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In Our Own Words

By Steph Skardal
February 2, 2011

What do our words say about us?

Recently, I came across Wordle, a Java-based Google App Engine application that generates word clouds from websites and raw text. I wrote a cute little rake task to grab text from our blog to plug into Wordle. The rake task grabs the blog contents, uses REXML for parsing, and then lowercases the results. The task also applies a bit of aliasing since we use postgres, postgreSQL and pg interchangeably in our blog.

task :wordle => :environment do
   data = open('http://blog.endpoint.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss&max-results=999', 'User-Agent' => 'Ruby-Wget').read
   doc = REXML::Document.new(data)
   text = ''
   doc.root.each_element('//item') do |item|
     text += item.elements['description'].text.gsub(/<\/?[^>]*>/, "") + ' '
     text += item.elements['title'].text.gsub(/<\/?[^>]*>/, "") + ' '
   text = text.downcase \
     .gsub(/\./, ' ')   \
     .gsub(/^\n/, '')   \
     .gsub(/ postgres /, ' postgresql ') \
     .gsub(/ pg /, ' postgresql ')
   file = File.new(ENV['filename'], "w")
   file.puts text

So, you tell me: Do you think we write like engineers? How well does this word cloud represent our skillset?

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