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Bespoke software, and a really simple RSS aggregator (routley.io)
54 points by jmlr 42 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

I have to admit (with a bit of shame, as a Free Software fan) that most of the software I write on a personal basis is like this: bespoke & unpublished. It's just too damn work for what I expect to be a pretty small audience.

For example, I have a small cron script that emails me today's showtimes for my local film museum (which shows old films on a large screen) along with the predicted score from Criticker.

It would be cool if there was some very easy way (I'm lazy!) of letting a non-techie benefit from this, without me having to deal with a publicly available server, storing their Criticker credentials, etc.

I guess the easiest way would be a Chrome extension, but I'm not a fan of the whole app store part, plus I don't want to have to rewrite in JS. And that still leaves mobile users in the cold, which is dumb.

I often have a similar problem. It's hard to get around server requirements in a simple and cheap way. And very hard to do simple cross-platform without JS.

Barring that, Github Pages is pretty good. You can get pretty far with a webapp that has some degree of caching/cookie/offline storage. Probably enough to display your local showtimes and maybe even interface with the user's Criticker – presuming Criticker has a CORS-enabled API. Automatic cross-platform UI and mobile support, no app stores or extensions. With Github Actions, I think you could even webpack a React app if you wanted.

But running it on a schedule and sending an email.... suddenly much more work.

Basically, we’d like everyone to run their own server where they could add your process as a unit, rather than you running a server for everyone.

I guess this might have been very useful as a Huginn module. Maybe Urbit matures to be a functional version of this. The problem is that today’s computing culture grooms people to be dependent on others’ servers/services, rather than being in control of one machine of theirs.

I mean, sure, I'd like everyone to run their own server. But in this case I don't think you'd even need it, a scheduled task in a regular client machine (smartphone/laptop/etc) would be enough. There just isn't an easy way for me to turn my script into something that a smartphone can use, without building a full-fledged app.

Windows 8.1 (both phone and desktop) briefly supported Live Tiles driven by refresh/pull of a tiny bit of metadata you could easily add to the HEAD section of a webpage. If a user bookmarked that page to their Start Screen, Windows would poll that page every so often (IIRC as often as once every 30 minutes) and the user would see the notification eventually. It was a neat way to run very basic scheduled tasks. [1]

I wish something similar had become more common. I understand why all the platforms are focused on push notifications rather than pull notifications, but it's so much easier to write a bit of HTML/XML templating than to write anything with a PWA ServiceWorker and the Push Notifications API.

[1] The one app I built during that brief time was to poll NaNoWriMo for count API updates. It's a really simple app and was easy to customize with just an old school HTML method="GET" form. https://github.com/WorldMaker/NaNoWriMoAtGlance/

Oh neat! Coincidental timing for me too seeing this as I'm procrastinating finishing up my own similar thing but built on totally different infrastructure (Ruby, Lambda, DynamoDB, S3, so far..) and for a different set of feeds (several hundred tech engineering blogs). GitHub Actions is something I did consider, but I'm trying to go AWS for everything recently to learn the ecosystem more. (The initial results of my own experiment are at http://engblogs.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/index.html but it's going to become a 'proper' site as part of the next step.)

Nice domain name, it's your last name, but I had assumed it was a company that did some kind of routing :)

Nice idea, but it feels like this itself should produce an RSS feed so that others can benefit from your collection - for the same reason you yourself use RSS.

Here's another barebones reader from 2018: https://leancrew.com/all-this/2018/02/my-feed-reading-system...

Thrilled to see this, and I already forked and am using it. This is exactly what I've been looking for.

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