A couple of people have emailed me, complaining that my Flickr widget does not work on wordpress.com blogs. As it turns out (I didn’t know this because I host all my blogs myself), Automattic blocks a number of HTML tags, including every single one that could be (ab)used to display Flash movies. There’s a workaround that might work, but that’s far from ideal.
So how about Facebook, MySpace, TypePad and all the other things I don’t personally use? Has anyone tried adding my widget to any of these, or anywhere else of interest? Please leave a comment if you have and report whether it worked or not. I know that it works fine on Blogger, and I’ve just submited the widget to Hyves.nl, which is Holland’s biggest social network, to be considered for inclusion.
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
One of the major shortcomings of Flash (imho) is the way it handles text. If you want to animate text, change its transparency or do any of the other things that Flash is so good at, you need to embed font characters into your movie. This is usually not so bad, if you know the target language your movie will be used to display.
My WP-Cumulus WordPress plugin however can be used to display tags in any language. Embedding all available characters would render the plugin unusable, as even the relatively simple Latin character set adds almost 30 kilobytes to the movie’s file size. This is why in order to use the plugin for other languages, you’ll need to add the appropriate characters yourself (or find someone who already has). Here’s how. It’s really quite easy. More How to add more characters to WP-Cumulus
OK, i admit it. I’m probably the only person bothered by this. In the age of broadband where mobile phones browse the web at high speed, I’m probably a dinosaur for trying to keep movie file sizes down. But still. There still are people out there who browse the web at 56 kilobits per second, waiting for minutes while a web page full of graphics is transferred to their computer by two analog modems shouting bits at each other.
That’s one reason why I decided to see if re-writing my WP-Cumulus Flash movie in Actionscript 3 would yield a smaller file. Unfortunately, the outcome was not all I had hoped it to be. More Moving to AS3 – what the font?
I’ve updated my Youtuber plugin to include an options page. This allows you to much more easily adjust the display size of YouTube videos to match your blog’s layout. This required a bit of hacking in the previous version. Youtuber generates valid XHTML and is extremely easy to use. If you embed all you YouTube video’s using this plugin, changing a few values in the options page will allow you to adjust the display dimensions of all the videos on your blog. This might come in handy if you ever upgrade or change your theme.
More info (as well as a download link for the new version) in the original post.
By default, embedded YouTube videos are 425 pixels wide, which is wider than the content column on Choking on Popcorn. To be able to easily resize and add cool videos to that site I copy-pasted together a very basic plugin for WordPress. It allows you to simply use something like [youtube ]xxxxxxxxx[/youtube] to embed the video. The ‘xxxxxxxxx’ bit needs to be replaced with the actual video’s ID of course. I know there are tons of plugins that do similar things and are vastly superior, but this one suits my needs perfectly. More WordPress plugin: Youtuber
This is the personal blog of Roy Tanck, designer, geek, freelancer and WordPress enthusiast. It's also the home of projects like WP-Cumulus (a 3D tag cloud for WordPress), my Flickr widget, Gunfollow (the Twitter hitman) and Snapatar.com. More about me here, or you can follow me on Twitter.