In the vein of last February’s WordPress Dissection where I detailed the ripping apart and patching together of a WP template, here’s another bit if funny business I recently did in my favorite technology tool.
More or less, I have a main WP site, with a nested second complete WP site sitting inside of it, yet they are themed and connected to each other in away to make them work as one.
For the last two years, I have been running the NMC Campus Observer, a site that documents the projects and events of the NMC’s activity in Second Life. The design of this site is a blow apart of one of the more basic templates, Blix, as described back in May 2006 as WordPress Theme Philosophy.
In 2006 there was not a great deal of things happening in education, and I spent a lot of time and energy writing, researching, interviewing, setting up events. The nice thing about the continued interest among educators is that there are many more events and things going on that would be if interest to them. And I am seeing less of a need for me to be writing about them all; over the years I did recruit some guest writers, but most volunteers waned after a few posts.
Lets put it this way- I just peeked at the users page of the dashboard, and I have 350 posts credited to me; the next person after that has 18.
I’m tired of blogging there.
But the ideal thing has happened, with the expansion of NMC owned property in SL and many of it leased to other educators, they are now more frequently running their own events. I’ve been interesting in finding ways for them to announce/post their events; using a shared Google Calender was not all that successful. I was looking for a tool that people in the NMC sl community could use to post their events and would generate an RSS feed we could display on other web sites, or in SL using some of the RSS display systems that are out there.
A blog software is ideal for generating the feeds, IMHO. But I dont want to give access to the main blog site. So that’s when a tiny light bulb lit up- what if I set up a second WP inside a subdirectory of the primary site? this way, it could have a different set of users, and they could only edit their own calendar posts.
I themed it using the same template, it it even draws random banner images from the same directory the main site uses. The top navigation needed to be hard coded to link to the same sites as the main one. So while the main WP powered site is at http://sl.nmc.org/ there is an entire second WP install in
/calendar so this site, the NMC Campus Community Events Calendar, is accessed via
I simplified the right sidebar and had to hard code the top green links since they are not generate by pages in the new blog. The other subtle thing I did was to create two custom fields; one contains the slurl for the event location, and the second one is a date/time in Pacific Time (aka linden Time) for the event.
Then in my templates, it uses the custom fields to display the SLURL as a hyperlink and convert the time to a nicer display format and also link it back to a World Time clock to provide local times for an event. See the authoring guide I provide for our calendar blog users.
I had all of this working a few weeks back, but there was a major missing piece. If people posted their events in the interior blog, how would the info get widely shared? it’s buried. I did not want to copy the post and paste it in as a new entry. I could embed an RSS feed in a sidebar of the main blog.
And then I had a Jim Groom lightning idea flash — use one of those plug-ins he raves about to post form one blog to another. It was easy to find on of Jim’s favorite plugins — WP-o-matic, a tool that regularly checks an RSS feed for new content, and if found, it inserts it as republished content.
So now the main Campus Observer blog has WP-o-matic installed, and if it finds a new feed from the Campus Community Events blog, it posts anew entry to the main site. I have it configured so the title published in the main site links to the full entry in the Calendar site.
Blog in a blog– I cannot vouch that anyone else might need to set up something like this, and likely there is some other way I could have rigged it in one blog, but hey, I was curious if this would work, and so far it looks good.