Bloggity – An Idea for a Rails Blog Plugin

Update: This plugin now exists! It’s under active development, and has some pretty cool features. Read more about it through the link.

There comes a time in most every Rails applications’ life where its owner wants to up the “Web 2.0” factor and create a blog presence. Luckily, this is Rails, a framework ideally suited for creating a blog. Unluckily, there doesn’t seem to be a de facto Rails blog plugin floating around the community yet.

Now I know what you’re thinking… Mephisto! No thanks. The same factors that drove me away from Beast drive me away from Mephisto as well. Who wants to manage multiple subdomains, multiple app repositories, two sets of Mongrels, cross-subdomain authentication issues, and figuring out how to share resources (like views and images) between your Mephisto app and your standard app?

Upon discovering that no good blog plugin existed, my first instinct was to see if I could bring to life a sort of “Savage Mephisto.” Unfortunately, whereas I had a little bit of time to squeeze in Savage Beast development during Bonanzle’s final run to launch, I have virtually no time whatsoever to work on a project like this, now that Bonanzle is live and doubling in traffic every few weeks. Nevertheless, I did at least give a half-hearted attempt to make Mephisto into a plugin before realizing that as vast and deep as Beast is, Mephisto is probably twice as complicated, and thus, half as plugin-able.

So I turned my attention to creating a blog plugin from scratch. You can get a sense of how far I’ve gotten on the other Bonanzle blog. Like SB, I wrote it using the Engines plugin, so it could theoretically be extracted to a repository for download with relatively little effort. However, I’m not sure what the demand is like for a plugin like this would be? I mean, you could write your own fairly functional blog in a day or less, and you could conquer the cross-domain Mephisto issues, or you could try out one of the not-well-rated blog plugin attempts on Agile Web Development.

Anyway, I’ve decided to use the responses to this post to gauge how much enthusiasm there is for an easy-to-setup Rails blog plugin. If there’s lots, I’ll try to make the time frame to launch short. If there’s little, it probably remains a Bonanzle-only plugin.

21 Replies to “Bloggity – An Idea for a Rails Blog Plugin”

  1. Definitely interest here! I’ve been considering toying with this idea myself for a month or so. I love radiantcms and the way it’s plugin architecture works (more akin to engines that plugins) but I still loathe starting with a CMS and then trying to add application type functionality to it. To me, the CMS is just a minor aspect of the system and shouldn’t be at the core of it.

    Personally I was going to try and implement it in Merb given the new merb-slices feature, but if you’re going to make a start on a rails plugin I’m all for it and willing to help where possible.

  2. even if there’s only ONE reply – would you do it? haha.

    Count me as someone who could definitely make use of a blog plugin/engine.

  3. This sounds interesting – I’ve had to implement a blog in several rails sites but a nice DRY plugin would certainly make things easier. I use engines in pretty much everything anyway, so an engine form is ideal 😉

  4. @Ben: No, I don’t remember having found bloget in my searches. It looks pretty capable at what it’s trying to do, but I was thinking it would be nice to have a plugin that was a little more fleshed out, with stuff like built-in attachment_fu uploading, a panel to approve blog comments, and a rich text editing environment built in (at least). That said, bloget looks like the best solution I’ve seen on the market as of today. But when I release this blog plugin, it’s going to be more of a solution for people that want something that’s more fleshy out of the box … leveraging Engines to give a complete MVC stack within the plugin itself.

    Based on the response volume so far, which is pretty decent, I’ll probably try to get our blog plugin cleaned up and released in the next month-ish. If the responses continue, maybe sooner.

    P.S. Anyone got any catchy ideas of a name for a blog plugin?

  5. Hi there,

    I’m searching for exactly what you have planned to do. Did you already make a plugin out of your application? Would be great to have this!

  6. Hi, I’m also looking for exactly what you described. This post came up 4th on Google for “rails blog plugin”. I’m going to take a quick look at Bloget now or maybe write my own super-simple blog like you suggested in the meantime.

  7. I’m definitely interested, maybe not to use, will probably just add something minimal to what I’m building, but I find it very useful to have others code to fall back on and get inspired from.

  8. Holy cow, I can’t believe that a month and a half have already passed since I originally proposed this. Yes, Bonanzle is busier than ever, but I promise to take at least three hours seeing if I can bring this to fruition in the near future.

  9. I’ll add another voice to the chorus of supporters. I’ve had several projects that needed a blog but were otherwise pretty plain vanilla, and something small like this would work perfectly.

    Was Savage Blog not a satisfactory name? That makes me want to download it!

  10. I’ve been considering doing this for a while and it’s great to hear that someone’s working on it. Any further progress on this as of late? I would love to help with development & debugging if you’re still considering working on this…

  11. Hi Dave,

    Yes, though I’m embarrassed at how long its taking me to find just a few hours to put the finishing touches on this, I still fully intend to get it out, and hopefully soon. Bonanzle has stabilized in the last few days, so I might get my moment of volition in the next week-ish to get this finished and out to the world..


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