Full-Text RSS 3.6

The new version of our Full-Text RSS application is now available. This is mostly a maintenance release. Here’s what’s new.

Improved image use

If we process an article and we find that it has no images. We’ll look to see if there’s an og:image property in the HTML header, and use that to insert an image into the beginning of the article. Because some sites use Javascript to load article images, recent bbc.com articles being a good example, we’re not always able to preserve those images. So this technique will at least insert one appropriate image at the top of the piece.

We’ve also added additional code to try replace placeholder images (1x1px transparent GIFs embedded with data URIs) with the actual image. This is a lazy loading technique some sites use to ensure images are not loaded until you scroll to the section where the image should appear. But as it relies on Javascript, Full-Text RSS doesn’t understand it. So we need to make sure the actual image is preserved when there’s no JS available.

Favour effective URL over feed item URL

Many feed publishers will hide article URLs behind tracking services. When you follow such links, it’ll take you to the article, but only after passing you through one or more tracking or URL shortening servers first.

Full-Text RSS follows these URLs as standard because it needs to reach the original article to get you the content. As a result, when we’re building the new feed for you, we know where those shortened/tracking URLs eventually lead. Previously we included the effective URL (the URL we reach after redirects) in the <identifier> field. We still do this, but you can now also tell Full-Text RSS to replace the original feed item URL with the effective URL by passing &use_effective_url in the querystring. You can also enable this permanently by editing the config file and changing the favour_effective_url option.

Of course if you use Full-Text RSS so you can avoid having to visit cluttered, ad-laden sites in the first place, this change probably won’t be a big deal for you.

Updated server setup script for VPS hosting

We recommend hosting Full-Text RSS on a VPS instance (e.g. from Linode or DigitalOcean). We offer a Puppet script that will initialise your Ubuntu 15.10 server with everything you need to run Full-Text RSS. It will install PHP, Apache, and all the required components. (Note: this version will not install PHP 7, but we might include that in a future release.)

Our hosting page has all the steps you need to follow to set this up.

Full changelog

  • Insert og:image (if we find one) at the top of the article when no images have been extracted
  • Additional lazy image load handling – helps preserve more images designed for JS-enabled browsers
  • Original GUID values from feed items now preserved
  • New config option favour_effective_url determines if item’s effective URL (after redirects) should replace original item URL in feed output
  • Adding &use_effective_url to querystring will replace original feed item URL with effective URL (unless disabled with config option above)
  • APCu stats view in admin panel fixed to work with recent versions of APCu
  • HTML5-PHP library updated
  • Tested for PHP 7 compatibility
  • VPS Puppet script (ubuntu-15.10.pp) updated – fixes issue with IDN encodings, among other things. (This is intended for setting up a new Ubuntu 15.10 instance for running Full-Text RSS.)
  • Site config files updated for better extraction
  • Other minor fixes/improvements

Available to try and buy

Full-Text RSS 3.6 is now available to buy. If you’re an existing customer, please wait for an email from us with an upgrade link.

Note, we are also now selling all our software as a bundle. If you’re considering buying more than one application, this might be a better deal for you. As an added bonus, buying the bundle gives you unlimited free updates, rather than the one year of updates we give when buying our software individually.