Aggregation using MoonMoon

One of my current side projects / tinkerings is the creation of a site which aggregates a bunch of my online feeds – an aggregated “identity dashboard”.

Jean-Francois made me think about using WordPress to do this. I love WordPress. It’s so ridiculously simple to install… provided you have a PHP + MySQL host, you just unzip, provide the DB login information in the config file, and then it initialises itself and has a nice administration dashboard. I played around with adding some feeds in widgets on the sidebar, and it kind of works. I can edit my own pages and I don’t have to use it as a blog.

Talking to Rob on Friday led me to experiment with Planet. Planet is built in Python, and generates static HTML pages. It is exclusively built for aggregating feeds together, and it works fine, but I have to go hack around in config files, setup a cron job, and so on.

Something I’d never heard about until today is MoonMoon. This is a PHP-based web solution (like WordPress) but it’s a simple feed aggregator rather than a CMS (i.e. similar to Planet). It doesn’t need a database. It’s at a fairly early stage of development, but if you pull down the latest code from Subversion you’ll find that it does have a nice administration page that enables new feeds to be added very quickly without the need to go near any configuration files.

Still at the tinkering / experimentation stage, but this has been an interesting exercise so far.

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11 responses to “Aggregation using MoonMoon

  1. MoonMoon is easy and pretty stable I think. I have been using it on PlanetJudo.com and not had any problems. I’m still on the older version there, but it works fine, I just have to edit the list of feeds manually.
    It uses (as I am sure you’ve noticed) the SimplePie code.
    I have had some issues with sites that have unusual feed addresses, but on the whole moonmoon is great.

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  2. It sounds like you’re looking for a lifestreaming tool?

    If you’re looking for a WordPress solution along the same lines as MoonMoon, check out rss-stream, http://rick.jinlabs.com/code/rss-stream/ and simplelife, http://kierandelaney.net/blog/about/lifestream/

    MoonMoon looks like a nice stand-alone php option though, thanks for the tip.

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  3. @Lance, nice, I didn’t know it was widely used. I notice you’re using the default theme, I had a look at customising the one for the site I’ve been playing with but not got far yet.

    @Stuart actually I guess it probably sounds like that. I really want a way of providing a “launchpad” to my various identities, and an aggregator /lifestream is one way of doing that, but actually I guess I want the “one page summary” of links too. In some ways I guess I’m going to end up back on WordPress somehow, and rss-stream does look useful.

    I do, of course, have a tumblelog which collects stuff from my feeds already… this is more for intranet usage actually.

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  4. Wow. These are interesting suggestions that your post attracted. I’ll take a look as well as soon as my sinuses allow me and cold medication stops making me drowsy…

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  5. If you are looking to capture a lifestream, have you looked at NoseRub? (www.noserub.com)

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  6. Thanks for the moonmoon tip Andy, comparing it to planet it does seem a lot more friendly. Planets templating leaves a lot to be desired, the very fact I had to patch it to be able to do a reasonably simple IF statement speaks volumes.

    As @Lance points out SimplePie does seem to have some issues with certain feeds, one particularly case it bombs out on is having ampersands in the URL, pretty basic stuff but should be easily fixable.

    I’m still tempted to do something a little bit more advanced myself as i’d quite like to be able to store and search a few months worth of feed items.

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  8. MoonMoon is interesting. For a lazy solution, you might enjoy something like FriendFeed or Profilactic.

    I quickly set up a Profilactic profile (profilactic.com/mashup/rooreynolds) recently, and seems to hit your requirement of aggregating various feeds as well as providing a nice list of identities. Dan Taylor has a great summary of a bunch of similar social aggregation tools at http://www.fabricoffolly.com/2008/03/review-of-social-aggregators.html

    Well worth a read.

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  9. Something I am noticing is that now that my planetjudo.com site is up to 49 feeds, it has become VERY slow. So Slow in fact that the RSS feed is not being read by FeedBurner. 😦

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  10. Roo, the issue with Profilactic would be that I’m essentially looking for something that would let me do it behind a firewall. Thanks for the hint, though.

    Lance, that sounds not so great. Maybe worth finding out what the author’s plans are? I played around with the version from source control, it seemed a little different than the most recent full release.

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  11. Hi, i’m trying to download the moonmoon latest code from subversion but every time i try it says “cannot connect to server, connection refused”. Please, Could you upload or send me the files? Thanks in advance.

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