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Interesting Project... (8 posts)

  1. brentrv
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Hey guys and gals, I'm a long time listener, first time caller. Just published an interesting project to http://www.plogress.com It consists of a seperate blog for each US senator and state representative, that right now just lists bills that he or she is sponsor of or cosponsor (I hope to add votes and committee activities later).
    I use perl scripts (I know, php would have been more consistent, but I had the pieces already written) to gather the data and update each blog. Each blog has its own install, and they all share the same database, with common user and categories tables. Looking back, I probably could have had all of the blogs share most of the files, and just had an unique index.php and wp-config.php for each blog. With a little more work, I could have had them all share the same tables, but the current setup seems to work pretty well. The only pain in the butt part is if I have to change a file (like upgrading the wp-blog-header.php file), I have to make over 500 changes. I do this with via ftp and a perl script also.
    Anyway, thought I'd share this with you guys, if you have any questions or comments, I would welcome them!

  2. skippy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Very neat project indeed!

    Seperate installs for each senator and representative seems a bit extreme. I wonder if you could whittle it down to a single install using categories and sub-categories?

  3. Denis de Bernardy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Just curious: Do you get the data from a web service or an rss feed somewhere, or do you enter it yourself?

  4. brentrv
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    skippy: I hadn't thought of using categories to break it down. (I'm not changing it now, but if anyone else is considering something on this scale, it would be worth think about) One thought was with seperate installs, it would be easier to distribute the load (in case both of my visitors hit it at the same time!) The whole thing (with database) is almost 1G!

    Denis-de-Bernardy: I scrape the data from the library of congress. (http://thomas.loc.gov/) I'll note that in my next batch of updates.

  5. brainwidth
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Looks great! Linked on metafilter.

  6. skippy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    brentrv: in theory (famous last words!) it shouldn't be too hard tro consolidate this. Export all the individual databases, then re-import them into specific categories. Of course, I've no idea what the automated back-end looks like, so maybe actually posting to sub-categories would be substantially harder.

    A feature request: provide a link in your posts to the LOC items.

  7. brainwidth
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Another feature request: add data for each politician on campaign contributions.

  8. brentrv
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Thanks for the plug brainwidth, and I like the campaign contributions idea too. I checked the link you provided, and from there was able to find the data on the fec.gov site. From what I can tell, it's not very dynamic (nothing listed for this year) but I'll keep snooping around.

    skippy: The worst thing about the way I've done it, is doing administration. I like the potential to customize each politician's blog (theme, links, etc) that I don't think I would get from using categories. What I may do is add a field to the tables to hold a blog id, and change all the queries to use that, so I would at least have a single database. Of course, I say this without having searched the code to see what kind of work I'm talking about! I'm off to do that now...(Oh, I grab the urls for the LOC pages so you can read the text of the bill, I just haven't added it into the content yet!)

    -Thanks again for your feedback

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