I’m going to be attempting to explain what rampages.us is to a group on Tuesday. I’ve been struggling with a more digestible version of this for some time. While true, saying “Whatever you want it to be,” isn’t what people want to hear. Giving people something more concrete to think through what the site can do makes sense. These categories, however blurry and overlapping, provide some entries to additional thoughts and will likely help me organize my brain around this a bit better. Outside eyes are helpful so if you see stuff I’m missing or explaining poorly please throw me a comment here or on Twitter. While some of the details are specific to our version, I think the general arguments might be of use to others. If you end up doing that (or have already done it), throw me a link as I’d love to see how other people do this. Technically Speaking Rampages.us is a large WordPress multisite installation started roughly three years ago. Our community currently has over 24,000 sites and 22,000 members. WordPress is an open source platform which runs a huge portion (~30%) of today’s Internet and is the most popular CMS in the world. That matters for a variety of reasons. WordPress is free. This dramatically lowers barriers to access for our students while […]
In responding to some data requests, I delved into the WP tables to pull some rampages data. All users ever . . . I need to set up something more automated but for this I dumped the MySQL tables as CSVs and then just imported them to Google Sheets. With very minimal functions, I got this data. My favorite function combos are to pull the unique values from a range =unique and then do a =countif off those values. It’s a really quick way to get graphs like these.
Here’s a quick video of a browse-by-color example I made in about ten minutes this AM prior to a meeting with a faculty member in our fashion program. This one is using FacetWP1 which is acting on a custom field I creatively named ‘color.’ It seems like it’ll be useful to some disciplines and we have the option to do lots of automated patterns using Color Thief to grab pallets. The video is also one way we might start sharing examples of what we can do in various platforms. There’s significant need to show that internally and for external faculty so people get a better idea of their scope of options. 1 You could easily do this by hand now with the WP JSON data but it’d take a bit longer.
Image from page 279 of “The Ladies’ home journal” (1889) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) In working through the project page a bit more, it seemed like it’d be more pleasant to start in WordPress and have our events echo outward in other services. One of those events is the creation of project specific Slack channels. In the past, I’d mainly listened for events . . . programmatically checking back every so often to see if something had occurred so I could do something else. In this case it made more sense to have one action directly precipitate another. These are the three functions that fire when we publish the custom-post-type Project.1 In any case, it’s a pretty instantaneous creation and invitation to the channels. 1 I don’t know how to punctuate that but it’s probably not hyphens.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
This is the presentation I ended up doing at #domains17. I did slide-ish things over here but they probably didn’t include all the asides. We’ll see how well I do at including them in this post. I went down the Church of the Sub-Genius route sometime the night before. It remains to be seen whether this was a good choice or not. I thought it was funny but many of my jokes are for a niche audience of one. Although Grant Potter and Brian Lamb seemed to be down with Bob. The goal of this slide was to portray me as a human. I have a number of other interests. I do not live in a dank cave with eyes eternally glazed from staring into the ether. I have a family. I sleep a reasonable amount. I enjoy the light of the day star. etc. etc. Once again, I’m trying really hard to convince people that I am not special and they can do this. I’m not a programmer. I didn’t study computer science. This is sometimes misinterpreted at times to mean you should do this or we’ve had the same opportunities to do this. I’m not saying any of that. I’m trying to say I’m no better than you and that with time you too can be a half-competent […]