Monday, July 25, 2011

phpBB3 RSS/Atom Feed and Google Reader

After struggling to get a forum feed to update correctly in Google Reader I thought I'd post the necessary instructions to save anyone going through the same nightmare :)

First off Google Reader is ideal for smart phones as it retrieves the feed offline and caches it for when you are next online, unlike many RSS readers Google Reader does not pull a live feed from the forum, it tends to update anywhere from a few minutes to every hour, to view a live feed you are better off using something like IE9's built in RSS subscription for desktops or an app that doesn't use Google Reader.

Google Reader sends a bot to the forum and AFAIK retrieves the actual posts rather than the xml that is created with the feed.php, so to get this to work you have to allow access for the bot.

phpBB3 must be at least version 3.07

In Admin Control Panel you need to do the following...

System / Spiders/Robots:
Activate "Google Feedfetcher"

User And Groups / Groups Forum Permissions:
Select Bots, select all forums, assign Bot Access to any public Topics you want in the feed.

General / Feed Settings:
Enable Feeds
Enable Item Statistics
Under "Post-based feed settings" set number of items to 10 (increasing this tends to fail)
Enable board-wide feed
Ctrl-Click any private forums in Exclude these forums: to prevent them appearing in feeds
Everything else can be disabled.

And that's it, you should now be able to start receiving new posts from your selected topics by subscribing to http://your-forum-url/feed.php