I am currently supporting a French centrist political party, mostly helping local militants to improve their web presence by giving them tailored tools and pushing them toward a sensible communication strategy and the organization that goes with it. WordPress and Dokuwiki were of course among the first tools out of the box. I then soon considered the constellation of militant small-time blogs and decided there was a prime target for aggregation.

I first deployed the Lilina PHP news aggregator – I love it and it worked very well for tiny “me and my friends” feed aggregations. With Lilina under new management there were even prospects for improvement. But when the number of inbound feeds began to soar toward 150 I realized that the whole user experience was sinking into a pit of cold molasses. Unexpectedly the host was not even significantly loaded, it was just that updating from that many feeds sequentially was taking much time.

Enter Gregarius. Of course I knew about Gregarius before. But I had no reason to go through the slight hassle of using the Mysql database that Gregarius needs : deploying Lilina only requires the unpacking of my custom distribution of Lilina patched for provinding RSS output. Lilina crawling gave me the reason. On top of that, the Lilina theme for Gregarius really made migration as painless as possible for Lilina refugees who can feel at home right out of the box.

Installation was dead easy and importing all those incoming feeds was done in the single step of entering the URL for Lilina‘s OPML output and waiting a few seconds for all the feeds to be fetched and parsed. And there you are : 130 blogs (and growing) aggregated effortlessly with reasonnable response time and barely any load on the host. Gregarius is even easier than Lilina to administer, and it has categories and tags that Lilina does not, and also does searching.

So from now on I’ll use Lilina for aggregating up to about a couple dozen feeds. Beyond that the territory belongs to Gregarius !