Widget Wednesdays episode 3: Food

One of the first widgets created for the Student Portal was the Food widget. As you can see below, it shows users upcoming menu items for Food Services eateries on campus.

Student portal food services widget

Additionally, users can click on many of the menu items and see nutritional details to help them make informed and healthy choices.

Student portal food services widget nutrition facts

The reason this widget was one of the first to use live data is that the data was already available on the campus Open Data API. When the WCMS team transitioned the Food Services website to Drupal, instead of pulling data directly from their database to populate their weekly menu page, they posted the data to the Open Data API and pulled from there. 

This way the data was available to other developers on campus as well.

Since then, students have developed at least two apps that use this data, WatFood and UW Menu

Harvesting food data has been a community initiative. We have seen some interest to collect all the operating hours of the various food locations beyond Food Services such as C&D locations.

What we have so far represents just a small portion of the grain silo of potential utility. 

For example, what if you could seamlessly find an eatery that...

  • is conveniently located between your next two appointments?
  • fits within your budget?
  • satisfies a late-night or early-morning craving?
  • matches your dietary needs?
  • has chicken on the menu today?

Moving forward, we'll be developing tools to help you answer such questions on a priority basis. Do you have questions that you'd like the portal to help you answer related to food? We'd love to hear about it!

Of course... if you have a great idea, don't hesitate to prototype it and show us.

Thank you to our portal team for this week’s guest post.

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