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 […]

timeline of last 50 posts

WP JSON to Timeline JS

As part of some thoughts on building out a series of reflective views for student portfolio blogs, I thought seeing your WordPress posts in the TimelineJS view might be a useful way to look back over your progress. I intend to wrap this into a custom spreadsheet template and/or a plugin1 but figured I’d sketch out how it works so far in case anyone was interested. The WP Rest API makes it pretty easy to write the data via Google Script. I just want to cut out chunks of the data and put it in the right fields. The following script does that and writes it to a page named “wp.” 1 Or maybe just a page where you throw in a blog URL and get a bunch of alternate view/data options.

Historical Will Annotation Continued: A WP API Experiment

The Judah Will Project (now with new URL!) has continued to grow as Ryan has been putting in serious work on the research and writing side of things. I have no choice but to step up my game and it’s been an interesting learning experience as it’s the first time I’ve tried anything sophisticated with WP providing the writing/data side of things while presenting that information somewhere else entirely. Headless? So here’s a recap of changes since the last update. More Obvious I talked to Jim about the project a few days ago. It became clear to me that it wasn’t obvious that the names in the will transcription were clickable prior to actually clicking on one. I fixed that with a simple dashed underline. This was one of those times where I was trying to keep the visual elements minimal but ended up going too far. I also threw in a modal popup for initial directions to make things more obvious. I just used this simple modal jquery plugin. It immediately drove me crazy by popping up all the time. So I looked around and found a solution to set cookies which I’d never done before. I also used a modal for the ever-growing family tree. When you have 12 kids in a generation, things get pretty wide. Permanent […]

Simple Interview Formatting Using Pseudo Elements

I had a quick question today about formatting an interview. That led to some quick experimentation in Code Pen and some simple uses of pseudo class selectors.1 When I first looked at the transcript I started to assign a class to each paragraph. That would work but was tedious. Given we were switching speakers at every paragraph I could be clever/lazy. nth-of-type will let me select odd and even elements. You can also be far fancier (every 5th etc.) but even/odd was all I needed. Given how pleasant that was, I figured I’d try a few more. This CSS lets me grab the first letter (and the colon) of the paragraphs and make them a bit like a drop cap.2 I wondered if I could use the selectors in combination to alternately style the first letters drop caps. Turns out you can. Anyway a fun 10 minutes or so that might be of interest to other wanderers out there. See the Pen demo for clare – fancy version by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. 1 Disregard my neapolitan-ice-cream-inspired color scheme. 2 I had to look up the word for ‘big letters in medieval manuscripts’ and didn’t actually read/follow the tips for drop caps at the URL linked here . . .

Audio Annotation POC Using WaveSurfer.JS

See the Pen wave surfer – waveform by Tom (@twwoodward) on CodePen. I needed to make a quick proof of concept for the annotation of audio on the web. In this case, it’s meant to provide a visual and auditory way to play through interview segments that represent different categories of responses. I found WaveSurfer.js this morning and just a bit later I had a functional example. I find the ability to highlight track elements visually and access specific segments to be a pretty powerful combination. If we stacked several tracks vertically the visuals would quickly point out content variation in terms of timing and total composition. You could get more and more complex from there. Playing with it gave me all sorts of ideas (including possibly using it as part of of the upcoming Reclaim Your Dance Party // API + Audio = (beats, visuals, internet, participate) session at Domains 17 with Grant and Brian). It’s also looking like I’ll be able to work more with our music department to think through online course on music so possibilities like this will be very useful. This kind of thing would be pretty easy to turn into a plugin . . .

Annotating a Will: A Digital Process

One of the projects that Ryan Smith chose as part of our Digital History course was the collaborative transcription and annotation of a historic Richmond will . . . describing it thusly1 in the syllabus. Collaborative annotation: To further put our emphasis on collaboration into practice, we will annotate [explain, contextualize, add to] together one document, the last will and testament of Isaac Judah, an early Richmond resident. This assignment will require student research, online or in person, to help explain and contextualize this document for a public audience. What software platform should we use to markup the item? How should we handle the will’s transcription? Who are the parties mentioned in the will? Where are the locations? What historical lessons can it teach readers? The quality and quantity of each students’ research/commentary will count as 10% of the final course grade. The will can be found on our course website, in the Google Drive folder. The transcription file is: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ghG-oyFvyza-zRUE4ZJf0_HF4_D5dey4Bv4BmM5JYFQ/edit. Annotations can begin as soon as the course begins and should be finalized by February 23 March 30. If the annotation is fruitful, we may post this result for public consumption. We ended up with quite a bit of work . . . in fact so much work that displaying it via the Google Doc didn’t really work. It […]

Random Re-Connection via Twitter

@twoodwar is this the T Woodward I I knew in Cola, SC?!?! I'm still recovering from those suicide kicks! #greengate pic.twitter.com/4HTaNHEi2N — auz1111 (@auz1111) April 7, 2017 That is me- back row, partially obscured (and not just by the camo). Pretty wild that John found me somehow and that we’re both involved in WordPress and web design stuff. It led me to look up another guy from that photo and a few seconds later . . . presto. He was even using that same picture as his avatar (because, as it turns out, they had a bet on who could find me on the Internets). Not world shaking but a fun connection to the past (30-ish years ago!) and one that inspired a bit of digital wandering. I’m relatively sure this is my house back in 5th/6th grade but I’m not entirely sure. I mainly identified it by the creek visible in the map view. I probably spent more time there than in the house. That’d definitely the pond where I used to fish and catch baby turtles (something of a family tradition now). I went to E.L. Wright M.S. before we moved to the hell that was 7th grade in Huntsville, Alabama’s creatively-named Huntsville Middle School.