Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and software development
We haven't released the standalone Roller-Planet application yet, but the .Sun Engineering team quietly deployed the latest bits at planet.sun.com a couple of weeks ago in response to requests from the Glassfish, SWDP and other teams for planet-style web sites. You can follow the links on the main page to find planets for Glassfish, SWDP, Sun India, Sun Alumni, Sun Java System Web Server, web services and globalization bloggers.
What's Roller-Planet? It's a community aggregation server, similar to Planet-Planet but with some key differences: it's got a web UI that enables groups of users to run their own planet sites, it's based on Java and it uses the ROME feed parser and fetcher. I've written about it before. We don't have a release plan yet for Roller-Planet so if you really want to try it you'll have to fetch and build it from the Apache Roller SVN repo.
I'm glad I was able to help Simon get his personal planet back online yesterday. And I'm glad the task was fairly easy. All Simon needed as a new version of Blogapps PlanetTool updated to use ROME 0.9 and I was planning on doing that anyway.
What's PlanetTool you wonder? PlanetTool is a command-line program which reads a set of RSS/Atom newsfeeds and then uses a set of templates to generate a planet site with HTML, RSS, Atom, OPML and other representations. Simon uses it to bring together his personal blog, Sun blog, del.icio.us links and Flickr.com photos into a single webpage and a single feed. If you subscribe to that feed, you'll get just about everything that Simon publishes to the web.
If you're interested in learning more about PlanetTool, here are some of my previous posts on the topic:
The above title Try PlanetTool, it's easy! is a little misleading, but it brings me to my point. PlanetTool is only easy if you're a developer or a power-user; somebody who can handle running Java on a server, editing an XML config file and setting up a cron job. Simon could handle it, but I'd like to make planets easier.
In fact, I'd like to make it as easy to create a planet as it is to create a blog. This past week, I've been thinking about how to do that by taking the simple ROME powered Roller-Planet code, which is found in both Roller and PlanetTool, and build it into a multi-user planet server -- kinda like Roller, but for planets instead of blogs. To get my thoughts into digital form I worked up a little FreeMind mind-map on the topic, dumped it to text, added some wiki syntax and some screen-shots. The result is this: a RollerPlanetMindMap that outlines ideas for the future development of Roller-Planet.