Since using cron jobs to hourly refresh my MTRSSFeed-based news feeds was a bit too last year, I decided to modernize things by using a PHP-based solution. So along comes CaRP, which is one of those amazingly powerful sets of code that let you manipulate almost anything, but leave quite a bit to be desired in terms of usability. The other option I looked at, zFeeder, was the exact opposite. Very easy to use, but almost no control over feed output or customization. One really cool thing about CaRP is that it can aggregate feeds on the fly. So far, the most useful thing I've been able to do with that is merge posts from both Jay's blog with my own (see Friendly Connections, right). I know there's plenty more useful to be done with this, especially when combined with the filtering function. I could conceivably search a whole swath of feeds for any news about the Arctic and serve it to my page. Hey, that's not a bad idea...
On the down side, designing output templates using CaRP is a real chore. Instead of just chugging through an array of feeds that I list and outputting a nice set of PHP variables for me to layout and format, and I have to specify weird global settings like
bcb ("before channel before")
to add any code that will be placed before those channel items that are outputted before the feed items. Give me a break.
Still, I managed to get my previous news feeds working in some fashion for now. Improvements to come. My supreme ambition is to pull pictures from Flickr tag feeds around the whole 'northspace' theme. Streaming other peoples photos from around the Arctic would be dead cool.