Last Friday, John Stewart, one of my team members on the CTE Digital Learning team, wrote a post which chronicled the “release” of his first WordPress plugin. The plugin ties together an instance of WordPress BadgeOS and Slack, a tool that we use frequently for internal communication.
I’ve written a little bit previously about digital badges in higher education (update: still trying to understand them…) but the best way for us to try to understand it has been to use ourselves as a badge test bed. In short, we give each other badges almost ironically for engaging in an activity we all support.
On a larger, more universal scale though, I proved (for myself at least) that someone with old, rusty programming skills and a vague mission could write useful code by forking already existing projects.
What’s awesome about this from a historical perspective is that John actually registered his domain (johnastewart.org) the very first day we opened create.ou.edu. We were lucky enough to convince a few grad students and faculty to be our guinea pigs while Jim Groom and Tim Owens from Reclaim Hosting who were on campus helping us get the OU Create system up and running. Fast forward 13 months later, and the guy is one Iron Man suit away being named the Tony Stark of WordPress Skillz.
Yes, domains can be practical tools in which we can leverage to think about digital identity. They can also be tools in which we can use for development purposes to think about how we can connect the digital world around us in the fashion in which is best suited for us through language. John has created the language in which WordPress talks to Slack. How cool is that?!
What’s as equally awesome is that this gave us a reason to put up a repo in our very first Github organization. John built the plugin by forking a bbPress to Slack plugin and changing out the parts to get BadgeOS to Slack. It seemed fitting to also share his version of the plugin on our organization page, which can either be forked or downloaded as a zip file. John, this Github drinks for you!