Friday, November 1, 2013

Bad google (Setting up Gregarius online RSS aggregator to replace iGoogle)

I used iGoogle for reading a variety of page feeds, otherwise know as RSS feeds and now it is gone.  I didn't use the other features, which resemble apps on Android, or plugins  in  Chrome.  I don't think they realized how useful the rss aggregation was when they obsoleted it.  

I could go to this page from any device and have my own sites all summarized with one liner entries, which was updated with refreshes.  The Google backend handled all the rss reading and formatting, not my local device, so the only heavy lifting required by the device was when I clicked thru to a page to read it.

I found this aggregator and struggled to get it set up on linux, there were a couple of vague references I had to do a bit of experimenting with to get going.

the setup I elected is to run it on a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP) server.  It can be run with apache and php standalone on a local device.

it lacks individual user support near as I can tell, so you get a single list of pages batched up from this server.  At least I have a central place for my pasteup and i can export the web page from my local system to any of my devices.

These are notes on how to set up the system filling in the gaps I found in the instructions.  I have found a couple of nice pages explaining the setup, but they suffered in assuming I knew what they were talking about in setting up the database and a few other details.

Gregarius is a bit of a puzzle to set up.  It can be downloaded here gregarius

there are some assumptions which for some are maybe simple for some, but baffled me a bit.

here is a tutorial for setting up the thing


not obvious is the database creation.

I used mysql, and the setups were pretty plain for that.  However they asked for username and password in the install script, and also for admin password.

The install can be run via a gui or you can create a database init yourself manually.  If you are running by gui a file with the dbinnit  is created for download to your apache server.  Once you have that, and install it in the rss file you can create the sql with another script, install.php

Turns out the admin password and account asked for in the gui are for the mysql so it can encode the mysql output with proper passwords for the setup it outputs. 

A script called schema.php has to then be run to output a sql configured for your database, account system and tables.  That file can then run and create the database and configure it.

another problem is some of the weblinks don't pass back to the rss pages on apache. 

Individual feeds when you access it w/o any apache work go thru to the target sites, but the "group" jumps which the aggregator creates result in a 404.  Searching for that.  Looks like it is pointed at /rss (my sublocation on apache) and the apache isn't redirecting.

This may be the fix for that (from link above)

After you've created some feeds and you attempt to view them (below), you may find that you are getting 404 errors. The most likely reason for this is that your server is not running the Apache mod-rewrite module, so the short url's Gregarius uses by default are not being accepted. Simply go to Admin/Config and change the rss.output.usemodrewrite setting (second from the bottom) to false (screenshot).

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