Managing News - Revolutionary—not Evolutionary—Step for Drupal

I noticed a post from the excellent folks over at Development Seed in the Planet feed on a new Drupal installation profile they've been working on called Managing News. Having tried (and loved) their Drupal-based installation of Open Atrium (a great package for quick Intranets), I had pretty high expectations.

Those expectations were pretty much blown out of the water; this install profile basically sets up a Drupal site (with all the Drupal bells and whistles) that is focused on one thing, and does it well: news aggregation via feeds (Atom, RSS).

Catholic News - Catholic News Aggregator

I decided to quickly build out an aggregation site, Catholic News Live. The site took about 4 hours to set up, and it's already relatively customized to my needs. One thing I still don't know about is whether Drupal's cron will be able to handle the site after a few months and a few hundred more feeds... but we'll see!

How does it work?

Managing News uses a few nice new modules to get most of it's work done. The excellent, and almost-brand-new, feeds module enlivens the feed aggregation (I've used FeedAPI, Feed Element Mapper, etc. before, but they were kind of a mess to use). The context, features, and extra 'mn' modules provide a lot of the layout and functionality for the site.

To add a feed, you simply click the 'Add feed' button while logged in. To add a channel, go to the channels page (or click on the 'active channel' button on the bottom right) and click 'Add channel.' The maps page and block is automagically location-aware, and updates itself whenever new stories are posted. It's pretty accurate, to boot!

Revolutionary Step for Drupal

Why would I say this is 'revolutionary'? Well, basically, Managing News, along with other install profiles (like Open Atrium) will open up Drupal, unwittingly, to thousands of people who need quick, turnkey solutions to different problems on the web. The more install profiles, the better for Drupal, imo. Who will make a Flickr-like install profile? A forum profile? Etc.

Drupal is slowly but surely reaching critical mass, imo.


When something works so well and so easily, you'd think it's an Apple product! I wonder, sometimes, if Development Seed is a secret project of Steve Jobs ;-)

For now, go ahead and download Managing News, install it (just like you would Drupal), and have fun! There's a lot of promise for install profiles in Drupal 7, if Development Seed's work is any indication.


it's still beta 5, but my install was fast and painless and the site is rockin' along - it's a test site collecting skateboarding news for (basically) myself at (dumb url, but memorable, just wanted to see managing news runs live)

Heh... hopefully you have an alternate URL for all the school kids who might want to check out the site, but get blocked by their firewalls!

Yes, its very fast and easy to deploy. I set up a site aggregating news on climate change and technological solutions here:

I am a science journalist in Denmark and I hope my colleagues will benefit from it also.

One question. How did you transform your picture of the Vatican so that it fits into the grey background?

@ Lennart Kiil - I took the picture in Photoshop, turned down the saturation all the way, then turned the lightness up almost all the way.

Hi Jeff,

Very nice Managing News site. I see that you have a very large number of feeds. Did you load your feeds with OPML? If so, could I possibly get your OPML file to see if it will work as well on my MN install? The reason I ask, is that I have manually added over a dozen RSS feeds, and a great many of them to not work in MN, although they all work fine in another RSS feed reader. So, I am trying to figure out what the problem is with the other feeds, and having your OPML file (if there is one) would be very helpful.

Also, did you install MN on your Mac using MAMP? Or, what other system are you using for your Drupal development?

Thanks very much,

Mike Caudy

@ Mike - I just grabbed the feed URLs (all of them are either standard RSS 2.0 or Atom feeds), and pasted them in. Didn't deal with OPML in any way...

Also, I just installed it directly on my live server - I do most of my development on there as well, but sometimes install things locally for speed. I haven't tried MN on MAMP yet, but might if I'm going to make another site like this one.

Hi Jeff,

1) I forgot to ask: did you find any feeds that did not work for MN?

2) As I mentioned, I have found a number of feeds that do not work in MN. These are mostly from scientific journals and PubMed.

Could you please test whether this feed from PubMed works on your MN install?
It is a feed from PubMed. A number of people have on the MN issue queue have found that PubMed feeds don't work properly in MN. (This has now been moved to the feeds issue queue):

It would be interesting to know if they work in your install.

Here is the PubMed feed:…



Unfortunately, the PubMed feeds are not working for me either... not sure why :-/

There clearly are differences between feeds, and its not just RSS vs Atom. Feeds from the journal Nature work, but feeds from the journal Science do not, least in my experience.

Question: you have several dozen feeds in your Catholic MN site. Did you find any feedds that did not work in MN when you were adding feeds to the site?

Every single one of the feeds on the site worked right away, with no tweaking. Almost all are blog-type feeds - generated by Google, WordPress, LiveJournal, or the like... a couple from Drupal as well. Then there's Twitter, which also works fine.

Commercial feeds tend to use some sort of custom feed-generating system, so perhaps that has something to do with why they're not working?

Hello, thanks for your hearty review. What I am wondering is how much of a resource hog this drupal distro is in terms of running it on a shared hosting package. Thanks

It's pretty resource-intensive. You can space out cron runs a bit, which helps, but each cron run pegs the processor a little bit. As long as you don't have too many feeds (100+), you should be fine on a shared hosting account.