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Cron Jobs and Feed Updates


Lately, we’ve been adding more local news feeds to the site. Eventually, I want to have most of the major cities across the U.S. covered. What I had noticed since starting this local news project was that the more feeds we've added to the site, the slower the feeds on the homepage updated.

It’s not as fresh as it should be, and I didn’t quite know how the updating of feeds work within Drupal. I knew two things. For the management of feeds, I’m using a module call Aggregation. I can set when each feed updates. I also have a module called Elysia Cron, which is a customizable management of cron jobs, to set up how often it should call up the Aggregation module to update the feeds.

On Elysia Cron, I set Aggregation to do it every 15 minutes, but it never does. It looks like it only updates every hour. Often times, I get a “w” next to the Aggregation module, which means the feeds didn’t get updated as scheduled.

On Wopular, I have several cron jobs that I manage with Elysia Cron. Aggregation is the most time intensive. Elysia allows for groupings of cron jobs, so I separated Aggregation into its own dedicated channel. This way, even if it fails, it won’t affect the other cron jobs.

I also changed the default settings for “Time Limit” and “Stuck Time” to 15 minutes. Before, they were 4 minutes and an hour respectively. I couldn’t quite figure what they do from the description because it was written by a foreigner. I just figured that since “Stuck Time” was equal to the time the feeds actually do update, I lower it to when I want the feeds to update.

So far, these changes seem to be working. Feeds on the homepage are updated more regularly, and I don’t see the dreaded “w” next to the cron jobs. Ah, the things one can accomplish by just tinkering.


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