given enough time people all over the place will discover it on their own.
I encourage you do set up a LifeStream for yourself and post the URL in the comments below. It’s fun!
My LifeStream: www.JoshHighland.com
UPDATE (10/29/08) :
I was having trouble with my feed from twitter dying after a while. It would only fetch it once, then nothing.I found the answer to my problem on the simplePie blog, http://simplepie.org/blog/2008/08/16/twitter-bug/. I followed the instructions and commented out the If statement on lines 1583-1586, and the twitter feed started to work again. I hope that twitter updates their RSS service so hacks like this aren’t needed.