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Coding Thread, Can you create a real time word cloud?? in Coding and Web Development; ...
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    marsdenprimary's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Can you create a real time word cloud??

    Hello!

    I work in a Primary School here in the UK and I am looking for some help with something. As part of our creative ethos we are looking for some way of creating a real time, dynamic ‘ideas’ cloud that our staff can add to at any time. So for example if a staff member has an idea, they can log on to our website, type the idea(s) into a simple box with a send button and it updates a visual cloud in real time which we will have presented on our staffroom LCD screen…

    Of course over time the words will slowly change colour, get bigger or smaller or even disappear depending on how many people suggest that idea.

    It sounds like a feat of programming but I am convinced it is possible. Is this something you could help us with?

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Find a tag cloud script which will generate the cloud from word on a pages. Then have a submission form that writes the words to a page, and then set the script output page (where the words are displayed) to automatically refresh every XYZ minutes.

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    marsdenprimary (7th May 2010)

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    marsdenprimary's Avatar
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    That sounds like a good idea...! How do I do that then? :P We have our school website hosted by an external company so do you think that will affect it?

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Many of the word cloud scripts work from an RSS feed, so you could set up a simple blog which they add their thoughts to, and the RSS feed of that blog is used to generate your display.

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    marsdenprimary (7th May 2010)

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    marsdenprimary's Avatar
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    So am I right in thinking that if i find a word cloud and embed the code into a page that refreshes everytime a new 'idea' is added to the blog- it will change? This is basically what I would like to happen.

    Any coders out there who could help?? Would be an exciting project!

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsdenprimary View Post
    So for example if a staff member has an idea, they can log on to our website, type the idea(s) into a simple box with a send button and it updates a visual cloud in real time which we will have presented on our staffroom LCD screen… Of course over time the words will slowly change colour, get bigger or smaller or even disappear depending on how many people suggest that idea.
    What, exactly, do you want the word cloud to show - words from the ideas themselves or some keyword that each user types in to associate with their idea? What do you do with the word cloud, other than look at it - do you have links from the word in the cloud to all the ideas that contain that keyword? Do you limit the size of each idea, say to a Twitter-style limited number of characters? Do you want people to be able to log in to post ideas from outside the school (i.e. from computers at home)? Could you accept ideas via email rather than a posting page? What facilities does your existing web host offer?

    --
    David Hicks

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    marsdenprimary's Avatar
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    @dhicks: Thanks for your query...i'll be as specific as I can!

    1- Words from the ideas themselves would be preferable, removing common keywords.
    2- Links from the word to the ideas associated with that word would be an amazing idea- I like that a lot.
    3- Twitter-style limitation also makes sense. Limited to 100 characters would be enough.
    4- Logging in from outside school would be good as a lot of ideas are devised from outside the workplace. If it was flexible like that it would give people more opportunity.
    5- I'm not sure if ideas via email would fit in to the character-limitation idea.
    6- Our current web host does offer a number of things but i'm not too sure if they allow CGI, PHP etc... I'm sure they could make an exception for us. As far as embedding content goes though they seem pretty flexible.

    Have you got the knowledge David? It sounds to me like you're coming up with a cunning plan...

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsdenprimary View Post
    Links from the word to the ideas associated with that word would be an amazing idea- I like that a lot.
    You could maybe make a pop-up appear when you hover the mouse over a peice of text?

    Logging in from outside school would be good as a lot of ideas are devised from outside the workplace.
    Therefore you would need something hosted somewhere you could get at it from outside teh school - probably your existing web host. How do you handle having people log in using their existing details - does your web server have access to you Domain Cobntroller or similar, or do you use a VLE of some kind with its own logins?

    I'm not sure if ideas via email would fit in to the character-limitation idea.
    Good point.

    As far as embedding content goes though they seem pretty flexible.
    Embedding what content in where? You could host your script on a second external host of some sort and link to the generated list of words from your existing homepage, I suppose.

    [/QUOTE]

    Would WallWisher meet your needs?:

    http://www.wallwisher.com

    Otherwise, what you describe above doesn't sound difficult to put together - just a submit form of some sort that writes a file or database of ideas and produces a page with assorted-sized text on it.

    --
    David Hicks

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    marsdenprimary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post

    Would WallWisher meet your needs?:

    Wallwisher.com :: Words that stick

    Otherwise, what you describe above doesn't sound difficult to put together - just a submit form of some sort that writes a file or database of ideas and produces a page with assorted-sized text on it.

    --
    David Hicks
    I'm just having a look at Wallwisher now. It looks good but I fear there would be too many long posts on there. I think keywords can be exciting and more inspiring and of course the bigger the keyword the more popular the idea. I'll give this Wallwisher a whirl but do you think you may be able to code something? Or know someone who could?

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marsdenprimary View Post
    do you think you may be able to code something?
    Theoretically yes, it's easy enough to do, but I'll need to know more about where you intend to run it. Can you run scripts or code of some sort on your web host? How do you authenticate against whatever system you use for authentication? Do you have a VLE, would such a system be better created as a plugin for your VLE?

    --
    David Hicks

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    marsdenprimary (11th May 2010)

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    marsdenprimary's Avatar
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    We have a VLE so if a plugin could be made that would be fantastic. Our VLE is hosted by an external company though so i'm not sure how extendable it is. I'll get in touch with them and see what they can come up with.

    Thanks for your help thus far!

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