Following up yesterday’s mess, just getting rafts of emails from people (rightfully) worried Feed2JS makes me heave large sighs. This was a nice little project, that started as something to fill my own needs, that I lofted out on the net… and all of a sudden people around the world are riding on it, small lonely bloggers and a few corporate types. Scary.

Bottom line- in less than a month, I will not even have access to the server at Maricopa where it sits. the folks there may look after it, but they do not even know much about it, and have other things to worry about. And despite some people’s “cute” attempts, it’s not part of my job at NMC to leap into action when the server borks, or help people figure out why their output is aligned left or…

So in some sense I want to let it out, let it go, or hopefully find some generous angel(s) to adopt it. I don;t want to own it, I want others to get free use out of it.

So I have half a plan. I have a company that has offered to host the main site for free. And there is even a parking spot for it. But I really want to find some other folks to chip in and help, some coders to tune up the code, some designers to keep the site up to date, some friendly folks to help people sort out issues. I want the code to be out there in open source land.

So likely, in the next week or two, a new site will appear, and the http re-directs will steer traffic from Maricopa. But I need some thinkers to help figure out a system that would allow people interested in being a public mirror (a copy site made available to others), to easily download the software, and then somehow register their new site. There needs to be a system that can update the other mirror sites that a new one is one the scene (my present awkward methods relies on an RSS feed from the home server- so if that goes down, so goes the list of mirrors).

So is anyone interested in helping out? I am going to put the software out there, but I am not going to be a lone support team for it…

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. Alan,

    I’ve been running an older copy of feed2js and while it hasn’t gone down, I’ve run into a very similar situation, where I moved on to different pastures and the service has more or less just kept running.

    I checked on it recently, and it was getting over 600,000 hits a day, including hits from an official AOL site. That kind of traffic is not really sustainable without explicit sponsorship.

    I am not sure what the solution is, but something other than just a mirror site may be needed. Some way to redirect traffic, but that sounds a bit difficult.

    Regards

    David

  2. I hear you David- your site, featuring a 2+ year old version of the code, is a near top hit on google.

    The low end solution is you just remove it, generate lots of broken sites, and create ill-will out on the net, not much of an option. My approach, when I get a new “master” site, is to simply set up a htaccess re-direct from my old site to the new– this seamlessly transfers all request, including the embedded JavaScript. Or you could do the redirect for the script only, and then post a notive on the main site to say “This has been moved”.

    I should have some notes to share later this week.

    Crazy stuff.

    BTW, other sites out there are technically not “mirrors”, since a failure to one site does not go to the next, more like clones. I found 127 other sites where you can build a feed:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=feed2js%2Fbuild.php

  3. Alan,

    My first step was to implement an extra layer of caching, where I cached the rendered HTML and support 304 headers (e-tags). Then I increased the delay in updates to 3 hours. We’ll see how it goes.

    In terms of redirection, I was thinking more in terms of a kind of distributed load-balancing, rather than a straight redirect, but that seems pretty fanciful.

    I considered throwing an extra line in there “sponsored by…”, which might put some people off, but some sites and content are really not things we’d want to be associated with.

    Other ideas were to just start sending back empty data to the most egregious users, and then at some point change it to a (more or less) obnoxious message. That was in my weaker moments!

    David

  4. You’re extenidng a lot of effort and I know you would not just cut people off at the feed.

    I am trying to hold my patience as people email me asking about a free service I have given for years, for which I get no money, and is running on a server I do not even have access to. Where is the notion that if you set up something for free, give it away, that you are also there to hand hold them through every last step?

    I want a big DIY sign.

Comments are closed.