Friday, August 31, 2012


Small update to my threaded comments hack v2

If you have my threaded comments hack v2 installed, and it stopped threading the comments, it is because Blogger changed the navbar iframe src attribute handling. Seemed to happen yesterday. To fix that, edit the template and find line 235 of the hack, which used to be:

var cfeedbase = 'http://'+window.location.hostname+'/feeds/'+$("#navbar-iframe").attr("src").match(/targetPostID=([^&]*)/)[1]+'/comments'

and change it to:

var cfeedbase = $('link[href$="comments/default"]').attr("href").split("/default")[0];

(all in one line)

The source code has been updated in the hack's article.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Resize Blogger popular post thumbnails

I got a question in a comment how to change the thumbnail size in Blogger popular post gadget, in my Trim Blogger popular post snippets right article. Here's how to do it, hack is similar to my previous popular post hacks.

You must have jQuery loaded in your page for the script to work. Check your template, and if it does not have jQuery, insert this before </head:>
<script src='' type='text/javascript'></script>

You can install this hack by adding an extra HTML/Javascript gadget in your sidebar, or paste the code to an existing gadget. The gadget must be after the popular posts gadget! Or you can put this code in your template's html, just before </body>. If you have my other popular post hacks, like shuffle, shuffle and limit or Trim Blogger popular post snippets right, you can put this code in the same place, after those hack's code.

In the script there is the variable var newSize = 100; which defines the new size for thumbnails. You can set the new size smaller or bigger than the default size, which is 72.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Add Post titles to Older and Newer Post links – reloaded

When viewing a single Blogger blog post there are links to Newer Post, Home, and Older Post at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately the Newer and Older post links only contain text "Newer Post" and "Older Post", not the actual post titles. Wordpress, from where I migrated to Blogger, can display the post titles. But not Blogger...

Previous hacks

There are already some hacks to do this. One of the first is by ETBlue, here's that hack. It works very well, but it skews the stats: the loading of two extra posts by jQuery results in two extra stats hits for an opened post.

I did a hack, too, which adresses the stats problem, it is here. It uses somewhat different method to get the post titles: they are fetched from the blog feed, or generated from the blog url (=pseudo title), so no extra posts are loaded, so we have no stats skew. The problem is that is only gets real titles for 500 latest posts. Older posts get a pseudo title. 500 is sufficient in most cases. The script could be modified to get 1000 posts, or more, but it would take some time to load the feeds.

In a comment of my previous hack Duy Pham gave a link to his Older/Newer post title hack. He has an excellent solution for getting the titles from the blog feed: first get the index using publishing date of the post, then retrieve maximum of 3 posts (previous, this post and next post) from a feed.

Duy Pham's hack was so inspiring, that I started coding the thing same in jQuery (Duy uses javascript), and to be compatible with my previous hack. The result has 2 lines less code than the previous hack, and many more features:

Post titles to Older and Newer Post links – reloaded

Installing the hack

You need to edit your blog's template. I use jQuery in this hack, so you need jQuery. Check your template, and if it does not have jQuery, insert this before </head:>
<script src='' type='text/javascript'></script>

Then find </body> and insert this code (just) before it:

If you had the previous version installed, you can replace the old code. Save the template, and the hack is installed!


You can configure the following javascript variables:

olderLink - contains the template for older link, you can use [title] in this
newerLink - template for newer link, you can use [title] in this
olderTitle - template for older link title, you can use [title], [date] and [datetime] in this
newerTitle - template for newer link title, you can use [title], [date] and [datetime] in this

You can use any html, too, for example you can use images. If you use the default olderLink and newerLink, you can also style classes .blog-pager-older-link-title and .blog-pager-older-link-title.

The previous/next links need some styling, so that post titles fit better. For example something like this in Simple template; add these to the styles section of your template (or use Template Designer|Advanced|Add CSS):
.blog-pager-newer-link {background-color:transparent !important;padding: 0 !important;}
.blog-pager-older-link {background-color:transparent !important;padding: 0 !important;}
#blog-pager-newer-link {padding:5px;font-size:90%;width:200px;text-align:left;}
#blog-pager-older-link {padding:5px;font-size:90%;width:200px;text-align:right;}
.home-link {left:0px;position:absolute;margin-left:250px;text-align:center;width:60px;white-space:nowrap;}
If you don't have Simple template, test and change styles if needed. Values for .home-link work with 560px wide text area (250x2+60=560), change accordingly if needed. If "Home" text is very wide in your language, you may also have to change the values (test and see if it works). Of course you can style everything quite differently than me, that's just CSS. :)

Hope you like this hack!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Contact Form added

I added a new page containing a contact form to this blog. I use EmailMeForm service, which I already have used before in another blog of mine. EmailMeForm is free up to 200 form submissions per month and up to 5 different forms.

