Tag Archives: RSS

RSS is an Answer

Last evening I noticed on twitter:

And jumped in without thinking too much.

Rich (@richardtape) was providing drop in support on a Google Hangout. Rich works at University of British Columbia which is, of course, organizing the Teaching with WordPress course I am trying to follow.

I had, for a short while, the floor to myself. Unfortunately I made poor use of the time, my teacup was too full. Rich was extremely patient and told me the answer to my problem several times, I just didn’t notice. Hopefully I’ve learned a lesson for the next time I have a similar opportunity (hoping against experience here).

The problem is the one described in the previous post. To display a question/assignment/challenge post along with responses to that post. Christina solved it with the loop shortcode plugin. We do not have that plugin on GlowBlogs.

Five Thirty am Enlightenment

After mulling over the problem in bed this morning I suddenly listened to Rich again. He had repeatedly told me the best way to do this would be RSS but I had focused on plugins and facilities we do not have (yet?) in GlowBlogs.

So the way I would solve this in Glow blogs would be to use RSS widgets, to pull in responses. These responses would be on the same blog as the questions (but could be pulled in with the syndication plugin, or on another blog that does the aggregation). The widget would only be displayed on the post with the question as it would have a unique category. The responses would have a unique category or tag.

Here is a quick example: Challenge 2 Red.

On that post you can see the challenge (show something red). In the sidebar there is a widget showing a list of posts tagged red. This only shows up on the challenge page. I’ve added some information to the post to give more details.

There are a couple of drawbacks to this method.

  1. It is a bit fiddly for the person setting up the challenge. They need to create a widget per challenge and a category per challenge.
  2. The RSS update is not immediate. A WordPress query would be better.

I would be interested in using it for something like the bootcamp and see how it goes.

    WordPress Comment Subscriptions by Category


    flickr photo shared by duncan under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

    It’s particularly helpful in a rather specific situation- i.e. one where you’re doing a mother blog and want to see all the student comments (like Allen did with the #thoughtvectors reader) but since we have students using their blogs for more than one class things get messy fast.

    Enter me asking smarter people on Twitter, almost going to the forsaken land of Yahoo Pipes,1 and being saved by Google liking Mark more than me.

    So anyway, here’s the structure to get the comments for specific categories/tags.

    • by name – http://bionicteaching.com/comments/feed/?category_name=apple
    • by category ID – http://bionicteaching.com/comments/feed/?cat=18
    • by tag name – http://bionicteaching.com/comments/feed/?tag=tutorial-2

    This is one of those things that barely rates a post but given I didn’t know how to do it maybe it’ll help some other wanderer and for people who want this it’ll be really useful. Thanks to Mark, Alan, and Martin for helping me out.


    1 I like Yahoo Pipes but one has to assume Yahoo will kill it dead very soon . . . although I’ve been hearing that for several years.