Don’t paint me completely a defender of the “Old Guard”, and there is a lot to unpack here. . Still working like a champ on ds106 with >1400 feeds, >60k syndicated posts. I’ve done > 10 other course/community/project sites.
I’ve been interested in a chance to learn the known approach, but it’s a slightly different approach- it means people pick a course hub to push content to. While I know Tim as done some set up, I have never come across what it takes to build a destination to push content to. Justin Reich, who I am collaborating with on a DML 2016 workshop on “Crafting Connected Courses” did a recent class with a known hub. I’ve not gotten the details, he said the setup was easier, but he alluded that the outcome was maybe not what he hoped.
And while I am not as down the road as Tom with JSON tinkering, isn’t that limited to Wordpress, or maybe fewer platforms? There is more to this than being able to fetch content. Can you slice and dice with tags, categories as FWP? More importantly, can you cache and balance the requests so you are not hitting the source every time for content? That is something that FWP does well/magically, it balances the remote requests. Can you do a JSON thing for 1600 sources? Can it indicate problems from the source (e.g. what happens when the lights go out?). How does it assign authors for the feeds (one of the gnarly things with FWP)
In a Slack channel where Kristen asked also this questions she said they had “lots of glitches” with FWP. From my experience, the things you have to deal with are not directly related to FWP-- it’s getting the right feed if you have open submission, there are challenges to the featured image (which you have to realize is always a hack because there is no field for featured image in RSS, it’s a Wordpress construct), many times people submit feeds for password protected sites, and then you just get weird things because of all the HTML you are pulling in-- if you ever look at RSS feeds, it’s a whole lot more than just the basic Title, Link, description of RSS 0.9, publishers pack all kinds of other stuff in there.
I will say setting up FWP is a lot more than turning on a plugin. I have some long term dreams to roll the extras I do for the sites I make (short codes for listing feeds, widgets, a signup form that would not require Gravity Forms).
But if I had to do a public site where you have to deal with content from more than one publishing platform, especially an open course of unknown size, I still cannot see using anything but FWP.
Age does not make something problematic. My first open project done in 2002 http://feed2js.org is STILL functional using an ancient RSS parser.