ScotsEduBlogs Aggregation Project

preamble/ramble

This wiki has been a great success and now lists 100s of blogs. The planning of TeachMeet06 have certainly shown me the power of wikis.
As the list of blogs grows it becomes harder and harder to follow all of the blogs. The links to the blogs are scattered across several pages organised for browsing rather than collecting and following the blogs.
A couple of days ago I was testing an online aggregator SimplePie blogged here when Andrew suggested in the comments:
  • It would be great if we could have some aggregated feeds from Scotedublogs, or give people the ability to create their own ‘pick and choose’ feed?

I then attempted to collect all of the RSS feeds for listed here in blogs and packed them into a opml file: .
this was blogged.
This lead some discussion about storing scotedublogs semantically and aggregation. Robert owns and offered to the community the ‘scotedublogs.org.uk’ domain, Andrew and Pete are interested.

This page on the wiki is for discussion of what, how and when we will try to do this. As Robert said this could be fun. - johnjohnston johnjohnston
  • update It looks like LTS are thinking along the same lines see Ewans' post and Nova's post - johnjohnston johnjohnston Dec 16, 2006 For details of the LTS project scroll down to the bottom of the page.
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Update on Project I've been playing with the blogschapines code today, and have made a rough "proof of concept" which you could briefly view at http://www.scotedublogs.org.uk (I took it down before anyone started finding it!)- It's still full of Spanish, but I reckon this is a good starting point :) The ugly Scottish flag with ScotEduBlogs plastered in front of it is all my own work - I told you I had no design skills. I'll take this off-line in 48 hours - it's not fit to be seen in public really - jonesieboy jonesieboyn
I've made a crude mockup of some of the things I'd like to see, completly static and non-functional Mockup - johnjohnston johnjohnston Dec 17, 2006

Further Update on Project

I started looking at how easy it might be to do this in Rails...I got a bit carried away, and have got a first iteration up and running at scotedublogs.org.uk. The basic layout and tabs are straight from the mind of John. Referring to the "what"s below, it does tagging, tag cloud (though someone else needs to sort out the css!), filtering by tag or authority and a "news" of the latest 10 posts from anywhere in the scotedublogs world. The colors of the blog titles in the "blogs" section are supposed to reflect the "heat" of the blog. Red=very recent posts, orange=posts in last month, blue=nothing for a while - an idea that clearly needs some refining!

It still needs to do adding of blogs and generation of feeds/OPML files. These are not difficult - the tools exist already in the FeedTools library. More importantly, it needs the design tidying up and the inputting of sensible tags for the blogs that are in there already. I guess we should seek to coordinate with the LTS folksonomy.

The source code is in a google code project here , under GPL.

I would hope to avoid the need for a "user" layer, apart from an admin. Custom feeds could have a URL generated at the time they are constructed, in much the same ways that other on-line aggregating tools do.

The site should really be labelled "alpha" rather than "beta", but if you do get the urge to add any tags, they will not get thrown out as the project develops. Let me know what you think - jonesieboy jonesieboy

The ScotEduBlogs Logo competition

seblogo.png
We need a logo, preferably 790 pixels by 180 or so. It should reflect Scotland, blogging and sharing/ Open source software.
I am not sure about the judging process, probably a poll on the wiki.
First prize: fame, and the right to stick a open source license on you logo;-)

A little more information and a space for entries on the ScotEduBlogs Logo page.

What

Add ideas for what you would like to see here, initial or add your sig with three tidles ~~~

  • A collection of RSS feeds for all ScotsEduBlogs jj
  • collection to be tagged (Authority. stage, interests, etc) so that one could collect all blogs by primary children or computer teachers. jj
  • Export to opml for collections of feeds a collection being one or more tags (eg Computer teachers in Argyll)
  • Specialised feed readers for collections (this might be pushing it a bit, personally I would like time sorted, latest first, posts from multiple blogs like the aggregation here but flexable. so that users could create their own 'reader'. Others might like something like grazr, these I guess could run of opml that users create? jj I really like the sound of this! ab
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* feeds of collections of feeds

Who

Add your skills and sig
  • Some ideas, very baby steps php (nowhere near good enough for the ideas), basic html/css - johnjohnston johnjohnston
  • OK PHP (PHP4.x), good Ruby on Rails, OK html/css but no design skills! Oh, I also have version control/software project managment experience - jonesieboy jonesieboy
  • Good PHP with mySQL, Java Enterprise (!) good with html/css especially ajax. - geekypete geekypete
  • OK html/css/photoshop/fireworks/flash/AS2, but would best be able to contribute to design of interface & video tutorials to show folks how to use it? - andrewb andrewb
  • Good with HTML/CSS/fireworks/Photoshop/General Design OK with pointing out the obvious and buying my round - istuart istuart
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How

We either find an existing tool, and then maybe customise it, or build from scratch. The first option seems sensible - Blogschapines looks promising.

When

At the Next Meetup or right now? A combination of virtual and face to face?
Right now I'd say (realistically, in the New Year). If need be, we can set up a project at google source or sourceforge rj
I think it's a good pilot project for the idea of educators as software developers though it's a big challenge. Virtual or real meeting with interested parties would be a good idea. - geekypete geekypete

LTS blog aggregator
I'm working on a blogs area for the LTS online service. The idea is to have LTS blogs and a directory of Scottish education blogs and a selection of interesting blogs from else where. Aggregation plays a big part of our project. This is what we've done so far: Robin our developer (he can correct me where I get my technical facts wrong) is working on a web service that will basically aggregate a defined number of RSS feeds. Because this is a web service and is in a sense open source any one can dial into it and use the aggregator or aggregators and display them on their own website.
The front end of the aggregator will be done in .asp to integrate with our CMS, so that will probably be of little use to anyone else.

We plan to organise the the blogs into catagories eg. written by students, written by teachers, or by probationers or student teacher, or we could organise them by LA. A slight hold up for us at the moment is that we are undergoing a revision of our taxonomies in preperation for ACfE, that has implications on our use of folksonomy. Ideally our users would submit a blog and tag it for a range of channels and catagories. At the moment that process has to be slightly more manual.

Our solution hasn't got a great deal of frills at the moment (we do have an extensive wish list that I'll be forever pushing for) but what it will do is allow us to share the back end part of the process allowing people to extract what aggregators they want to use. I'll let Robin explain more about that. The web application part of this process should be finished before xmas so we'll be able to tell you more in the new year.