What is Rampages? Part Two

Image from page 776 of “The Ladies’ home journal” (1889) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Continuing on from Part One . . . I have way too many examples. If you read this blog often, you’ve probably seen most of these being born1 but this is my first attempt at organizing and a more cohesive structure around key categories/processes and all in one place. This isn’t my normal pattern as I’m more of a folksonomic structure guy rather than taxonomic. What this has done is remind me of just how much work has been done in a relatively short time. I’ve only been here three years. Rampages is roughly three years old but wasn’t publicized initially and then had some rough growing pains. The last year or so I’ve been trying to convince people my department still exists . . . and still people find ways to do tons of amazing work. I’m not even including the stuff we do outside of WordPress. I’m only scratching the surface but this post keeps getting longer and longer. I threw a bunch of the links here. Some will be duplicates but there’s plenty of additional sites as well. Courses Rampages supports faculty teaching the full continuum of courses at VCU- from augmenting traditional […]

What is Rampages.us? Part One

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 […]


Rampages Numbers

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.


Browse by Color in WordPress

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.

I’m not dead yet . . . Google Scripts to Check on a Bunch of WP Sites

John Stewart is going to write up something more systematic and structured as he’s taken these rough ideas up a notch but I figured I’d throw this functional Google Script code in here before I lost it. I believe I got up to five positive statements on blogging more in-process stuff so I’m taking that as an overwhelming mandate. These Google Script functions are meant to loop through a set of URLs in a Google Sheet pulled as an array to see if the site’s still in use. The first two take a look at the WP REST API endpoints for posts and pages. That way if the person only writes pages you won’t be tricked. I’d probably write them all to the sheet because I’m paranoid. The third (aka the hassle as I hadn’t ever messed with XML using javascript) looks at the RSS/XML feed in case the site is not updated enough to have a functional API endpoint or if it’s broken for some reason. This won’t help you out if they’re just writing pages but there’s only so much a person can do. John made a more robust structure with error checking, the piece where it writes to the spreadsheet etc. and I’ll loop in his post once it’s up.

Auto-Creating Slack Channels from WordPress

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.

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 […]

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.