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!