26th August 2007

Posted in

Blog :: Django application mini-review

Update: check out my followup post for some better options.

Ok, there's a definite need for an official django-application repository, ideally with the ability to sort and filter by activity level and user ratings/reviews.

Consider - I want to find a blog application that runs under django. Now it's true that this is a trivial application I could whip out myself, but why bother re-inventing the wheel? Let's look for a django blog application. I've got a few ideas for features I'd like in a blog package (markdown or richtext editor, tagging, maybe ping-o-matic integration) but in general I'll just take something that works...

First stop is the cheeseshop python package index or pypi as we're supposed to call it now. This is the central repository for python packages that will be easily_installed. Searching for django blog yields approximately 25 results with a matching score of 3 or better. None, however, appear to be django applications - there are turbogears blogs and python blogging tools of various sorts, but no django applications.

Ok, well packaging a single django application to be easy_installed in site-packages might well be overkill - maybe django applications tend not to be packaged. I'd be fine with pulling straght from SVN - lets look at some traditional open source software repositories.

Sourceforge is a well established site for hosting open-source projects and has good tools for checking out the freshness of projects - dates, activity rankings, bug lists, and so forth. Searching for django blog brings up over 600 results. Sorted by relevance to the search term, even on the first page most of the results are not django blog applications (other django projects, php blogging applications, etc). The only real hit on the first page is blango which has low traffic (svn revision 8, no bugs, patches, messages, etc) and has svn commit messages in french.

Ah - there's the advanced search link. Ok, requiring both django and blog returns ... 1 hit. The aforementioned blango. Ok, so django people aren't using sourceforge. Oh, that's right, all the cool kids are using Google Code now.

Now this is more like it! Searching for django blog brings up 29 hits and on the first page most of the projects are django blog applications! Very nice - now how to pick the one I want... There's no way to sort/filter by activity level. No way to tell how recently the project was created and if it's been kept up-to-date (this being pretty important with a moving target like django - a app based on 0.9 isn't going to be that useful to me when my sites are surfing on the latest svn release of django). Advanced searching features (I believe Google knows something about search?) would be really useful here.

Be that as it may, it looks like pages 2 and 3 of results aren't actually that useful - lots of "this is my whole website" type of releases and less reusable packages. That leaves me with 7 packages to check out. So:

  1. waggly-blog has two project owners, a couple of wiki pages (both recently edited) and is on revision 21. A quick look at the web based svn repo reveals a feeds.py and a templatetags directory. This sounds promising.

  2. djog has one owner, no wiki pages, two bug reports (one dated November of 2006 - parenthetically it's really annoying not to be able to tell how fresh the project is by going to the homepage) and is at revision 4. Ehh...

  3. becca has one owner but has a busier front page - a link to the blog of the developer and even a zipped download package. It uses django-tagging to support tags, textile for editing (another text format language like markdown, restructured text, etc) and saves the rendered html when the text changes instead of re-rendering on every page load. Ooh the repo is on revision 26 and the developers site is django based and exposes databrowse (which I hadn't played around with yet)! And a new contender emerges from the pack!

  4. mauvaiston has three owners! The wiki has one page with default text, however, and the repos is at revision 2. Ooh and the trunk is empty. Google code says it's hiding the empty projects and I guess this is "non-empty" because they created the default wiki page. Shouldn't projects with no actual code be excluded as well? Moving on...

  5. jblogexample's front page says simply "Self education project". This is probably enough to keep me looking on but checking quickly - no wiki pages and svn revision 5. No harm in releasing your learning projects, but I'm looking for something hopefully already pretty polished...

  6. maplyeblog has one owner, no wiki pages, and is on revision 12. Trunk has a "tagging" application as well as the "blog" app and a couple of different settings files for different setups. Might be worth a look...

  7. super-blog says it's a multi-user blog system which sounds promising. It has a link to the developers blog but the site doesn't come up. The svn revision is only at 2 and again there is no way from Google's web interface to tell when the project was last modified. I'll pass...

That about wraps up the Google Code results. Looks like I'll be checking out becca with a fall back to waggly-blog if I run into show stopping bugs. Obviously, however, there needs to be a one-stop shop to do this sort of research in a more convenient fashion... It occurs to me I could write a django application rating site - a quick search to see if somebody's had the same idea finds somebody is at least thinking along the same lines. I realise there's discussion around having an official django application repository - but in the meantime while sorting out issues around installation and hosting and so on, could we at least get a central site at which to search and rate django apps?

Posted on August 26th 2007, 11:55 PM