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Community- Technically Speaking

Playing “Mah-Jong” at the Clubhouse of the Century Village Retirement Community. flickr photo by The U.S. National Archives shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Marie has nice post summarizing the Georgetown Community presentation at Domains. And nowEvelyn’s post reminded me to write a post on a site instead of just in my head. The title of the presentation ‘Just a Community Organizer’ is a nod to the fact that community is hard to do. It can be hard technically but it’s often even more difficult on the human side. As Evelyn brought up . . . community is not created by the technical ability to bring content together. There are lots of ways this can succeed technically but fail socially–> The stuff is there but no one cares. At the same time, technology failures can prevent community from forming where you have all the other factors–> People want to see what’s going on but can’t find and interact with the stuff they want in reasonable ways. There’s also the idea that people might not know what they want to see (or how they want to see it) until it’s given as an option or scaffolded into as an action. Can we present content in ways that are novel and interesting that inspires curiosity and interaction? You can’t do that […]

editor screenshot

SPLOT-light?

So the other day I posted about how to make silent Google Form submissions. Then this morning I was looking around at headless CMS options1 and saw this one being advertised as being driven by Google Drive/Spreadsheets. Those two things came together as I mowed my lawn and I wondered if I couldn’t make a little rich text editor to construct a one-piece content creator/displayer using Google Sheets. That led to a little research into URL parameter limits. And then this evening I made this editor. The page uses Quill to take care of the rich text editor. It turns out there’s a whole world of rich text editor options out there. I’m only scratching the surface with Quill but it works fine for now. It’s bare bones. You can associate an image via a URL, make a title, and add some text. It does show some interesting possibilities though and all with very little infrastructure or real technical know how. The image preview is built by this little bit of javascript. It’s based on having a text field with the id of ‘theImage’ and then there’s a check to make sure there’s not already an image attached and if there is it replaces it. This little bit of javascript builds the Google Forms URL from the various text fields […]

Silent Submission of Google Forms

If you tuned in about half an hour ago, you’d have seen how we’re triggering channel creation in Slack based on a custom post type getting published. One of the other tricks we wanted to happen as a result of that was the creation of a Google Folder. There are a variety of ways to play this but some of the easier ones would require some options we have blocked on our VCU accounts. I could have gone around that via a personal account and then subsequent sharing but it seemed like it’d be more fun to do it this way. I knew I could trigger script events based on form submissions and that I could use the data in the form as variables as well. I also knew I could fill out form variables via URL parameters. What I didn’t know was whether I could submit a Google Form without actually hitting submit. Turns out you can. Take your normal form URL. https://docs.google.com/a/vcu.edu/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScK2wgma6Oicv_ZY9i-6tg_w9RfEKKkgiAFJDw15jJnmr5ofQ/viewform?entry.1431785794 You can get one of the pre-filled URL patterns like so . . . Which gives you a URL like this. You can see my pre-filled response ‘fish tank’ at the end of the url. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScK2wgma6Oicv_ZY9i-6tg_w9RfEKKkgiAFJDw15jJnmr5ofQ/viewform?usp=pp_url&entry.1431785794=fish+tank Now to make it auto submit ‘fish tank’ you have to change one piece and add an element at the […]

List Public Slack Channels via API

Image from page 249 of “The development of the chick; an introduction to embryology” (1919) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) I ended up doing this while pursuing some of the API integration stuff for our projects page. It doesn’t list the private pages and might be useful to someone. This was the byproduct of looking for a way to look up the ID for a particular channel which ended up looking like this.

Weekly Post Generator

Image from page 191 of “Hardware merchandising August-October 1912” (1912) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Given there’s been some recent interest in using WordPress as destination for content created on other services, I thought it might be helpful to see how I set up my weekly Pinboard posts. I did this a year or two ago so it’s sloppy but I think it’ll show some stuff that matters — mainly loading up the array variables for wp_insert_post. This is a super-simple example that inserts one post based on the content at the curl URL and is run weekly via a cron job. Looking at it now, I am full of shame as it didn’t need an external page etc. etc. but in the interest of actually writing the post and being transparent on how you don’t have to be competent to get stuff done I present it anyway. You can do similar things via javascript and you can loop it against a json feed with multiple elements. It gets a little confusing in my head when I start to think how you’d deal with syncing changes long-term. For instance, if you have a post that was created via this API cycle and it gets updated a month later how would you […]

A drawing of a small terrier dog jumping through a hoop held by a monkey.

