Aggregation – 3/24/2013 Update on the Art Office Website Project

Hello again for this week’s exciting installment on the Art Office Website project! As I promised last week, I now have some goodies to share regarding the RSS aggregation system that Professor Fu has put me to work on. Unfortunately, we’re still in a back-and-forth conversation about exactly *how* to implement it and *what* we’ll be aggregating, but I’ll give you a quick lowdown on how the system works!

The plugin I finally decided on for importing other posts is WP-o-Matic. It’s a powerful plugin that allows for the creation of “campaigns” which are essentially categories of feeds that you’re importing. After a few basic setup instructions and one slightly more advanced (setting up an automated cron task), WP-o-Matic was up and running! From there I created a test campaign and analyzed the various options. After tweaking them to values I felt would be best for the project, I tested an import using various feeds that she has given me.

The results were promising, but not without their problems. Many posts were imported beautifully, bar a couple of mistakes I was able to clean up by tweaking the CSS some more. But a few of the posts (notably the RSS feed for a YouTube channel) looked egregious and others were just bland. After playing with the test import some more, I have a good idea of what will work now and what won’t. I’ve let Professor Fu know and am now waiting for her to get back to me regarding how she wants to proceed with the RSS feed. However, in essence the backbone of the RSS aggregation system is there. It needs more fine-tuning, but I should have no problems getting it near perfect by the end of the semester.

Another item I took care of was a nasty little bug in Firefox and other possibly other Gecko based browsers. It was causing large post images to bleed over into the sidebars, but luckily I was able to find a fairly simple solution after some time searching. From a web-developer’s perspective, it’s really annoying to have all of these compatibility items to worry about. All of my CSS3 animations and the such require 4 lines of nearly identical code for varying browsers. It’s sort of frustrating and hopefully it doesn’t cause more problems down the road.

Anyway, that’s it for this week! No pictures unfortunately because the RSS aggregator isn’t outside of the testing stages. Hopefully at the end of next week it’ll also be ready for the spotlight.

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