Interview with Yongfook on Sweetcron Automated Lifestream Blog Software

I recently featured Yongfook’s Lifestream in the first Self Hosted Lifestream Gallery. Several people commented on how they really liked his unique design. Well guess what, pretty soon you will be able to host your own version just like his with the release of his new development project Sweetcron. Visiting the site provides the following details:

Sweetcron

  • Automatic Imports – Uploaded a photo to flickr? Bookmarked a new site? In a few minutes it will show up on your blog!
  • Easily Customisable – Edit simple templates to change the way your Sweetcron Lifestream looks. Default Boxy But Good theme included!
  • Self Hosted – Keep all your data safely on your own server and run Sweetcron via your own domain.
  • 100% Free and Open Source – Oh and did I mention Sweetcron is fully extensible, too? Write your own php classes and slot them right in!

This all sounded great, but I still had some questions. So I decided to contact Yongfook to see if he could provide me with some details. Below are the results.

So it sounds like it’s going to be software for a self hosted solution right?

yep, think of it as running Plaxo Pulse or Tumblr on your own server. t continually imports stuff from other places (your flickr, diggs, Youtube favs etc) and also allows you to post directly. It’s what my blog uses.

What are the platform requirements (php, mysql, etc.)?

php5 and mysql5.

What services will be supported?

It’s extensible so that you can add whatever services you want.

Can you add services easily?

Yes, there is a simple GUI to add new services

Will stream data be cached locally? (i.e. create records in db for historical purposes)

Each item will be stored in the the database, allowing people to page through your lifestream and perform searches etc. There is also a GUI to manage and edit the data (i.e. take stuff offline that was imported but you don’t want to show in your lifestream)

How are new themes added / created?

I’m really not looking to replicate a traditional CMS with all this hot-swapping of “themes” etc. There are some simple controls to customise the layout of the site (e.g. grid-style like my site or “stream” style like FriendFeed) change colours and text, and ability to paste in your own CSS. Beyond that, you’ll have to edit the
template files directly.

Any plans to release plugins or modules to extend the functionality of existing platforms? (ie. WordPress, Drupal)

Nope – people who want to use WordPress should just use WordPress! I’m sure there are lifestream plugins for that already.

Any other unique functionality that differentiates this from other Lifestreaming scripts or services out there?

It’s different from a service in that you can self-host and use it under your own domain. The benefit it has over other scripts? Ease of use and it certainly looks a lot nicer than the ones I’ve seen so far 😉

So when can we get our hands on this code?

June

I want to thank Yongfook for taking the time to answer my questions. This is definitely software that you want to keep an eye out for and you can go to the Sweetcron site & sign up to be notified as soon as it becomes available.

In the meantime you can check out his current project release that is an application using Code Igniter & Tumblr API. Also, there is the Lifestream Module for Drupal by nickgs which was inspired by Yongfook

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Any suggestions on sites similar to this one?

  2. I don't understand how this is better than running PHP on your site and using the FriendFeed API. I have a “lifestream” at http://screwtheman.com and have made the PHP code available at http://blastoffgames.net/codeshare. It doesn't have a slick wizard to set it up, but anyone comfortable with CSS and HTML should be able to customize to their heart's content and it doesn't require a database to use it.

  3. You're just hitting the API and rendering all that at runtime. Sweetcron stores things in a database meaning you have more scope for quickly browsing your stream (Search / Tagging / Pagination etc).

    But yes, if all people want is a one-page lifestream, then they don't necessarily need to install Sweetcron. Horses for courses. I want a lifestream that I can use as my actual site (with a full record of all my activity) – others may not.

  4. Makes sense. Thanks for the reply!

  5. Thank you,
    I think it's a wonderful post.
    I was just searching for information about this on the web and I am glad I run into your post, and so fast too (I taught it will take for ever since I didn't know where to start searching).
    I have a friend that would like to read it too and I will definitely send him a link now (since I can't find the “tell a friend” button – I think it should be more obvious were it is).
    I have also bookmarked this site and surly will come to read some more of your other posts.
    Can you add some resources where I can find additional information?
    Thank you again for this great post.

  6. Thank you,
    I think it's a wonderful post.
    I was just searching for information about this on the web and I am glad I run into your post, and so fast too (I taught it will take for ever since I didn't know where to start searching).
    I have a friend that would like to read it too and I will definitely send him a link now (since I can't find the “tell a friend” button – I think it should be more obvious were it is).
    I have also bookmarked this site and surly will come to read some more of your other posts.
    Can you add some resources where I can find additional information?
    Thank you again for this great post.

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Mark Krynsky

I created Lifestream Blog and hope you enjoy the site. I'm always looking for contributors so contact me if you're interested. You can follow the rest of what I like to write about at my personal site or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+
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