WP API Feed Reader POC

Image from page 96 of “St. Nicholas [serial]” (1873) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) I’ve talked to a number of people a number of times about seeing faculty using Feed WordPress to syndicate content to a motherblog when they’d really be better served by using a feed reader like Feedly.1 Feed WordPress is great and very useful but if you don’t want to archive the content or take advantage of some of the more advanced options (auto-categorizing, auto-tagging, doing stuff with author pages etc.) then it usually is a bit more hassle than it’s worth. I thought it’d be pretty easy to build a little custom page to display a series feeds from sites in one place. It took me a bit to get it straight but it wasn’t too bad. This example loads 10 sites fairly quickly. I’m currently just showing the source site’s URL and the 5 most recent posts with titles and dates. It’d be easy enough to add other stuff – excerpt, full post content, featured image etc. It’d also be pretty easy to pass the URLs to the page from a Google Spreadsheet which I’ll probably do in the near future. See the Pen wp json api multi fetch by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. 1 Obligatory […]

Rethinking Our Project Page (and other stuff)

Image from page 211 of “Bulletin” (1961-1962) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) I’ve been lucky enough to hire two awesome people who have started over the last month or so.1 We’re also going to get a new supervisor on July 3rd. That’s led me to have a bit of breathing room and a reason to start re-thinking some things. One of those things is how we combine documenting our work. Can we document what we do in a way that will create more people interested in doing these things? Can we do a much better job bringing active faculty to the forefront? Can we serve the end of the year report needs regarding various data elements? Can we gather data we might reflect on regarding our own processes? How do we knit all this stuff together from various services without a lot of extra work? The Old I’ve done this more than a few times. The latest incarnation at VCU was the examples page (pictured above). It is semi-decent but was done in haste. It tries to affiliate tools and instructional concepts with examples. Conceptually, it’s pretty close to TPACK in that way. It has done a marginal job thus far. It houses examples and people can browse them. It doesn’t […]

Non-Standard Shapes- Another Odd WP JSON Display

It’s better to see this in the full page view but it grabs a WP JSON feed and makes up non-standard polygon shapes based on the posts using the featured image as the background. Try reloading the page and the shapes will change. If you hover over them they’ll behave in very odd ways as well. That’s all easier to see on the full page view. It’s a strange proof of concept but one I’ll be putting to work for an odd art site in the future. I’ll tame it a bit as I’ve made a number of completely odd decisions just to see what would happen. It could be I’ll end up using data from the posts to influence the shapes more intentionally. That opens up a whole world of strange dataviz possibilities. That is one of the things I love about doing this kind of WordPress interaction. It’s light enough that I’ll run down a path like this and just try it out. I probably wouldn’t have bothered if it required a full child-theme or page template. It’s a low threshold with a high ceiling and now I have another example of something people don’t think WordPress could do for my NMC presentation next week. See the Pen socially engaged artists – jquery by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen.

iPad Robot Redemption

I freely admit to having mocked iPad robots on more than one occasion. My experience with them has largely been awkward encounters at conferences where they felt more like curiosities1 than anything with real purpose or impact.2 But . . . we recently ended up in a scenario where a student in Molly’s Artfulness class was going to be unable to attend class for a lengthy period of time. She was considering dropping the class. The next class was a dance-focused class run by Jill Ware where movement and being in the space was particularly important. All this came out in an informal conversation with Molly. As a semi-joke, I said now was the time to use the iPad robot . . . and not only did we do it but it ended up working really well. You can see some of the interactions playing out below. I think it was a fundamentally different experience than merely watching. In this particular scenario I think that the iPad robot really made a remarkable difference in terms of interaction on the part of the student driving and the students interacting with the robot/student.3 It also looks like a fundamentally different experience for both the driver of the iPad robot and the students in the class. It’d be a fun thing on which […]

WP Rest API Tips

Cowboy Jason Stanley performing a riding trick at the Round-Up, Pendleton, Oregon flickr photo by UW Digital Collections shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) I’ve been doing quite a bit more with the WordPress Rest API lately. There’s plenty of documentation and tutorials out there but most of it still feels a bit scattered to me so I’m going to stick a few of the basics here and add a few things that have come up repeatedly that aren’t quite as basic. There’s an attempt here to move upwards in complexity with the examples but to keep them as clean as possible. This will deal entirely with getting the data. I haven’t done much with using the API to write or modify data. Get the Info There are many ways to get data depending on your library of choice or if you’re using vanilla JS. I’ve played with fetch and Axios on the lighter side and jQuery, Vue, and Angular (v1) on the heavier/more involved side of things. I’ll use jQuery in this version because it’s fairly popular but here’s a Vue example. The example below does a basic jQuery ajax call for the JSON associated with blog information. See the Pen simple jquery get of WP JSON for the site by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. The URL Structure/Accessing […]