Peter Cooper : UK Web 2.0 and Ruby on Rails consultant
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News dashboards

I'm looking into playing with the concept of 'dashboards'. In one sense, a dashboard is basically a place/thing/piece of software that lets you monitor the activity in a defined area in the blink of an eye. For example, a car dashboard lets you see the speed of the car, how far the car has gone, how hard you're driving the car, the amount of fuel left, and often a lot more (air and engine temperature, fuel efficiency, tire pressures).

I feel that online dashboards will become a big thing. Some people already use sites like Google News as their "news dashboard." I guess I use my RSS aggregator for this purpose. As soon as someone links to, I know about it due to my Technorati RSS watchlist. As soon as there's a new story on Slashdot, I know about it. When David blogs, I'm there. And so on.

This is all well and good, but I think there's an opening for a larger scale "dashboard" in a number of niche areas. Imagine a Web based finance dashboard. It'd have the top indicies, a number of key shares, the top 10 latest stories from the wires (with the ability to search through more), the latest posts from the blogosphere about certain companies and shares, and so on. As soon as you see a few negative blog posts about Google, you can find out what new bombshell they've just dropped and act accordingly.

So I'm working on news dashboards. I haven't got very far, but I've thrown together a really scrappy implementation of a RubyOnRails news dashboard. (It uses RSS Digest and PHP to throw multiple digests together) It's nothing like what I want eventually, but several Rails coders are using it already and it proves the concept has some worth.

March 12, 2005 | Posted by peter | Comments (1)

I just saw your RubyOnRails Dashboard and I like the concept and how it looks.

I'm interested in creating some of these. Would you like to offer any hints on how you decided which feeds to use?

I already understand the concept and know how to add the headlines using either your RSS Digest or code I've written for syndicating feeds on my site. I'm just not as up to speed as you seem to be on finding great sources of news to add to the dashboard.

I'll be interested to see how your dashboards evolve.

All the best,


Posted by: John Dilbeck at March 18, 2005 09:07 AM

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