Well, Iâ€™m back to updating MonkeyChow over the Christmas break. I recently saw how FeedOnFeeds just released some new code for the pre-0.6 version. I have to say that I like what has been done. However, I think that itâ€™s still missing a number of things and its not very pretty. Likewise, there are things that Iâ€™m not happy with in Google Reader that have prevented me from going over to that platform. Iâ€™m used to the things that I have added to MonkeyChow, so I am in the process of seeing how some of that stuff will port over.
First, because of all the changes taking place, I need to make it easier to do upgrades. The installer is going to be changed so that it will in effect do a sanity check on the database so that each time there is an update the database state will be examined and changed to add any necessary columns. This will make the whole system more user friendly, where in the past Iâ€™ve asked people to do the changes manually. Some of this code was donated by Andrew Arensburger back in May, but I never did anything with it.
Logins and prefs. The logins get rid of the need to play with .htaccess, which is another manual step we want to get rid of. I have logins working, but I need to port in some of the code for preferences. Iâ€™m thinking of turning keyboard shortcuts on permanently since a number of people have asked for them. Somewhere in the prefs will be a choice of whether the frames or panel view is kicked off at login.
Now that we have identities through these logins, I also want to create some sort of community experience with MonkeyChow, so Iâ€™m looking to see if I can do something with a bulletin board like Vanilla. Likewise, a plugin for Vanilla that shows what lists you are subscribed to would be neat. The existing privacy features of MonkeyChow will still be respected in all this, of course.
The MonkeyChow UI needs to get prettier. Iâ€™ve been doing some work with this, but I know itâ€™s not what everyone else wants. I want to extend the prefs so that I can stick all the current CSS into a themes folder and let people create and pick other themes. I donâ€™t know how crazy we want to get with themes, but letâ€™s see where this goes.
Plugins. I like the idea of this. Iâ€™d like to move a lot of things like the social bookmark buttons into a plugin(s) so that people can choose whether or not to get rid of that. Things like reminders and article filters will fit nicely here. But again there is room for some other social aspects like being able to see each others accounts and things like IM login status and Last.FM lists, to name a few examples. I really like how Vanilla BB does this.
Translations. If youâ€™ve talked to me about providing a translation, please get that to me when you can. I still want to get MonkeyChow translated into a couple more languages as a requirement before we go to 1.0 (way down the road). This would give it much greater visibility.
Bugs. MonkeyChow has them. One annoying one I really want to quash is that it picks up old articles after they have been deleted from the database. Some feeds are keeping articles for many many months, and when MonkeyChow deletes the article after 60 days the article can come back in. In some cases this can be fixed by setting a date field according to what dc:date says for that article in the feed, but there are also some feeds that are not setting a date for their articles and that is a big pain to get around. If you know of any others that are keeping you from making MonkeyChow your full-time reader, please donâ€™t hesitate to open an account on the support forums and voice your concern.
Does anyone want to see blog reading stats, like the new stuff in Google Reader?