Random Stuff I Learned This Week

I’m messing around with some workflows to figure out how I’m spending some of my time . . . and, as a result, spending some of my time on how I spend my time.

One of those efforts is trying to get some decent numbers around how my own efforts towards rampages support are going. I have my gut feelings but figured I’d see if I could work out a low energy way to document some of it in a more specific manner.

I’m currently playing with a simple IFTTT recipe. It takes an email to a specific address with a specific hashtag (#vcusupport in this case) and puts it into a spreadsheet. I modify the subject line so that it’s #vcusupport HELP ME! | faculty | aggregation |. The regex1 below pulls out the elements and puts them in separate columns. Giving me something like the data below.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 10.31.24 PM

Grabs content between two characters (in this case my “pipes”).

I started to do some work with Zapier as well. I actually prefer it in a number of ways (much more granular data and other neat things to pull from email) but the price was way too high for this type of use. I might try a more direct API route within Google if I end up feeling the need to do this at a larger scale and with more sophistication. In looking for other options, I also found Huginn2 which may be the answer to some other workflow and data needs.

I’m now wondering about whether some light-weight help desk software option would be worth it. It might help get the data and spread out the support load while documenting what we’re focusing on so we could build FAQs and the like.

Trailing Slashes

Got a bunch of URLs in a spreadsheet? need them all to have trailing slashes? This was a result of some syndication issues.

Add additional sidebar options to a WordPress theme. Simple enough, just never did this before. It’ll be handy down the road as I’m spending more and more time in child-theme land.

add_action( 'widgets_init', 'theme_slug_widgets_init' );
function theme_slug_widgets_init() {
    register_sidebar( array(
        'name' => __( 'sidebar3', 'ramhome' ),
        'id' => 'sidebar-3',
        'description' => __( 'Widgets in this area will be shown on the extra special page.', 'theme-slug' ),
        'before_widget' => '<div id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">',
        'after_widget'  => '</div>',
        'before_title'  => '<h2 class="widgettitle">',
        'after_title'   => '</h2>',
    ) );

1 It is somewhat sloppy but regex remains really crazy to me.

2 Plus, I like the Norse mythology reference.