Recently, Picasa started serving its RSS feeds over https. From what I can tell, this has caused quite a view “clients” to fail. Digital photo frames seem to be affected, and so is my Flickr widget. Fortunately, there’s a quick fix.
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.
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.
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?