Landing : Athabascau University

Week 4 Reflections

Week 4 Reflections

I had some pretty grandious ideas when starting this week, but ultimately had to settle for creating a pinboard on The Landing as I didn't have the technical prowess nor time to get my vision fully realized (and having it realized through a hosted web service would have ended up costing money).

What I wanted to Do

I had orginially wanted to create my own blog and add in various widgets to aggregate in my own Social Media streams and RSS Feeds in a clean, design friendly space.  The intent of the site was to be a space where I could blog of topics of interest to me and aggregate feeds from my social media platforms and other websites.  I had a vision of creating a forum to encourge dialogue and discusison based on the topics that bloged about as well.

The intended audience would be anyone who shared similar intersts as me, namely security, fantasyfootball and materials specific to COMP605 or Social Computing in general. 

I tried a few webhosting services and the free varient that they offer, namely Wordpress, Wix and, but all of their free versions were very limited in functionality, primarily not allowing me to add widgets or any nicely formatted RSS feeds.  Similar to my cohorts, I had found and used it to create RSS feeds from some content that I could find a dedicated RSS feed for.  Additionally, RSS offers unique widget content that can be embedded into a web page for a slick design friendly way of integrating that content (see screengrab below in Figure 1).  Further, I found another cool RSS Widget generator via that takes any RSS feed and creates a cool widget for embedding it into a website (see code snippet below in Figure 2).

Alas, I couldn't find a good way to incorporating these easily onto a hosted website without having to pay for additional functionality from the provider.  Even after switching to The Landing, and using the embedded HTML editor, you cannot add additional iframes as all content is forced into the



After a lot of frustration and search, I settled on creating a simple Pinboard on the Landing.


Figure 1 - widget generator

<!-- start sw-rss-feed code -->
// <![CDATA[ <br><!-- <br>rssfeed_url = new Array();
rssfeed_footer_name="rss feed";
rssfeed_cache = "9f989210e764575fb583be22d01e79f3";
// ]]>

<!-- The link below helps keep this service FREE, and helps other people find the SW widget. Please be cool and keep it! Thanks. -->
powered by Surfing Waves

<!-- end sw-rss-feed code -->

Figure 2 - RSS Widget Generator

What I did

I ended up creating a pinboard on The Landing:

I have used RSS feeds before and was comfortable with what they were and how they worked.  When going through RSS feeds that I wanted to use, I stumbled across this resource which allows you to view what the feeds will look like:

I found this useful in taking a look at how RSS feeds would display if you tweeked some of the content inf the XML file itself. 

The Pinboard essentially serves the same purpose as my original blog site idea, albeit in a very parsed down version.  I ultimately did three things:

1. Created an RSS feed based off of Chris Krebs Twitter posts and incorporated that feed onto the pinboard.

2. Obtained the RSS feed from a favorite podcast of mine (The FantasyFootballers) and pulled in that feed to the site

3. Linked my own Blog from the landing ontot the pinboard via the RSS feed for that. 

4. Created a comments widget to allow people to comment/post of the pinboard.

Moving Foward

Moving forward, I want to see if I can do a little more research as to how I can find a hosting provider that will allow me to add some of this content free of charge ... or better yet, maybe even build it myself!


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