Nostromo’s boot sequence of “Mother” computer in Alien
Tim Owens and I went down to Virginia Commonwealth University’s ALT Lab to catch up with Tom Woodward, Jon Becker, and a recent, most impressive addition Mark Luetke. They have been doing some great work with their WordPress Multisite (WPMS) instance Rampages. They have brought on more than 7,000 users in just over a year, which is pretty astonishing. One of the things we talked about is the cool work Mark has been doing over the last couple of months for their blogging platform, namely writing awesome plugins. One that hit close to my own heart is the “Mother Blogs Made Easier” plugin that works in conjunction with FeedWordPress and allows faculty to specify a category that will syndicate into their course site.
This is a bit of shortcode that a faculty can add to a page or post. Once they do it becomes a straightforward form that a student fills out and then the category a faculty member added is seamlessly created on the student’s site as well as added to FeedWordPress on the Mother Blog (the course site that aggregates in all the students posts).
Above is the post or page with the shortcode, as you can see it is a simple yes or no to whether you have a blog on the system. After that you choose the site for this course, you’ll notice it slickly includes all the sites one has on a given WPMS instance. After that you are all set.
If you don’t have a site, the form branches and asks you if you want one, and then sends you to create a site.
If you don’t want a site, it will ask you if you have your own and let you provide the feed:
If you answer no again, well then what the hell are you doing here 🙂
Once you select a site on the WPMS instance (which will be 99% of the cases for VCU students) the plugin automatically creates the appropriate category on your blogAfter that, you just need to use that category to syndicate to the motherblog, and the plugin tells you as much once you finish the form:
On the other side, this plugin not only creates the category on the student’s blog, but also adds it to FeedWordpress with the proper category feed. So, when I added testds106.umwblogs.org to the form, this plugin automatically added testds106.umwblogs.org/category/ds106/feed -how awesome is that?
And that’s just one of the several cool plugins Mark Luetke has created in his short career at ALT Lab, but I’ll let this magic sink in a bit before I blog the next one 🙂 Where has he been for the past 7 or 8 years again? 🙂