In our case, we cared about 5 things:
1. What is the weather forecast?
2. When does the next subway train depart from the station around the corner?
3. How far away are certain busses from the stop around the corner?
4. What is the latest price of Bitcoin?
5. How many CitiBikes (New York Bike Share program) are available at the bike stand around the corner?
You can choose to display whatever you care about on your ticker. The only requirement is that you can get that data programmatically somehow. For each of the items above we wrote a data gathering script.
Writing the data gathering scripts:
1. Identify a data source / API.
2. Make a request to that data source.
3. Parse and extract the part you care about
4. Write it to specific, hard coded location on the server. The consolidator script will read from this location.
The image above shows a sample php script that grabs bitcoin price data.