Bootleg Daily Create

Given a different type of planning I’d have started with Alan’s Daily Create Theme but that’s now how these particular stars aligned. Instead I had a course site that was mostly built and had been polished in a variety of theme specific ways when the daily create idea came up. I didn’t really want to mess with switching themes etc. as time is getting short. Plus there was probably more than a bit of curiosity if I could stitch 80% of the functionality together via non-programmistan means. I turned to a few of my old standbys to get this done. The theme remains Flat Bootstrap. The plugins pulling the majority of the weight are- Feed WordPress– pulls in the student blogs, Flickr images, and possibly Twitter via this Gravity Forms– lets the site admins create daily create prompts in a structured way without needing to know exactly what they’re doing Display posts shortcode– lets us easily embed the participant submissions with the prompt Simply Exclude– will allow us to include/exclude categories from specific pages. In this case I just wanted to keep the Flickr generated daily create elements from cluttering up the main bloggregate page. I’m ok with showing blog submissions here even if they are daily creates. On the looks side, I’m using Jetpack to do the custom CSS […]

Bootstrapping Nonprogramistan

I want to be like Alan Levine someday but as I slowly progressively acquire the necessary coding skills I often make do with various kinds of semi-programistan hackery. Today was an example of that and so worth a bit of blogging. Jesse Goldstein, one of a cadre of most favored sociologists, sent me an email asking how hard it’d be to do a few things with his course site for Understanding Capitalism. He wanted the front page to have – three columns- each from a separate category a way to highlight items of import in the leftmost column a static chunk of text in the leftmost column There are lots of ways to do this. I’m actually confident I could write a child theme to do this . . . but it was fun to do it without that and to do it in about 30 minutes as we sat at the .1 The Theme Jesse course started out with the tried and true Twenty Fourteen theme. It’s a nice theme but not really the one I’d choose for something with three columns. I’ve really been enjoying Flat Bootstrap lately. It’s nice and clean both in the code and in the presentation and it’s, as the name implies, built on the Bootstrap framework which makes all sorts of neat tricks […]

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Nonprogramistan Twitterbot Monstrosity

I wanted a Twitterbot to push out Markov generated stuff from Emily Dickinson’s work. I wanted to do it fairly quickly as it was inspired by an awesome discussion yesterday with Jason Coats who will be teaching one of VCU’s online courses this summer on poetry. One of his goals was to encourage students to put themselves out there and engage with poetry. I thought mechanically created poetry might allow for a certain degree of freedom of analysis and Emily Dickinson’s work was particularly well suited to the Markov genre. As I already had a Markov generator running with some of the possible texts for Gardner and Jon’s MOOC this summer, it was easy enough to switch out the source material with Emily Dickinson’s work. It never hurts to be able to build what you discuss while still carrying on the discussion. That’s one of the things I love about computers. So that got me the Markov portion but it was on a web page and would require either a visit or a manual action to feed it into Twitter (which Jason had used previously with his students). To get at Twitter I needed a new Twitter account EmilyMkv which I got by using this GMail alias trick. It’s handy if you run out of unique emails. As I thought […]

Stepping Up: Non-Programistan/Non-HTML Exhibit Page

Ben called me on the fact that Exhibit really was too much for most teachers/humans. It seems no one wants to know HTML these days has ever wanted to know html. So my “no programming” claim was weak and as a true patriot of Non-Programistan I had to step up. Here is a spreadsheet where you can put in some basic fields. It builds you the Google Spreadsheet headers (you have to cut and paste them in) and with a little simple work on your part in the spreadsheet the HTML is made for you. You have to cut and paste it into a text editor and save it as html. I made this page with it. Now, this version if fairly rough but it works. The whole thing is limited and will only do the sortable table view but it’s a decent start. There’s a lot you could do to expand this to allow mapping, time lines etc. as Exhibit is built to be modular. I might have to learn enough programming to make this work in a web interface some day. Step 1 You put in the data types, headers etc. you want. Step 2 After pasting in the URL headers into a Google spreadsheet you publish it and copy the XML feed and paste it into the […]