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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: