October 21, 2008
In a couple of separate recent posts about web music services, I noted that I like Lala, and that the Grooveshark widget uses the Clearspring platform to work on the widget-wary WordPress.com.
Well, it turns out that Lala has a widget that uses Clearspring, including the still-not-documented clearspring_widget shortcode. Here’s a playlist with the first few tracks I added to my Lala collection.
October 16, 2008
The previous post provides an example of a Grooveshark music widget on this WordPress.com blog. It also notes that Clearspring’s widget platform is involved. How do I know that? Because the code generated by Grooveshark for WordPress.com includes the shortcode: clearspring_widget.
The existence of the clearspring_widget shortcode was news to me. It might also be news to whoever maintains the FAQ: What are the WordPress shortcodes?
If you’re interested enough in WordPress.com to have read this far, you’ll probably agree with me that this is news of the big and good variety. You might even forgive me for pointing out that Automattic seem to have taken the advice I offered Automattic 11 months ago: Make a wide variety of widgets available. Partnering with a trusted “widget broker” might be the best way to do this.
Having said that, I can’t claim to be breaking this news, given a post two months ago by Justin of Clearspring: when you post an ad-free Clearspring widget to a WordPress.com blog it will now show the entire widget inside of a blog post. But I didn’t see Justin’s post until I went looking for it this evening.
I certainly didn’t see the Clearspring shortcode mentioned over at WordPress.com, and I can’t find any reference to it in the official blog, in the FAQ, or in the forums. Guess I’ll mention it in the forums myself now.
By the way, other interesting Clearspring reading includes: their White Paper: What’s a Widget and Why is it Important? and the Wikipedia entry on Clearspring (which is where I found the logo at the top of this post).
October 16, 2008
Grooveshark is the easiest way to discover, share, and listen to music online. That’s according to… Grooveshark. If you’d prefer an opinion from a different source, you might go to Mashable, where Leslie Poston tells of her two-year relationship with Grooveshark, and of her favorable first impression of its new way to add customizable music widgets to your blog, Web page, or social networking site.
Anyway, as an example of a Grooveshark music widget at WordPress.com, here’s Nick Drake, doing “Time Has Told Me,” with Richard Thompson on electric guitar. At least, I hope it is. There has been some widgety weirdness during the writing of this post.
January 29, 2008
Several of the major web 2.0 (I know, that term is so last year… or was it the year before?) blogs have someone at DEMO, where they… attend lots of demos, and blog about them. One demo that seems particularly blog-worthy was the launch of Sprout.
SproutBuilder is going to explode the world of widgets on the web. This is far and away my favorite product I’ve seen at DEMO, not just this year but ever in the three years I’ve attended.
I’ve just signed up for the beta of SproutBuilder (invites are, or were, available from the three blogs linked to from the quote above). I did build a sprout, that is, a multimedia widget. I won’t inflict it on you. One reason is that it’s a rather sorry and bedraggled sprout right now.
Another is that my attempt to plant my sprout here at WordPress.com failed. I didn’t expect to be able to plant it here, but one of the Publish options offered by Sprout was WordPress, which seemed to mean WordPress.com. And indeed, the sprout did get sent here, to be wrapped up in a draft post. But the “interesting” code was stripped out. In other words, it met the fate of most widgets at WordPress.com.
I intend to cultivate a sprout or two, post them elsewhere, and link to them from here.
November 27, 2007
There’s an enthustiastic article in USA Today about widgets. It concludes with a quote from Adam Rifkin: “There’s no limit to what widgets can do.” Joe Wickert, in linking to the article, states that “widgets are the future.”
There are a few specific widgets to which WordPress.com allows access. For example, I’ve embedded media from Youtube, Sonific, and other services on this blog. I specify the service and the URI (e.g., Youtube and the URI of the video), and WordPress.com fills in the details.
The more intense “widget-mania” becomes, the less acceptable the restriction on widgets at WordPress.com will seem. It’ll be interesting to see how Automattic, the people running WordPress.com, handle this. Options include:
- Make a wide variety of widgets available. Partnering with a trusted “widget broker might be the best way to do this.
Some notes on terms, reserved for this point to avoid complicating the above:
- I use the term widget in a rather more general sense than the narrower sense in which it’s used in WordPress documentation.
September 21, 2007
The previous post was about the implementation of tags in WordPress.com. The bad news was in the last paragraph of the post. I still think it’s bad news.
However, there is a way in which WordPress.com will give you links to your tag pages. It’s the Tag Cloud widget, which I’ve just put on the sidebar of this blog. I think that it works in much the same way as does the Category Cloud widget (which I’ve never used). I’m not sure that I’ll keep the cloud widget, since I like my sidebars sparse these days.
I’m using the Simpla theme for this blog. The version of it at WordPress.com is tag-aware, in that it displays tags for posts that have them, and it includes Tag Cloud among the sidebar widgets available. I’m haven’t checked out any other themes for tag-awareness.
Update: the tag cloud has not updated since I published this post. That’s strange since the post does have tags, some of which are new to the blog.
Up-update: the tag cloud did update, although it took (more than 10) hours to do so.