cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by h.koppdelaney

I have great news to share- given the generosity of people who have donated financial support, and one anonymous donor in particular, I have sufficient funds to keep Feed2JS running at least through June 2013, and maybe longer.

For those not following this untrending topic, Feed2JS is a service I developed way back in 2003 while at the Maricopa Community Colleges- it exists as a platform for people to set up cut and past code to create a dynamic display in their own web sites of content generated by RSS.

As a matter of historical note- the idea for this was inspired by a site David Carter-Tod had created- the Wytheville Community College News Center. It was that example where I saw how via JavaScript a server script could could be called, passed a URL for an RSS feed, and in turn return the content of the feed via JS output statements.

David’s site used ASP; I decided to try my hand at my own with PHP and an old RSS parser called Onyx- the first site called rss2js was announced May 7, 2003. I later changed the name to Feed2JS which ran a number of years on a server at Maricopa, and then was generously offered free hosting by an ISP called Modevia.

Fast forward to September 27 of this year- While chilling on my sister’s boat in the Chesapeake Bay, IO got a few email questions asking what was wrong with the site. I checked, and indeed it was kaput. Bottom line, I discovered the company that bought Modevia had shut off the server (after getting in touch with them, they turned it on a few days to give me time to set up a new host).

I put out a red alert as I could not see being able to pay for a dedicated server. Feed2JS generates so much traffic, your garden variety $20 a month shared web server would be squashed by the demand – it required a dedicated server that runs $180 a month.

I put up some donation buttons, and added a little annoying link in the output content.

The donations came in, and a steady stream of them through October. Most recently, I was exploring the option of putting text add links on the main site.

And then a freedom moment happened.

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Rosh PR

I was contacted by someone who wishes to remain anonymous, that is offering enough extra funds to keep Feed2JS going a long time. This person wants no credit, beyond me writing this post.

What this means is that the main Feed2JS is secure for at least 18 months, maybe longer. I also removed the “supported by Feed2JS” link that was in the output the last few weeks. There are no ads at all on the site.

It means the service will keep going strong and the server costs is not a problem for the mid-term future.

This is great news, eh?

What I still seek, are some people to step in and help with some of the coding and working on improving the site. I set up a Google doc to collect some interests– and have not seen much action. I probably won’t be doing much beyond trying to address bugs reports that come in.

So who wants to lend some PHP code chops to this project? Bueller? Bueller?

PS- I owe David Carter-Tod a huge apology- I was in Blacksburg VA this October and completely biffed on remembering to contact him. I shall return and make amends in 2012

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at 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. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. If I could help with this I would. I know not of this language that you speak: JSON, optimization of PHP code, cache strategy. But this news is seriously freakin’ awesome!

    Love to your anonymous donour!

  2. I’ll forgive you, as long as you remove the extra “d” on my name 🙂

    Thanks for the acknowledgement.

    1. Yikes! I felt a tinge of wonder as I mis=typed and rushed it without checking… consider your name corrected!

      I’d be curious to hear your own story of coming up with the news reader site you did back in the day.

  3. Thanks. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last 🙂

    As to how I came up with it…it’s a long time ago now. I don’t even recall when I came up with it. The wayback machine has it as far back as August of 2000. It ran on a Pentium 90 for a number of years.

    Okay…so I dug around a bit: I used to follow Dave Winer at Scripting News for many years and was a fairly accomplished Userland Frontier user. I wrote the first working code for XML-RPC under ASP in 1999 (June) and created the first RSS feed for a college or university anywhere around the same time (September – So I was doing a fair amount of work with XML and getting my head around that which probably made the code itself come more easily.

    It looks like creating the college’s feed and then doing something with it occurred pretty much around the same time. As I remember it, I created the feed, wanted to re-use it myself and then made the code more generic. I must have been bored that summer, although since my second daughter was born earlier that year, I would guess not. Perhaps it was sleep deprivation?

    Either way, I released it, and others used it and as traffic increased I had to work through caching, performance, etc. That old box was throwing out 200,000 hits+ a day, and I haven’t even checked what the existing rss2js code I have is doing.

    It was a productive time for me, although I somehow feel that I missed out on the boom times 🙂

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