Intro: Instructables 'Ego-Ticker'
This is one of the sillier and way overworked ideas that I have had. It has gotten way out of control for the simple job that I set out to achieve.
To have my Instructables statistics scrolling on a message board that I had lying around waiting for a good use.
I thought that it would be a fun little project.
But read on, and you will see, I took it much further than it needed to go, and have create a myriad of problems and hurdles for myself along the way.
Originally I went searching for an rss feed that contained my data. Many websites have an url based API that will allow for nifty interaction and fetching data quickly. This simplifies fetching data and lets developers concentrate on clever ways to use the data or interactivity that is enabled.
Instructables has very little. (but I hear that is changing soon). Aside from a couple of feeds for different categories, there just isn't much there to grab.
Not really a problem, I just did the same as other members have before me.
I started with a simple little python script. It called up my page, parsed the html therein for my stats and then returned them. From there I used pyserial to get the data to the sign. It was fine. It was simple. It worked well enough.
I was pleased with myself, my function was cleverly written to require a user name. I could use it on any member. Then I had an idea. I'll create an rss feed for myself! Brilliant!
So I got to work. First I needed a name. Irssistible came to mind and I liked it so I went with that. (that and it wasn't taken). I thought it was clever. rss ible.
Next it needed some character. So I came up with a robot based very much on the mascot of the site that I have come to love so much.
Then I started writing code. (I am still trying to get it working properly, partially because I keep trying to make it do more)
Currently the site will produce a usable rss with stats for each member. I have gotten silly playing with googles chart API (simple useable calls) The pie chart on a member result page will lead to a break down of individual ibles. the curretly tracking link on the front page will bring up the scoreboard. (I was thinking that I could facilitate the very popular 'Total Views' count run by Jayefuu, but I think he has it covered now.)
Using it is as easy as putting in your Instructables member name. Usually. there are still a bunch of bugs to address. But if you are lucky, you should be able to get a permanent link to your rss feed, then you can take that data and do something creative. there are a bunch of things that might be neat. I was thinking that once I have enough collected data, aside from some real analytics, I could maybe generate a picture or some music or something from it. We'll see. Instructables site has been changing so much that it has been hard to keep up.
Since I began this little diversion, I have encountered many more problems than it has been worth. Web dev is no simple thing (I think for a moment I was feeling cocky) There are a lot of little things to consider.
I encourage you to go and check it out before it is too late.I think Instructables will probably have a real API in place in the near future. Hope they make stats available.
There are some neat ideas here I think, maybe some things that the Instructables team could consider incorporating, maybe not.
Useless? not entirely.
More trouble than it is worth, sort of. (although my sign is pretty pimp)
Useless (by the time it is complete)....probably.
Chindogu? I think so.