Forem Creators and Builders

John Egan
John Egan

Posted on • Updated on

Multi purpose aggregation feature for Forem. Help!

We need a new "universally useful" feature for our https://aechive.net Forem instance, but we need development resources to make it a reality.

The "feature" is a general information aggregation type of page that shares characteristics with the podcast page, and can be reused for the following aggregation purposes:

1) Video Channels - User can add their channel, page pulls new video content from channels on Youtube, Vimeo etc., displays to user.
2) Blog Channel Aggregation - User can add their blog, page pulls new blog updates from different sources, displays to user.
3) Technology Directory Aggregation - User can add their technology product listing, page displays to user.

For context, we envision the new pages to be made available on the home page, just like the other pages:
Screenshot 2021-06-08 at 14.01.16

These will follow a similar format to the current “Podcast” page functionality, which includes:

  • Left-hand side Channels Listing
  • “Suggest a Channel” function, for community to add further channels
  • RSS feed of latest postings from listed channels
  • Indexing of authors & topics to support the “search” function

Screenshot 2021-06-08 at 14.03.35

A user can click on a channels listing in the left-hand side navigation, the page will go to the listing of that channels only (ie similar to the podcast functionality)

Screenshot 2021-06-08 at 14.04.10

Each Page has a “Suggest a Channel” function, similar to the podcast page, which will allow the community to add to the listing. It will launch a form to capture relevant information, including the RSS feed URL to add a listing.

Screenshot 2021-06-08 at 14.04.58

Here is a list of example data sources that we would like to be added:

Videos:

aecHive https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZWENH2labx_hRken5A3AMw
The B1M https://www.youtube.com/c/Theb1mGoogle/featured
CITA https://www.youtube.com/c/Theb1mGoogle/featured

Technology Directories:

Aectech plus https://www.aecplustech.com/
Aec works https://aec.works/companies?sort=updated

Blogs:

AEC Business https://aec-business.com/
Hugh Seaton https://hughseaton.com/blog/

  • Can you help? Comment to let us know, please!

Discussion (2)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

You have some cool ideas here!

1. Video Channels

Perhaps as we refresh how videos work on Forem we should consider modeling them after our podcast section as you mentioned. I definitely have some major improvements in mind for Podcasts, but think I understand that the directory aspect of this page is what's most appealing. I know that we want to add improve a video feature (pretty sure this exists, but has just been put on pause), it's just a matter of time.

2. Blog Aggregation

As for Blog Channel aggregation, do you see this simply as a directory that includes all user's blogs? Or do you think that a user should be able to input any (multiple) blog(s) into this directory?

I'm a little on the fence about this one because I feel like we would prefer for people to post on Forem and not just link out elsewhere. Perhaps we should just let people link to their blog from their profile?

3. Technology Directory Aggregation

I think this is pretty cool. I'm not entirely sure how it would play out. Would there be categories involved? Would the technologies fall under a user's name? Would it be a list of technologies along the lefthand side that folks could click into?

Suggested Solution for the Time Being

I was recently working with the folks at the Web Monetization Community who suggested something similar — they wanted a page that they could use as a library for various assets (video, podcasts, whitepapers, etc.)

We did a bit of prototyping in /admin/customization/pages and created this template using a bit of HTML. The problem was that the template was a bit difficult to update and the page could easily get cluttered if there were loads of assets. In the end we embedded an airtable like this which allows users to filter/sort/search items.

I know @ellativity already mentioned airtable, but just wanted to give you an example of what this might be like. ☝️

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ellativity profile image
Ella Ang (she/her/elle)

Hey @_johnegan , thanks for sharing these detailed notes here. I'm keen to hear from some other Forem creators in this community:

  • would these be useful features for other Forems?
  • are there ways we could envision this being a more generic type of tooling/page format (perhaps instead of bundling Podcasts into the starter Forem build, we instead provide this as another content format which can be shared in the Navigation Links like Pages)?

I would love to collect some ideas on how we can use this idea as a jumping off point to create tools that serve the many-and-growing Forems.

Meanwhile, if you're pressed to get this feature rolling, I would personally set up Pages with embedded Airtables. But I'm a hack, and somewhat impatient, so ymmv