Putting Pilipinews on Github

Making it open-source for sustainability.

While scrolling through my Facebook feed around 2016, I noticed that more people are only relying on the headlines that news outlets posted in their own official Facebook pages. Even though some people can open their links and verify that the title was somehow a "clickbait", majority of the users are currently taking leverage of the Facebook Free program wherein you could view some posts on Facebook, but cannot open outside links because it will cost a mobile data charge on the user. By relying only on headlines, people gave their opinions on those articles without having to read the whole content first, which can create misinformation among the people who viewed it.

In those times as well I'm currently using an iPhone. I remember that there is a feature called "Reader Mode" wherein it removes any clutter from a news article (advertisements, styles, etc.) and you can read only its main title and content. In this feature, I have an idea what if I could apply the "Reader Mode" functionality, gather its title and content and post it on a Facebook page? Hence, the concept of Pilipinews was conceived.

Initially dubbed as "Magtanggul Asa", I intended to create Pilipinews as a news aggregator in a Facebook page wherein it gathers articles from several news outlets, converts them into a "Reader Mode"-like content then post it on a Facebook page. With this, users that can only use the Facebook Free program can view full-length articles, and create discussions around it without only relying on the headline.

The codebase for Pilipinews initially was like hell. There was no clear code structure or architecture since I just hacked it away for the entire midnight and pushed it live after. However, as years go by, the project was dormant and it was a subject for many refactors and reworks. The main challenge is how to utilize its resources (using a 5 USD droplet from Digital Ocean) and how to design its architecture similar to Laravel or Symfony's components.

Fortunately just this month, I managed to design its own architecture and published all of my works on Github. Though eighty percent (80%) of the codebase is now in Github, the remaining twenty (20%) was put on a different Git platform. The remaining are just experimentations for my other projects, such as using Slytherin and Windstorm as frameworks or using only a full-fledged PHP Database Object (PDO) to remove overhead in loading the application.

With publishing these libraries, I can now scale up in creating more converters for specified news outlets. It also gives a chance to other developers to create their own converters for their specified new outlets with Pilipinews as the foundation. With this approach, I hope I could help both developers and newsreaders in utilizing these libraries that could benefit each other.