The problem we were trying to solve is that local news sites are mostly hard to read, hard to skim through and cluttered with ads. Also, it would be cool to have all news sources in a timeline fashion. Although you could certainly achieve this last feature using a regular feed reader.
So after a few iterations and proof of concepts, we put together a few components that make the whole app: a Laravel 5 backend for administering news and news sources, a spider that crawls news sources every 5 minutes and dumps them into our database, and a beautifully readable front-end.
Apart from Laravel 5, we’re using:
- Bower for managing dependencies in the front-end.
- Laravel Envoy for deploying.
- Bootstrap 3 for the backend.
- Fastfeed for parsing RSSs.
- Mustache.js for templating on the front-end.
- Less/Lesshat for our styles.
The app is mainly done, although we keep a Trello board full of features to evaluate and implement. Some of them include some e-mailing, basic search, real-time refresh, automated testing and of course some refactoring.