Sunday, July 01, 2007

The trouble with widgets

I love widgets. They're such a great way to add value and information to your blog. I've added a whole heap of them to WebWeaver's World, as you can see. I like playing around with widgets and adapting them to my own needs, or to the look and feel of my blog. I'm not skilled enough to invent and create my own widgets, but I can certainly tweak already existing ones, to "make them my own".

Sometimes though they can be a bit of a pain. That's because, even though I tweak them, they still "belong" to someone else. That is, they are still controlled elsewhere. And sometimes even the best of them have a little hiccup along the way.

Over the last few days, for example, a bunch of my widgets have been misbehaving in various ways.

My very wonderful Archive Calendar Widget from phydeaux3 seemed not to have noticed for a few days that I'd put up a new blog post - so it didn't appear on the calendar or in the archive list for a while. No drama, and it's all fixed now, I was just a bit sad that had forgotten me!

Today, the most excellent Technorati Ranking widget from PurpleMoggy seems to have forgotten how to measure my ranking (it does that sometimes - some glitch at the Technorati end) so it looks like I have 0 links from 0 blogs. Waaa! Still have my ranking, though, which is good. It'll fix itself up again soon I'm sure.

The most annoying one right now is my Most Popular Blog Posts widget from AffiliateBrand. For the last couple of days my all-singing all-dancing restyled version has been displaying horribly - with the list of posts all jammed up in the left-hand side of the iFrame, and a great big gap to the right of each one. Ugh! So here I am, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, trying to figure out why, and to force it to display properly again. Which isn't easy, seeing as most of the visual controls live at AffiliateBrand, and not on my blog.

Ah well, I always did like a challenge. And I'm sure I'll figure out a way to fix it - somehow. Apologies for the not-perfect look of my blog in the meantime though. I don't like it at all when my blog doesn't look right.

UPDATE later the same day: Fixed it! (In Firefox, anyway - I'll have to check IE at work tomorrow). Yaay!

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5 comments:

Brandon Watts said...

Many bloggers are still getting used to the quirks and control issues that can sometimes be encountered while using widgets, but with our widget (AutoRoll), we've tried to make it as customizable as possible, and this extends to everything from the design to the content. In fact, the links that are displayed are influenced by your blog, and this helps bloggers to have a more personalized tool that they feel they are in control of.

As widget providers, it's our duty to continue to address and resolve issues like the ones that you mentioned in order to make the process better for everyone.

Brandon Watts
Criteo Evangelist

Lucy said...

I'm having a tough time with the Affiliated Widget. I can't figure out why it's not working on my blogger site. I used a Page Element (HTML/Javascript). It shows up, but it's not picking up the actual posts.
Any suggestions?

thanks
Lucy
http://standup101.blogspot.com

webweaver said...

Hi Lucy,

I just went and took a look at your site, and the widget is working fine!

Maybe when you made your comment it was a little too soon after you put it up there and there wasn't enough data for it to work with?

Is it working for you now?

Tonya said...

Where did you get the widget for your book reviews? I work at a public library and I'm trying to create a blog for our teen group to use, but I'm new to all of this. Where is a hack for that? HELP!

webweaver said...

Hi Tonya,

I made it myself. It's just an HTML element that I've added to my template in the sidebar.

I made the stars myself, and each book sits within a <p> tag, with the name and author listed, followed by however many stars I want to give it. There are three versions of the stars - star, half-star and no-star.

You can view the source of any page on my blog to see the code.

Hope that helps! Ask again if you need more detail...