Setting up a planet

So, how does one set up a planet?

In case anyone thinks I’m nuts, I’m talking of setting up a planet like this (or this). A planet here is just a collection of blogs, and I’ll talk about how to set up one using the software called planet venus. To get started just download the tarball. Extract it into a directory of your choice (using tar zxvf venus.tgz), and you’ll see the directory structure as on the website. The documentation is quite detailed, but if you want a planet quickly, you won’t have to read most of it.

Here’s what I did: I made a directory and copied the file themes/classic_fancy/config.ini to this directory (you might prefer some other theme, in this case choose the appropriate config.ini). Edit the file accordingly; mostly you’d need to change the [planet] section. The other important settings to check are cache_directory and output_dir. It’s better to set the full path here and in the other places which require a directory (template_files) — this helps when running the cronjob later. All the generated files will be in output_dir. You can find the index.html.tmpl (index.html template) in the theme directory and the other templates (Atom, RSS feeds) in the themes/common directory.

Remember to put planet.css and other relevant images in the proper places, otherwise people will see an ugly page!

Now add the feeds which you would like to have in the planet in the following format:

[http://blah.wordpress.com/feed/] # This should be the feed url
name = My Name

You’re done! Now switch to the directory where you untarred the planet venus code and run python planet.py /path/to/config.ini. This will download the feeds, store them in the cache and generate the index.html, Atom and RSS feeds.

Finally set this thing to run as a cronjob (using crontab -e); the snippet below will make planet.py run hourly:

0 * * * * /usr/bin/python /full/path/to/planet.py /full/path/to/config.py
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