Link to the contact form can be found below the header, at the moment there are links to Home (main page) and Contact form.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Small update to Adding Post titles to Older and Newer Post links

Since Blogger has started rolling out local domains, depending where you view the blog, the links inside the blog may not be anymore but may be for example or

However, the urls are internally still and also in blog's feeds. My hack for Adding post titles to Older and Newer Post links fetches the posts' urls and titles from feed and tries to change the older/newer post links' texts to post titles using the url. Local domains disturbed this, no match was found and a pseudo title was generated instead.

So I had to make a small update that changes the local domain back to .com before matching it with feed urls. Lines 34 and 41 are new, both containing this same code:
href = href.replace(/\.blogspot\.[^/]+\//, "");
If you have this hack installed, I suggest you make the same update. See the whole hack with installation instructions here, source code updated: Add post titles to Older and Newer Post links.

Update June 27th 2012: new version of this hack is here, I suggest you consider using it instead of this.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Round avatars, thumbnails, and other images

Lately I learned how images can be rounded using CSS. This seems to be a "good formula":
.someclass {
-webkit-border-radius: 100px;
-moz-border-radius: 100px;
border-radius: 100px;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
-moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
For some templates, and maybe just for a change, those rounded images can look very good. I'll show you CSS you can add to my hacks, and one Blogger gadget, to make images round. In my hacks you should add the CSS in the code before </style>.

Better recent comments gadget

Add this style:
.recent-comment-ico img {
-webkit-border-radius: 100px;
-moz-border-radius: 100px;
border-radius: 100px;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
-moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);

Profile gadget with post count

Add this style:
.author-avatar {
-webkit-border-radius: 100px;
-moz-border-radius: 100px;
border-radius: 100px;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
-moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);

Top Commentators gadget

Add this style:
.top-commenter-line img {
-webkit-border-radius: 100px;
-moz-border-radius: 100px;
border-radius: 100px;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
-moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);

Gadget for YouTube activity feed

This gives a nice "tube TV" like effect, add this style:
div.ytc_thumb img {
-webkit-border-radius: 100px;
-moz-border-radius: 100px;
border-radius: 100px;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
-moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);

Just one more, and I think you'll get the hang of it. :)

Popular Posts (Blogger gadget)

Add this style using Template Designer, Advanced, Add CSS:
.PopularPosts .item-thumbnail img {
-webkit-border-radius: 100px;
-moz-border-radius: 100px;
border-radius: 100px;
-webkit-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
-moz-box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);
box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, .4);

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Profile Gadget with avatars and post counts

This is especially for multi author blogs. In multi author blog the profile gadget is very simple looking. It only contains author names in <ul>/<li> list. There is "avatar" but that is the default blogger logo.

My multi author blog profile gadget looks like this:

It works on single author blogs, too, and one could customize it to look about the same as the default single author blog profile gadget, but I'll leave that for you as an exercise. :)

Installation is simple. Add HTML/Javascript gadget into your blog, and paste the following code there:

You can configure some things in the script: maximum user name length, author line template, avatar size, and is avatar cropped or streched. As always, you can also modify the CSS to your liking.

This was "thrown together" very quickly, but it works ok so I decided to publish it. Hope you like it.


Customizable Author Box with post count

I got this request for an author box with post count in my blog's comments. An author box is something that is displayed after a post, and it shows info about the author who wrote the post. has many author box extensions, for example Author Box After Posts. There are some hacks for Blogspot blogs, too, but they are generally for single author blogs, and with no post count.

My Author Box has support for blogs with multiple authors, and post counts per author.

I must warn you, this hack suits best people who can do their own template customizations and basically already know their way around. These instructions have worked "as is" for Simple and Awesome templates, should work for all others, too, especially if you know you to adapt the code. Not for dynamic templates, though.

How to install

Installing is quite simple. Edit template HTML, expand widget templates. This hack uses jQuery, so if your template does not already have jQuery, add the following code in your template before </head>:
<script src='' type='text/javascript'></script>

Then find: <data:post.jumpText/>, there should be only one instance. Few lines down from there is line:
<div class='post-footer'>
just before that line paste all this code:

This (+ possibly jQuery loading) is the only code you need to put into the template. Later I'll show you three snippets from this same code, don't put them in the template, just edit the previous code at those points. After pasteing the code to the template, you can save the template and see if there were any errors. You can also test the hack at this time. After that you must customize the hack to suit your blog and blog's authors.


