Creating an RSS Planet in 2019

software sheffgeeks blogging

There’s an IRC channel for our local geeks. Some of the people in it have blogs. In an idle conversation about the state of the modern internet, the idea of a webring came up and continued into ‘why aren’t blog planets’ a thing anymore?

Wait, a what now?

A planet is an aggregator of blogs usually centered around a topic or project. With the slow death of blogging and the idea of commercial content, they seem to have gone away (with a few notable exceptions).

Creating a planet

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of the planet generating software is long unmaintained and probably uninstallable on a modern system.

The best of the available options appears to be pluto, a ruby gem with installable themes.

The steps as I seem to understand them:

  1. gem install pluto
  2. Create a planet.ini. Example here.
  3. Run pluto build --output output.
  4. Serve the contents of the output directory with a webserver.

Enhancing the planet

The immediate problem with the default configuration is that the planet doesn’t itself generate an RSS feed. There are some templates that work with older versions of pluto, but they haven’t been updated for the latest version. Using the example from OSM, I added a theme manifest to generate an RSS template.

  1. cd ~/.pluto
  2. git clone
  3. cd <your pluto site with planet.ini>
  4. pluto build --output output --theme feed

This should create planet.rss.

And finish

If you want to follow the local Sheffield Geeks that blog and are part of the planet, find us over here.