cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Stéfan

I’ve been doing some tinkering over at the ds106 Daily Create site, whose very presence and essence still shines from the approach Tim Owens did when he assembled it in early 2012.

The first major new thing is the addition, under a new “Explore” menu at the top, of archives of past daily creates, organized by type – all past Photography, Drawing, Audio, and Video TDCs.

This normally would be trivial, since they are merely WordPress categories, but took some poking around with a flashlight and probe because of the construct of the Parallelus Salutation theme we use (maily because we had to alter it to display only 1 post at a time). I was able to make a new template-category.php to control the new layout, and there are some things in there to make it not act like a normal category loop. It’s not even worth explaining since it was rather arcane.

The idea here is to make it easier to browse for past assignments, especially as I consider (see below) some new ways to use the TDC archives.

I added this a few clicks back, but if you just want to get a random challenge, we have that built in for you too. There is nothing wrong about doing a previous TDC, it lives on.

Appearance settings have been tweaked to make the text a little bigger and also (something that always bugged me) was that it was impossible to use a mouse to copy the text of a daily create (this has to do with the custom fonts we previously used, I switched it to a built in Trebuchet MS font). And yes, Ben Rimes, I hear you about the “darkness” of the theme; I may try the lighter skin.

There are some updates to instructions on the front page, the FAQ, and the suggestion form as well. And a few photos to spice up the text.

Okay, these are kind of cosmetic (though figuring at the PHP jujitsu for the category pages was a fun challenge). The bigger ideas I hope to take on next are:

Adding a Writing Category. We see value in written daily challenges and I am keen to have this in the mix. The stop was that the site is built around using third party hosting sites (flickr, YoutTube, and SoundCloud) that provide a way for people to post media, and tag them, and also provide widgets we can use to display it on our site. WHat is the equivalent of that for text?

Well there is none. Or we have not found it.

The three ideas to make this happen I am juggling are:

  • Have people provide their responses as post comments. This is the easiest, as it would take no work, the functionality is built in. But it does kind of get in the way of commenting if that should ever happen. This is my fail safe.
  • Create an editable Google Doc for each challenge (Karen Fasinpour’s idea). This is doable, and allows for a variety of formatted responses. It would require the manual set up of docs, and offers maybe potential issue of work being overwritten.
  • Develop a custom post type and web form to submit. This is my preference now as we have the pieces in place, Gravity forms for submissions. It would make all of the content sit inside wordpress in one organized place

Another idea (and actually part of the impetus for setting up category views) is related to a discussion I’ve had with colleagues about whether we should build a “Kids” version of the Daily Create. At this time I am no inclined to make a copy site, that the site has everything we need; the use of the TDC ought to happen with the way we can enable people to build things off of it.

This also is parallel to some ideas I am fermenting (that is how my brain works) on a tool so people can build their own syllabus out of all fo the ds106 artifacts and assignment we have created ove the last few years. I envision a “ds106 builder” site that would be more or less a buffet of this material that could be collated into a savable resource.

So I am thinking in the same way of a “builder” tool for the Daily Create. Let’s say you could get some giant menu, and pick the TDCs you want to use, maybe have an option to customize or paraphrase the instructions, add an intro, and have that published. This way, you could build your own activities around the TDCs.

That one needs to bubble a while. If you have any yeast for my brain, well, you know how to funnel it to me.

And I have more cleanup to do elsewhere (like around this dog house) …

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Ro / wererabbit

If this kind of stuff has any value, please support me monthly on Patreon or a one time PayPal kibble toss
Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I’m thinking the ability to leave comments directly on the Writing Assignment posts would be killer (if there were a way to not fudge things up for future postings with potential for comments). There are also various plugins that allow for image, video, and other media in comments, but I’m not sure they’re quite as elegant as what The Daily Create has going on right now.

    As for the kids create, I understand the inclination to stay away from duplicating the entire site (which muse be terribly complex on the back-end by now), especially since I see fruits of our discussions starting to bud in these revisions you’re making. I’m just glad you’ve got the energy to keep thinking & tinkering on this project.

    1. If I understand correctly, you want to be able to attach comments to the writing people do? That is part of what we can do with custom post types.

      I am inclined to make these text only, a mixed media type of writing is interesting, but makes the challenges a bit more complex that I think they should be (this is the kind of add-on people should do to say, combine two TDCs… hmmm. remixing up TDCs….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *