I know we both like type. If you are anything like me then you probably also have a slight addiction to following the latest updates and buzz in “the industry”. Us type geeks/nerds (pick your own adjective) tend to be rather social online – or at least interested in others’ posts. This leads to such a daily torrent of type news that it can become overwhelming to follow everything. Reading the important stories, then sorting through all the duplicate content to find those extra special nuggets is a chore. So a couple months ago Sonja and I started working on an aggregator to help deliver us the best type-related news with less work, in a way that is easier to skim and also more fun to browse. Meet Type News.
The site runs on SweetCron, a system developed to painlessly publish a “life stream” of your online activities. I crudely adapted it to grab items from 50+ sites/feed I like to follow. Those of you who used it at typestream.youshouldliketypetoo.com know that it had some serious performance problems. The flood of items (but more importantly the method of fetching them) was too complex for the system to handle. This caused frequent, major server errors and rendered the site nearly unusable.
Eventually, we came up with a powerful and more intelligent solution to solve many of the performance problems. Using Yahoo Pipes we* were able to combine, filter, and reformat all the feeds into one massive RSS feed. This cut out several back-end hacks and many, many extra database requests. It is now much more stable and faster, even with a few unavoidable performance issues (like the number of http requests per page). Code is still being optimized and we are also looking into new hosting options – which will make a difference.
This is a section of our Yahoo Pipes setup which is responsible for grabbing all the type news. You can see the whole illustration here.
Type News is an autonomous aggregating site that grabs the latest type-related things from all over the internet. Every 5 minutes it sucks up new items and spits them out into three categories: images, tweets, and blog posts. From the main page you can skim through the timeline of news then hop over to the items’ original sites to read the whole posts. It also archives the permalinks and tags for later perusing and searching.
Hopefully you’ll find Type News (beta) fun and useful to browse. Stay tuned for several new features that will deliver an even better experience. You will definitely be seeing them in action in the near future.
Also, please feel free to comment here, or e-mail me, with any thoughts or suggestions you may have regarding Type News!
*Sonja deserves all the credit for the programming, coding, and figuring out exactly how to set up the complicated Pipes system perfectly.