Today I cleaned my desk of paper piles, revamped the “todo” list that overflows from my whiteboard, and finished up a little experiment I had started on our ePortfolio site.

Audree Thurman, the clever programmer of this nifty system, had developed a nifty approach for RSS feeds. There is a web page version (human readable) for changes among all the portfolios, there is the geeky, orange icon labeled RSS version, and you can also sign up to get notifications by email when a specific eportfolio has changed (e.g. so a teacher can monitor a number of student eports). See the details under her posted “enhancements” summary.

Anyhow, I had plotted to put the RSS feed on the front page, and forgot about actually doing it. So I was able to rather quickly use the Feed2JS version that generates the content via a PHP include. I will likely end up making this a cron (timed) job that runs it every 15 minnutes, so the include is just a static file.

But I was also interested in creating part that would pick a published eportfolio and random and insert a link on any page I needed. I wrote Audree this morning and asked if she could write a script that would update a text file with a tab delimited format for each eportfolio’s Owner name, their college, and its URL. With this, I can easily have a PHP include that sucks the data into an array, counts’ em, and picks one at random. She wrote back in about 15 minutes and said it was done.

So now, the new and improved Maricopa eP site has both of these dynamic features:

We are expecting this site to bust out of the seams as our Ocotillo ePortfolio Action Group ramps up this year. There ought to be much better ePortfolios than that one by Biff Cantrell.

The post "RSS Feeds for Maricopa ePortfolio" was originally thawed from a previous ice age and melted at CogDogBlog ( on August 24, 2004.

I cannot remember why I started down this MT template path, but it was a fun journey. Somehow I stumbled into Phil Ringnalda’s explanation on how to create RSS feeds for individual entries and comments.

This seemed interesting- often when you write a comment to someone else’s blog, there is no way to follow a discussion unless you remember to return to the comment (some blogs have email notifiers). Comments end up being tossed like darts with no followup.

I began addressing this on CDB by including a link to the RSS feed for all comments from this blog. Not good enough.

With a bit of wrangling and quite a bit of modifications from Phil’s original template, I got it going. Every individual entry on this blog has its own RSS feed that includes as items:

  • The entry “excerpt” (a short summary. Phil’s script stuck the entire entry in there, but with a link it seemed to be overkill.
  • Next are items for all comments posted to that entry. Links for these point to named anchors already in the individual entries.
  • Finally are items for all trackback pings recorded for the entry.

For example, this recent entry is nice because it has 2 comments and 2 Trackback pings:

it has its own individual RSS feed with just the comments and pings from the entry:

Unfortunately, I am now tired and perhaps unable to explain the magic…

The post "RSS Feeds for Comments/Trackbacks Per Blog Post" was originally yanked out of the teeth of a rabid chicken at CogDogBlog ( on August 18, 2004.

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