Integrating A Sweetcron Firehose/Lifestream into WordPress

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Whatever spare spare time I’ve had the last couple of weeks I’ve spent trying to figure out how to make a lifestream page for this site. A lifestream is basically a page that shows as close to everything possible that a particular person has been up to on the internet. A firehose is somewhat similar.

This was tough. I first started out using Yahoo Pipes to create a feed of all my feeds. Yahoo Pipes is pretty cool, but the feed it outputs doesn’t always work and can’t be styled or easily integrated with WordPress. So I looked around a bit, and found Mark Pilgrim’s Firehose. I liked the way it looked, so I found the post explaining how he did it. Unfortunately, he’s much smarter at the internet than I am, and his solution, though it looked promising, was beyond my ken.

My next stop was MetaFilter, since I hang out there frequently and the hive mind knows all. I found a couple of good resources pointing me to other possibilities; namely Sweetcron or reBlog.

I chose sweetcron and got to work. I even found a way to integrate my WordPress theme into a sweetcron theme. This setup process was not easy and hasn’t worked completely. The sweetcron-run firehose uses my WordPress theme brilliantly, but there’s some sort of conflict engendered by the WordPress mod-rewrites in the .htaccess files, which results in the page header always displaying 404 Page Not Found. How to fix this? The aforelinked integration mentioned a few steps to take care of this issue, but in my case they didn’t work.

I dug around in the WordPress forums and found out that Apache’s mod-rewrite in the .htaccess file for WordPress has often caused this error for any non-Wordpress subdirectories on a domain. None of the suggestions mentioned in that thread worked, so I think there’s some sort of conflict between the root-level WordPress .htaccess file and the sweetcron directory .htaccess file. I might be wrong, that sort of thing is out of my depth.

However, apart from the 404 Page Not Found in the page header, the rest of the lifestream/firehose works just fine. If you really want to monitor most of my online activities (and I know there’s at least one person in the County Administration Building who does), this should make it easier for you.

Always happy to help!