I am no longer, as of October 2008 working as a class teacher at Sandaig, so have moved this blog to another server. If you want to comment on this post, pleas search for it there.

11 12 06 Scots Edu Blogs OPML


After Andrew's comment yesterday I've been trying to collect all the rss feeds from the scotedublogs.
I uploaded a first effort:  scotedublog.opml.
I got the links by downloading an export of the wiki. I then extracted all the links for the html, downloaded the files and checked for an rss link. I used that to build an opml file, mostly automated with SuperCard, I guess it would have been faster with perl if I knew any perl. I did a little bit of hand weeding to remove broken stuff and make the opml file validate. The screenshot is of the opml feed imported into flock.

Nice job John. I tried to use Dapper – http://www.dappit.com – to pull some links out of the scotedublogs wiki. Reasonable success – this is a service that grabs all the blogs if you tell it what authority. Problem is that authorities are not named in a consistent way.

Fundamentally, I think that we should be storing scotedublogs semantically to begin with, rather than trying to scrape the contents of a wiki into something semantic. The wiki has been a great success, but it’s time to take the data and move on to a simple wee app. There must be something suitable written in PHP already? If not, I’d be happy to help out – it’d be a super quick job in Ruby on Rails. I registered scotedublogs.org.uk the other day, to prevent someone bad grabbing it first (I’m a good guy, honest!). Perhaps we could use it for this purpose? I should hasten to add that I don’t seek to claim ownership of the term scotedublog at all – anyone in the community that sees a worthwhile use for the domain is welcome to it :)
Robert Jones (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 00:02

Oops – didn’t realise your blog strips all html – “this” was supposed to hyperlink to

Robert Jones (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 00:03

Hi Robert, think that we should be storing scotedublogs semantically I couldn’t agree more. The wiki is great for discussion and was wondeful for organising teachmeet, but something else is needed for getting to the blogs. It might be worth starting a new page on the wiki to discuss this and how people would like it to work. I’ve some ideas. It would be nice to have the feeds tagged to pull out say all the children’s blog or a particular region etc as either an opml file or have a wee aggregator or two on the site?
btw you can hyperlink here with textile. I only found out about the link stripping recently.
John (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 08:16

Discussing it on the wiki sounds like exactly the right thing to do. I like your ideas – this could be fun :)
Robert Jones (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 09:23

I think both using the ‘scotedublogs.org.uk’ domain and storing the blogs semantically are a great idea. One of the things we need to conquer is updating an opml file or even an aggregated feed per Authority/area of interest etc for those that don’t check the wiki regularly. in an ideal world, if someone added a new blog to the A&B page, my aggregator would immediately know? A page to discuss this would be great! Is this a worthwhile creation/task for winter teachmeet?
AB (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 09:26

Hi Robert, fun indeed:-)I’ll try to start a new wiki page tonight if someone dosen’t beat me to it.
Andrew, I think we could have aggregators that would auto add new feeds. So you would tag your feed with Authority and interests and it would be added to the various online aggragations. I think I could probably do this in a really clunk way, but there are others in the community who will be able to provide an elegant solution once we hammer out a spec on the wiki. As t oupdating your aggregator I am not sure we can do that unless you aggregator could pick up changes in an online opml file? Is there an online aggregator with an API I wonder?
John (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 09:54

Tried this a month or so ago but never really go it finished. I wrote a php script that took all the links off del.icio.us tagged scot-edu-blog, worked out the RSS for each blog, then put it into OPML. The result is on my blog (as an OPML document.

I’d be interested in getting involved in producing a solution for this. Ultimately you’re relying on someone’s searching prowess, be it del.icio.us or technorati, to do this, unless you also include a link following EduSpider :) that works its way through blogrolls.
Peter (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 10:28

Sorry, double comment here, but John, if you’re interested in PHP (trust me, it’s better to try than perl) then check out the Electron Club in Glasgow’s CCA. Free programming workshops for anyone. It’s organised by wiki too :)
Peter (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 10:32

Hi Pete, That sound like just hat I did last night, except I used SuperCard and some shell calls and used a downloaded copy of the wiki.
I’d see it as a directory folk added and tagging their feeds, we would then produce opml and feed readers for tags/ tag combos.
Thanks for the CCA heads up, I’ve used php quite often, but in a fairly careless way eg: with google maps api flickr and rss. I would love to improve and the CCA is local.
John (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 12:28

Ugh – PHP. I’m so keen on this project that I’m willing to work in PHP to :)

Ruby on Rails is my preferred framework. If we must use PHP, could we use Django, or some such PHP web framework? It’ll save a lot of time, and leave us with code that’s much easier to maintain. In the back of my head I’ve got a feeling that what we are talking about creating is a tool with much more generic usefulness that just for scotedublogs. That’s why I can’t help thinking that someone else must have made it already. I tried searching Sourceforge, but didn’t come up with anything.
Robert Jones (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 12:54

Robert, the premise is there with http://www.planetplanet.org/ – Planet is a feed aggregator of the sort we’re talking about.

Ruby on Rails is a good idea, though hosting for it can be harder to get hold of. I’m a bit of a messer when it comes to coding but a framework is a good idea. I think Django is Python, however, whereas CakePHP could be used for PHP. I’m an advocate of PHP because I already know it, by the way ;)

Would be good to see if we can get a crack team together for an edu-hackers day before or after christmas. I could dust off my software development books and work out a good plan to move forward, then find out people’s strengths and then go for it. As Robert says, it’s not necessary to be scot-edu-blog specific but it would be a good place to start?
Peter (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 14:10

Yep – my mistake – I get confused between all the Ruby on Rails wannabes these days ;)

I could probably host the site on the server we use at school for hosting FreeMIS. I’ll check out planet planet.
Robert Jones (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 15:44

Hi – I just had another trawl through Sourceforge and found blogschaplines – you can see it in action here
It’s in Spanish, but seems to do a lot of the things we are looking for.
Robert Jones (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 17:39

I’ve added a page to the scotedublogs “Scots Edu Blogs Aggregation Project”: http://scotedublogs.wikispaces.com/SEB_a.. to discuss this stuff.
John Johnston (Email) (URL) - 12 12 06 - 17:51

I am currently working on a blogs area for the LTS site. In this area you will be able to find Scottish school blogs and Educationalists blogs from Scotland and abroad. We are currently collecting together a blog directory and developing an aggregator to display them. It is just a thought, and I don’t want to step on anyones toes, but if we could collaborate on this we could build the sort of thing the education community needs without duplicating effort.
I am not sure if the focus is on having an aggregator of Scottish education blogs, or having an aggregator of Scotedublogs? In any case I’m willing to help in any way I can.
Nova (Email) (URL) - 14 12 06 - 10:23

Hi Nova,
You probably should pop over to the wiki and join in.
My idea would be to have a database of Scottish Education blogs, tagged so that folk could extract the ones that they were most interested in easily. I’d like some sort of simple aggregator, personally I’d like a flat time sorted list of posts, rather than a bloglines type of interface. I am sure other folk will have different needs.
I don’t think you are stepping on anyones toes at but they may be some value in having both top down and bottom up approaches, or there might not be, worth discussing either way imo.
John Johnston (Email) (URL) - 14 12 06 - 20:41

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I am no longer, as of October 2008 working as a class teacher at Sandaig, so have moved this blog to another server. If you want to comment on this post, pleas search for it at: http://www.johnjohnston.info/blog.