Talk about picking a poor name for this project. I first considered giving it a catchy name, but decided to simply call it ‘Flickr widget’ becaused that best describes what it does. But then I found that Flickr itself has a Flash widget too. And now I’ve made it support Picasa feeds too, so the name doesn’t make any sense anymore.
The upside is of course that Picasa users can now use the widget to show off their favorite albums on their websites. It accepts the feeds from your ‘My Photos’ page and album pages. If you, like me, have only a couple of albums under ‘My Photos’, the feed from that page will only show the album covers, so it makes more sense to use an album feed (on the left is a trip to the zoo with my daughter in 2007). Like with Flickr, the total number of thumbs shown is limited to 20.
Fortunately, Google uses a very similar feed format to Flickr, so I was able to put support for both into one Flash movie. Please feel free to try it, and let me know if you run into anything.
Flash sucks. There, I’ve said it. Or to be more precise, using Flash in a web page sucks. Just about everyone has the plugin, but actually embedding a movie into a web page isn’t quite as easy as it could be. There are a number of options, all of which have pros and cons. And in most cases you’ll need to pass parameters to your little RIA and/or have it communicate with the outside world too, adding to the complexity.
About 90% of the email I get about WP-Cumulus is from people where the movie isn’t displaying as it should. In most cases, this is caused by relatively minor markup errors in their blog. I find it hard to explain why Flash can sometimes break if you forget to close a single tag. More About WP-Cumulus 1.20’s compatibility mode
If you like, you can now try the Flickr widget I blogged about a little while ago. This is the first time I’ve released something like this, but I’m pretty confident it’ll work. I’ve set up a page on this blog where you can enter your Flickr feed, along with some other details, and create your personalized version of the widget. It’s generates an HTML code snippet that you can copy-paste into your website. In fact I just used it to create the widget embedded on the left.
One thing I was concerned about was where I should put the Flash file. If this thing should become popular, it could cause lots of traffic. That’s why I chose to host it at Amazon’s S3 service. I’ll blog some more about this soon because it’s is an interesting service, but what it comes down to is that S3 is an extremely reliable way of hosting files. Even if there’s a little hick-up here at roytanck.com, the widget will still be served. That means no big empty hole in your blog, unless Flickr is down. Or S3. Both highly unlikely.
Let me know if you run into anything. I’m pretty sure the widget code will remain the same for the foreseeable future. All URLs are final, so if you successfully generate the widget, it will continue to function, even if I need to make little adjustments to the form or the Flash movie later on.
This distracted me from client work yesterday. I tried modifying WP-Cumulus to load thumbnail images from a Flickr RSS feed instead of passing it WordPress tags. The results surprised me, because I was expecting to see all sorts of depth sorting weirdness. However, because of the limited number of images and the way I distributed them over the sphere, you can hardly spot any quirks. More WP-Cumulus for Flickr anyone?
I’ve been meaning to convert some of the output of my TIME/SPACE experiment on YouTube for a while now. Unfortunately the current incarnation of that project is a Flash movie, and Flash doesn’t let you simply save the images you generate. At least not very conveniently.
I came across this article on Ars Technica a while ago while looking for ways to improve Flash performance on my two Ubuntu machines. I wanted to see if there was a way to get YouTube clips to play properly. Both my 1 GHz Pentium III and the 1.6 GHz Atom have trouble with Flash videos and especially it seems with Flash’s full screen mode.
When visiting family last week, the conversation turned to Sudoku puzzles and how to solve them through software (I know, it’s sad ). My initial impression was that it shouldn’t be too hard to write a program that fills in the missing numbers but, as so often, I now stand corrected. More Sudoku solver
Tagnetic Poetry is another experiment using Flash to display your blog’s tag cloud. It was Merel Zwart who came up with the brilliant idea to mimic magnetic poetry. Because it re-uses most of the code used in WP-Cumulus, the 0.8 version should already be pretty stable.