This hack works for both single author and multi author blogs. If you have multi author blog, you must set var multiAuthor = true; This setting can be true for single author blogs, too, but it is sligthly faster if you put false there for single user blogs.

With onePost and manyPosts variables you can localize the words "post"/"posts" or use other word like "article"/"articles".

There are more configurable things in javascript parts, but I'll tell more about them later.

HTML markup

This part defines the look of author box.

Author box html comes partly from the template, and author specific thigs are set by javascript. If you have a single author blog, you can put basically any html between <div class='post-author-block'> and </div>.

Just use <span class='authorinfopostcount'>0</span> where you want the post count to appear, and <span class='authorinfopostpost'>posts</span> where you want the singular/pluralis post word to appear. You can also use the same classes as in multiple author blogs, and you can use additional classes and make CSS for them as you wish.

With multi author blog, author specific information contains post count, author (profile) link, author avatar image, author description, and author name. So these can not be "hard coded" into the box, but they are set via javascript. Inside <div class='post-author-block'> and </div>, when you use the following tags + classes, their contents will be dynamically set:

<a class='authorinfolink'>somemarkup</a> this will link the text "somemarkup" to author profile link
<img class='authorinfoimage' src=''/> this will get author avatar
<span class='authorinfoname'/></a> author name will be put inside this span
<span class='authorinfopostcount'>0</span> and post count here
<span class='authorinfopostpost'>posts</span> this will be post/posts (singular, pluralis) according to how many posts author has
<span class='authorinfodescription'></span> this will be replaced by the author specific description, which can be plain text or complex html (but no scripts). Class can be used in div, too.

You can also add classes and CSS for elements if you wish. It is just basic template editing. And probably want to customize the CSS too, to get the box look like you want. CSS part is this:

Then in the javascript part, for every author or the blog you should set variable aut_desc['AUTHORNAME']. Element with class='authorinfodescription' will receive that description. You can use html here, put div's there, br's, links, imgs, pretty much everything, but not scripts. Now there is only some info about me and some dummy info, you can replace them with content that is relevant to your blog.

For every author or the blog you can (but it is not necessary) set/override auth_url['AUTHORNAME']. This way you can link author straight to his Google+ profile, or any other page you wish, instead of the blogger profile page. Here's the configuration part of the javascript:

I would have liked to get the author description automatically, but there is no feasible way of getting author profile descriptions in multi author blog, so the descriptions must be set in script. Positive side is that you can use any description you want, with links, images etc. Because descriptions could not be fetched automatically, I decided to leave the whole hack simple, so its users can customize the author box look themselves.

If anyone wants to develop this idea further, go right ahead. I'm not so good at making html/css, some of you will make this look much better. If you use it, please drop a comment so I can see what it looks like in your blog. :)


Hack for my recent comments hack: don't show own comments

Maybe you don't want to show your own comments in recent comments? Here is quick and simple hack for my Son of the better recent comments gadget to make it not show own comments.

Edit the HTML/Javascript gadget. Change lines 93 and 115, which both look like this now:
var entry = json.feed.entry[i];
var entry = json.feed.entry[i]; if([0].name.$t=="PUT YOUR USERNAME HERE") continue;
Edit your username inside the quotation marks. Save the gadget. Your comments won't be displayed anymore in recent comments.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Extending Yahoo! Pipes with Google App Engine

In my Uploads and Favorites pipe I wanted to turn the timestamps into so called "humanized dates", like these six examples:

23 seconds ago
1 minute ago
4 hours ago
2 days ago
7 months ago
1 year ago

This could not be done by using only Yahoo! Pipes.

Google App Engine to the rescue

Yahoo! Pipes can be extended using a web service, which accepts the feed items as json, and outputs them (after changes) as json. I used this blog article Using Google App Engine to Extend Yahoo! Pipes as a starting point. Django framework has date humanizing functions coded in Python, and I borrowed those functions from there. Then I created a new Google App Engine application "humandate", and made files app.yaml and


I put these two files in a directory called "humandate" under my Google App Engine directory, with favicon.ico (the GAE default icon), and the development environment is ready. I now can deploy the application using "./ update humandate/" or test it locally using "./ humandate/", then the app runs at http://localhost:8080.

Testing the date humanizer

I made also an url based interface to "humandate" in addition to Yahoo! Pipes json interface. Url based interface works by giving a unix timestamp as "unixtime" parameter, like this. This made testing the date humanizer easier.

Using the service in Yahoo! Pipes

This service expects items to have y:published.utime field present. Service reads it from every item, turns it into a humanized date, and makes a new field "when" containing the humanized date. Then the service returns the items back to pipes.

