By self hosted, I mean that you have to have access to your own server or webhost that is running PHP and MySQL. If you have ever installed WordPress, you can install Sweetcron. The only part that is a little more complicated was that the .htaccess file included with the installation needs to be edited if you aren’t installing Sweetcron at the root level of your server. In other words, if you install Sweetcron in a subdirectory called ‘lifestream’, you will need to edit this folder. On my first attempt, I did not edit the .htaccess file correctly and Sweetcron would not load. This problem, however, was quickly resolved.
What is nice about it being self hosted is that all of the feed data is stored in a database creating a lifestream archive for you. With some programming knowledge you can also be more creative and pull the data to your lifestream in unique ways.
The installation instructions are adequate and are available on the Sweetcron google code wiki so I’m not going to repeat them.
Once installation is successful you will complete the installation by going to the site. In my case this was http://www.kimwoodbridge.com/sweetstream. You will login with the username and password emailed to you and then you will be in the dashboard / admin area. It will be empty and you can start setting up your lifestream by adding rss feeds under the Feeds Tab. Possible feeds are your blog, delicious bookmarks, flickr photos, youtube videos, and tumblr. The only one I tried that didn’t work was my shared items in google reader.
Yong Fook provided two videos to help you get started with the Sweetcron dashboard and for Writing a new post using the Write Tab.
Once configuration is complete you can view your lifestream by leaving the admin area and viewing the main site. Again, this is http://yourdomain.com/directory, if not using root. Your lifestream will be using the default theme. Sweetcron comes with two themes and I’m sure people will be creating new ones. If you are familiar with CSS and can read PHP, you can edit the default theme as I have done. Below is a screenshot and by clicking on it you can view my Sweetcron Lifestream.
As you can see, I edited the header color and navigation tabs, added a screenshot of my site, added a list of my last three blog posts, and changed the link colors. I also temporarily removed the comments link as I have not yet set up comments for the lifestream.
I am planning on further customizing the theme this weekend. I am also looking into a way to completely integrate this into my current WordPress installation.
Have you tried Sweetcron? If so, please leave the link to your lifestream in the comments. Would you like to try it but aren’t sure how to do it? Feel free to ask me questions.