Snowpocalypse! DC Metro closed! Plainclothes cop pulls a gun out at a snowball fight! There was a lot of news to keep track of over the weekend. During the record breaking snowstorm, some people went out to build snowmen, others took walks around the Mall, and a few may have braved the elements in order to show off their best gear at an ugly sweater party. I sat inside hacking on Managing News, and then built this dashboard feature help me to stay on top of it all.
Managing News has a lot of great features out of the box for people trying to stay on top of the firehose of information that the internet makes available. But my favorite part isn’t the features that it comes with — it’s how easy it is to build extra features on top of it. Alex, Young, and the rest of my teammates at Development Seed have done a fantastic job making the system flexible and pluggable enough that it can be quickly customized to meet the needs of a variety of other user stories.
Case in point — I wanted one place on the site where I could quickly get a sense of what was going on with all the various pieces of this story. I had already created channels for emergency alerts, forecasts, imagery (like this one of the storm from space), and the bizzare story of the cop who pulled out a handgun at a snowball fight . Once I realized that I wanted to be able to see the trend-graphs of each of these channels in one place, I decided that a news map along with a dozen of the newest items coming in off the feeds would help me get a good overall picture of the situation. Lastly, I wanted to display a paragraph or so of text about my snowmageddon tracker somewhere on the front page so people visiting the site could get a sense of what it was I was up to.
Thanks to the architecture of Managing News, I was able to easily build this in a way that this feature could be shared with others. So feel free to download it from code.developmentseed.org, or better yet make your own custom feature that works exactly with your workflow to meet your needs.