RSS/Atom is a great companion in the smol web. It's relatively standard, easy to write, easy to consume, and provide users with choice on how to view their feeds.
I think an RSS reader as an SSH app could be useful.
Here are some other RSS readers in the market: https://hey.lists.sh/rss-readers
We would try to provide a great reading experience from the terminal. No need to install an RSS reader like newsboat. No need to sync a config file across multiple apps. Just SSH into our app and read some content. Furthermore, many of the readers do not provide an rss-to-email feature and most rss-to-email services do not provide readers so there's an interesting opportunity here to capture both audiences.
The other nice thing about an RSS reader app is that it ties into our other services that leverage RSS as well. It's hard to let users know of new features when they aren't notified about them.
By providing a service that emails users of our services, it would hopefully improve our communication with our users.
I also think a web version could be interesting. Anyone could navigate to any user's feed collection and read its content. This would also provide mobile support for users since they can just navigate to our website. The only issue is we might have to deal with content security policy and ensuring we could render the html content consistently. It definitely opens us open to a bunch of edge cases.
A user would
echo "<feed>" | ssh reads.sh
We would dedupe the feeds and add them to our
posts table. Because an RSS
feed can contain a bunch of metadata about a feed, we should capture as much of
that as possible inside the
posts table. The downside is we use
a lot of our services (e.g. lists, prose, and pastes) so we want to be careful
not to overload this table. Having said that, I think an rss feed fits into
the post paradigm. We just need to add a
data jsonb column to
ALTER TABLE posts ADD COLUMN data jsonb;
We want to be smart about how we fetch feeds because it could be resource intensive if the service gets big enough.
What would trigger us fetching feeds?:
Fetching feeds can be a little tricky since some feeds do not provide the html inside their atom entry. Instead they provide a link for users to click on to navigate to their site. This kind of defeats the purpose of using RSS so we could just render the link and force users to open their browser. Or we fetch the link provided in the atom entry and store the html in our database. This would probably provide a better user experience but it opens us open to a slew of edge cases and weird behavior.
I also think that if we do send out a daily digest, we add a button in the email that they need to click within 30 days or else we disable sending them an email. They click the button in the email -> we delay shutdown for 30 days.
We would probably create a separate table for the feed results in order to optimize storing an retrieval.
CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS feed_entry ( id uuid NOT NILL DEFAULT uuid_generate_v4(), post_id uuid NOT NULL, read boolean NOT NULL DEFAULT false, author character varying(250), category character varying(250), published timestamp without time zone NOT NULL DEFAULT NOW(), rights character varying(2000), source character varying(2000), content text, contributor character varying(250), atom_id character varying(250), link character varying(2000), summary text, title character varying(250), created_at timestamp without time zone NOT NULL DEFAULT NOW(), updated_at timestamp without time zone NOT NULL DEFAULT NOW(), CONSTRAINT entry_unique_atom_id UNIQUE (atom_id, post_id), CONSTRAINT feed_entry_pkey PRIMARY KEY (id), CONSTRAINT fk_entry_posts FOREIGN KEY(post_id) REFERENCES posts(id) ON DELETE CASCADE ON UPDATE CASCADE );
We will probably also want a queuing system. I figured we could just build one that fits our purposes inside our database.
CREATE TYPE JOB_STATUS AS ENUM ('in_progress', 'success', 'fail'); CREATE TYPE JOB_TYPE AS ENUM ('fetch_feed'); CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS app_queue( id uuid NOT NILL DEFAULT uuid_generate_v4(), post_id uuid NOT NULL, status JOB_STATUS, type JOB_TYPE, input jsonb # params needed to execute job output jsonb # result of job created_at timestamp without time zone NOT NULL DEFAULT NOW(), CONSTRAINT queue_pkey PRIMARY KEY (id), CONSTRAINT fk_queue_posts FOREIGN KEY(post_id) REFERENCES posts(id) ON DELETE CASCADE ON UPDATE CASCADE );
I haven't figured out a great way for users to add metadata to their feeds.
For example, if they want to add tags to a feed so they could view a collection
of feeds in one list. We could do it within the CMS but I feel like it would
be better if there were a file format that could do that for us. the
format seems like a good candidate.
I like the idea of storing the results in the database, but I could also see an argument for using something more ephemeral like redis.
The litmus test for a premium service at pico is: does it cost us more resources to keep the service up and running?
I think creating, categorizing, and viewing the results of your feeds should be free. The premium service would be the email digest component. We could also offer an always fetching feature for premium users.
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