Breathing New Life into OrientedX3

If you go take a look at Orientedx3, you’ll see I’ve been performing some much needed CPR on it. It’s definitely a work in progress, as there is much to be done as far as the style and substance are concerned. But I thought it would be great if all of you out there could tell me what you think about it. My aim is to build a site that is actually useful to people. I’m going to be blogging about it all this week at PixelRN and so feel free to chime in on the discussion. Love it? Hate it? Completely indifferent? I welcome any and all feedback.

First let me tell you about my original vision:

In early 2007 I had the idea to start working on a website/blog that would serve as an aggregator for all things on the web that were related to nursing. I knew this could be done in an automated way through RSS feeds and PHP, but I just didn’t know how to do it. So instead I decided to launch OrientedX3 as a WordPress blog, and just update it manually. This proved to be a lot of work, and then two things happened which completely sidetracked me:

1. Benjamin came along
2. NursingLink hired me as general manager.

I’ve since left NursingLink behind, but fortunately Ben is here to stay. About six weeks ago I started working less and staying at home more, and I decided I wanted to finish what I had started. In the process I came across two other sites that were doing something similar to what I had in mind: Popurls and Alltop. If they could do it, so could I. I was immediately inspired to pick up where I left off.

In the past year I’ve learned a little bit of PHP. Well, enough really to get me into trouble. Certainly not enough to build my own RSS agregator from scratch. But then I found an awesome WordPress plugin called Simple Pie, and I was off and running.

And voila! Here it is. So what do you think?

One thing I have been wondering specifically is: Do you think a site like this could be useful?

One may ask, how is this different from using Bloglines or Google Reader to keep track of blogs and news stories?

I don’t know. I just like the idea of everything related to nursing on the same page. I like to think that this page would be a great answer to the question, “How do nurses use the Internet?” Unfortunately, sometimes I wonder if anyone is really asking this question.

Some drawbacks…

Not all nursing websites are savvy to the concept of RSS feeds, and therefore, I can’t include them on this page. For instance, I enjoy reading what the Center for Nursing Advocacy has to say. I don’t always agree with them, but I like the fact that they are doing something interesting. But there are no RSS feeds to be found on their site. Same with the ANA. Not a single use of RSS. I think this is going to change eventually. The vast majority of people’s eyes glaze over when I mention RSS but I think that feed technology is here to stay. It’s just going to take a little longer to catch on.

I’d also like to have a bigger section that tracks what nurses are saying on forums, but the big ones, Allnurses and NursingLink don’t use feeds for their forums. As you can see I’ve included NursingVoices, and Nursing Informatics Online.

Tomorrow: I’ll explain my fascination with Twitter, and why I chose to include it on OrientedX3.