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Insoshi: Open-Source Rails-based Social Networking Platform

By Peter Cooper / May 1, 2008


Insoshi is a new, open-source social networking platform developed in Ruby on Rails. It's on GitHub, so you can fork it to your heart's content, and it can act as a base for developing your own social Web application. Features include activity feeds, profiles, photo sharing, comment walls, blogs, forums, user messaging, and an admin panel.

Insoshi was developed by Michael Hartl, author of RailsSpace, an Addison-Wesley published book about developing a social networking site in Rails. Hartl certainly practices what he preaches! It is important to note, however, that Insoshi is licensed under the Affero General Public License, so making the source code available for your derivative sites is necessary.

Lovd By Less is a similar system previously mentioned here on Ruby Inside that's also open source and free to use. From what I can make out, both systems are very similar in terms of features (profiles, messaging, blogs, admin system, etc. but Lovd By Less has the edge by being MIT-licensed, making it easier to use in your own commercial applications.


  1. court3nay says:

    Note, Insoshi uses the AGPL license which means you have to provide your source code if you're using this app as the basis of your site. lovd-by-less (which is also on github) uses many .. non-rails/non-ruby idioms like single-letter instance vars (@p and @u).

  2. Peter Cooper says:

    Thanks for the extra details! I've updated the post a bit to recognize this. I had not noticed the Affero variation (euck), so that now gives Lovd By Less the upper hand (IMHO at least!)

  3. Tim Morgan says:

    Loved By Less is also on GitHub, along with (shameless plug) my own social networking platform tailored for churches, OneBody:

    Good post. It seems 2008 is the year of Rails-based social networking platforms. Very cool that these are open source. It can only be good for the Rails community.

  4. Andy Atkinson says:

    I also wanted to add that RailsSpace (which Michael co-authored) is a great tutorial-style book, and it was fun developing that social networkign app from scratch as well, though it is pre Rails 2, they do have sections for RESTful blogs and comments for users.

  5. SoftMind says:


    I also love that RailsSpace Book. It was great.

    Any idea, whether any one has converted those codes into Rails 2.0.2
    If any one knows, pl. guide us here.


  6. Jamzee says:

    I used LovdByLess to create my website. It features the ability to create YouTube video playlists that you can in turn put onto a myspace or facebook profile(as well as other), or import into your iPod through iTunes.

    check it out :)

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