Creating and Displaying Your Own Rivers
by Andy Sylvester Saturday, April 30, 2016

Several 1999ers have made comments about having their own river, so I would like to provide some pointers/advice on how to get started. In the same vein as “own your data” or “supporting the open web”, it's important for users to be able to set up their own tools for collecting/reading information on the Web, and not be dependent on other people's tools. Having said that, I have been happy to provide a river resource for the 1999er community (http://1999bloggers.andysylvester.com/). This post will help you to do the same for any blogs/feeds that you are interested in following.

There are two pieces to the river resource given above:

1. A installation of the River5 RSS aggregator running on a server

2. An HTML page that displays a river or rivers created by River5

At the River5 Github site (https://github.com/scripting/river5), there are several tutorials in the site wiki on installing River5:

Once you have River5 set up on a public server and creating river files (Javascript files that can be read/displayed by other applications (for example, 1999bloggers.js)), you have some options for being able to display those files. When River5 is running, you can direct people to the public display of the rivers being created. An example can be seen at http://node2.andysylvester.com:1337/, which is my main River5 installation. This install is creating multiple rivers, which are displayed in multiple tabs. If you only had one river, you would see only one tab.

Another option for making your river public without pointing to the River5 app display is to use a separate HTML page that accesses the river files. Dave Winer has created a toolkit for display of River5 river files (https://github.com/scripting/riverBrowser). I am actually using a later version (https://gist.github.com/scripting/be89904f454086103eb5) as the basis for my 1999er river site. To set up your own public display of a River5 river, copy the text in this Github Gist and save it to your computer. Next, edit the file near the end to point to the URL of the river being served by your River5 installation. Here is an example:

httpGetRiver ("http://node2.andysylvester.com:1337/getoneriver?fname=1999bloggers.opml");

Replace the text in quotes in the call to httpGetRiver with the URL for your River5 server, and replace the text following “fname=” with the name of your river file followed by “.opml”. On my server, the river file generated is 1999bloggers.js, so the name above is “1999bloggers.opml”. Finally, upload the HTML file to a server. As long as the River5 server is running, your HTML page will display the latest version of the river. An example is available at http://1999bloggers.andysylvester.com/riverTest/riverTest.html.

OK – now get started making rivers!