Five Filters Full-Text Feeds is the Better Parser

AutoBlogged has the ability to extract full articles from an RSS feed that only contains excerpts, but that feature of AutoBlogged is somewhat new and not as robust as we would like it to be. Fortunately, AutoBlogged works well with other products and one of our favorites is Five Filters Full-Text RSS. There was a time when we avoided full-text feeds due to copyright issues and the fact that autoblogging had a bad reputation for creating spam sites. But the web is different now and content curation is well-accepted and thriving.

While our built-in full-text feature works for most sites, occasionally we run across a site that just doesn’t work well. When that happens, Five Filters is what we turn to. Although AutoBlogged uses a parser derived from the Five Filters PHP readability script, some sites simply work best with their original script.

Five Filters recently announced a new v3 update and we are anxious to take a look. Full-Text RSS has always had the ability to fine-tune page parsing but v3 introduces powerful new features such as multi-page article parsing, HTML 5 support, better AJAX handling, and pre-built configuration files for more than 700 popular sites.

To use Full-Text RSS, you can try their free hosted script (which limits feeds to 5 items), use their premium hosting at 8 €/month, or purchase a copy you can host yourself for a one-time payment of 20 €.

We definitely recommend buying a self-hosted copy. You can host the script right on your own web server, or as they suggest you can set up a free hosting account at AppFog. Here are their instructions for doing this:

Host for free on AppFog
AppFog offers users free hosting with 2GB RAM. That’s more than enough to run Full-Text RSS for most users.To get started:

  1. Create a free account
  2. Install the AppFog command-line client (af)
  3. Change into the Full-Text RSS folder
  4. Type af push
  5. Follow the prompts and you’re done.

Note: if you get a 701 error saying the URL has been taken, edit manifest.yml and comment out the line starting with name: and url: by inserting a hash sign (#) at the beginning of the line. Save and try again. This time af will prompt you for an application name and URL.

Override config options with environment variables
Most of the config options in the config file can now be overridden with environment variables. When creating environment variables, use the option name prefixed with ‘ftr_‘. For example, to override $options->max_entries and limit the maximum to 2, create an environment variable with key ftr_max_entries and value 2.

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