Timestreams Plugin Admin Guide

v. 2.0.0-Alpha-0.3

The Guide

  1. Introduction

    • Purpose

    The purpose of this document is to describe how to install and maintain the Timestreams WordPress Plugin.

    • Intended audience

    This document is intended for administrators who want to add Timestreams to their WordPress installation. We presume administrators have previous experience maintaining WordPress installations and adding plugins to them.

    There are separate guides for using Timestreams, and for installing and setting up Timestreams on a plug computer. In addition, click here to learn about the Timestream API, which is also beyond the scope of this document.

    A note about terminology. The term “Timestream(s)” is used throughout this document referring to both the plugin name and the data manipulation model. It can sometimes be confusing but should be disambiguated. You have been warned 😉

    • Background and acknowledgements

    The Timestreams social data networking plugin leverages WordPress to allow artists to engage with live, modelled and captured data. It can be used to visualise, compare and perform data.

    The Relate Project is a collaboration between the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, artist company Active Ingredient, Dr Carlo Buontempo from the Met Office Hadley Centre, Brazilian curator Silvia Leal, staff in Computer Science, Psychology, Performance and New Media from Horizon (University of Nottingham and University of Exeter), and a number of communities in Brazil and the UK. The project is funded by RCUK.

    • License

      Timestreams is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

      Timestreams is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Affero General Public License for more details.

      Creative Commons License
      This documentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

    • Support, feedback and collaboration

      The Relate Project members are interested in your experience using the Timestreams plugin. Contact us if you require additional support or have feedback for us.

    • Document contents

      The remainder of this document describes installing and administering the Timestreams plugin within WordPress.

  2. Installing Timestreams

    Timestreams is a plugin for WordPress that lets users store, analyse and respond to data. The Timestreams plugin may be installed into any WordPress environment (3.x version) that you are able to install plugin on. The following subsections describe installing WordPress and Timestreams.


    WordPress can be installed once a webserver, Php and MySQL are present. Follow these instructions to install WordPress. At the time of writing it is advisable to avoid apt-get for WordPress as it provides the deprecated 2.7 version rather than a more modern 3.x version.

    • Multisite

      The default WordPress installation provides a single blog but it can be configured to support a network of blogs. This is called Multsite. The Timestreams plugin can be installed for use with single or multisite installations. Follow these instructions if you want to set up multisite WordPress.

    • Proxy Settings

      If your plug computer is behind a proxy you’ll need to add proxy settings to WordPress for it to work correctly. Add and configure the following to your WordPress wp-config.php file:
      define(‘WP_PROXY_HOST’, ‘xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx’);
      define(‘WP_PROXY_PORT’, ‘xxxx’);
      define(‘WP_PROXY_USERNAME’, ‘user_name’);
      define(‘WP_PROXY_PASSWORD’, ‘password’);
      define(‘WP_PROXY_BYPASS_HOSTS’, ‘localhost, www.example.com’);


    Timestreams may be installed once WordPress is running on the plug. To install the plugin:

    1. Download the Timestreams plugin from here.
    2. Activate the Timestreams plugin. If you are using Timestreams in all blogs for a WordPress multisite installation then you may wish to network activate it.
    3. Activate the Blogusers plugin. If you are using Timestreams in all blogs for a WordPress multisite installation then you may wish to network activate it.
    4. Configure settings in the WordPress admin left menu for settings > Timestreams.
  3. Administering Timestreams

    The Timestreams plugin should not require very much administrative effort. The following subsections describe rare activities that may require the help of someone with WordPress administration privileges.

    Measurement Container Maintenance

    Measurement Containers are data stores in Timestreams. These are created using the form within the plugin’s measurement container interface. Data can be uploaded to them through the Timestreams API. A deliberate design decision was taken to prevent measurement containers and their data from being altered or deleted, since Timestreams data is considered immutable. However, there are rare times when the measurement containers are unnecessary (such as when they are created for testing purposes) or filled with bad data (such as corrupt data transfers). The following procedure may be used to sanitise such measurement containers.

    To alter or delete a measurement container requires MySQL access for the WordPress database. Note, direct database manipulation is inherently dangerous, so you may wish to backup your data prior to any adjustments. Once logged in to the WordPress MySQL database do the following:

    1. Locate the offending table corresponding to the measurement container in the list of tables. To determine the correct table name to use go to the Timestreams plugin measurement container admin interface. The table names are listed along with the friendly names of the measurement containers.
    2. Alter the table according to your needs by either deleting data, modifying the values or deleting the table.
    3. Deleting the table is the first step to removing the measurement container. To complete the removal, remove the row of the wp_ts_metadata table where the table name is the same as the measurement container.

    Installing new visualisations

    As noted in the user guide adding visualisations requires the aid of an administrator with file access on the WordPress server. If a new visualisation is ready to be used, upload a folder named the same as the name of the visualisation to …/wp-content/plugins/timestreams/visualisations. The folder should contain a .js file named similar to the name of the visualisation and a file called viz.php. It may also contain additional files. Please note that these files are script files to be executed on the server. It is your responsibility to ensure that the code is not dangerous or malicious and that correct permissions are set on the files to execute appropriately.

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