See also my previous article about the four youtube pipes I've made (one of them uses this humandate, and one uses it indirectly). And have fun with Google App Engine and Yahoo! Pipes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Yahoo! Pipes, pipes, and more pipes for YouTube

Lately I've been playing around with Yahoo! Pipes and learned some new things. I already presented the YouTube Activity Feed, which I've cleaned up a little. And I've made three more pipes.

YouTube Activity Feed

Pipe ID: 58c841d14337ba4fbf693abd9701dc49
Pipe Web Address:

Here's my previous article about this feed. YouTube API 2.0 does provide activity feeds, but you need to register an application to get developer key. My idea was to read the same info from user's channel feed page in html, parse the html and republish as a feed, and YouTube Activity Feed pipe does that.

As html parsing is quite complex task, if YouTube changes the feed page structure a lot, this pipe might break. I'll probably try to fix it if that happens.

YouTube Likes Feed

Pipe ID: a58d86555f7eb396e73d58ff50edc8f1
Pipe Web Address:

Same idea as in Youtube Activity Feed, but it gets only "liked videos" from the channel feed page. It is a bit simpler to parse only the likes. Also with this pipe, if YouTube changes the feed page a lot, the pipe might break.

YouTube Uploads and Favourites

Pipe ID: 0c2ee991c8d94ed0ceb19865c252e047
Pipe Web Address:

YouTube has gdata feeds for user uploads and user favorites.

This pipe combines these two feeds, descriptions will be for example "2 days ago USERNAME favorited" or "1 hour ago USERNAME uploaded". The tricky part was to get this humanized date "2 days ago" derived from feed item's timestamp. It could not be done in Pipes only, so I extended its functionality with a web service I coded into Google AppEngine. It goes through the list, converts "y:published.utime" to humanized date like "2 days ago" and stores it in field "when" and returns the list back to pipes. Here's an article about the web service: Extending Yahoo! Pipes with Google App Engine.

This pipe should be robust, as it uses feeds as source, not page html.

YouTube Feed

Pipe ID: 73c5ee4a46e1837d908deaa60b1858d2
Pipe Web Address:

This fourth pipe simply combines Uploads and Favourites and Likes Feed. Structure is very simple. Output is something similar to YouTube Activity feed, but it does not contain comments, playlist additions nor channel subscriptions. But sometimes simpler is better.

All pipes are compatible with my gadget which works also on Opera (Yahoo! Pipes badge does not). Just change the pipe ID (_id) to use a different pipe.

Feel free to examine these pipes, you can also make clones which you can modify. Comments are welcome, too. :)

Monday, May 21, 2012


Another gadget for YouTube Activity Feed, works with Opera

Few days ago I finished making my first Yahoo! Pipe, which collects info from YouTube channel feed page, and republishes that info. Yesterday I noticed, that Yahoo! Pipes badge output does not support Opera – with Opera, nothing is shown. It is strange that Yahoo does not fix this, maybe it is because Pipes is a free product. About 3 % of my blogs readers use Opera.

I knew I could make a gadget that works on Opera, too. Yesterday evening I coded first a javascript version, and today morning a little tidier jQuery version.

Installation is simple: add an HTML/Javascript gadget and put the following code in it:

You can leave out the first line, if your template already loads jQuery. Make necessary configuration changes (change YouTube user name, for example). I did only very basic CSS, you can of course modify it to your liking. Code can be used also outside Blogger (in any html page).

Friday, May 18, 2012


Yahoo! Pipe to show YouTube activity feed in Blogger, WordPress, etc.

I've had this idea for some time: somehow republish YouTube channel activity feed page as an RSS feed. So you could get a view of your latest YouTube activity in your blog, for example. This week I finally implemented a version of this using Yahoo! Pipes. This is a completely new gadget for Blogger, I have not seen anything like this before. You can use the pipe gadget output on WordPress and other internet pages, too. And you can get the RSS address for the pipe to connect it with various services and/or applications.

Link to the pipe:

And here's the "badge output" of that pipe from my youtube feed page, with 5 items:

This can be put into a sidebar gadget, like I've done in YABTB demo blog. The code to put inside an HTML/Javascript gadget is simple:

You may also use the "Get as a Badge" link when the pipe is run in the pipe's page, it offers an automated gadget installation into Blogger blogs, WordPress blogs and others.

Update May 21th: Because Badge output does not work with Opera browser, you might consider using instead a gadget made by me, which works with Opera.

Parameters of the pipe:

user: youtube user name,
max-results: maximum number of items returned,
allow: only accept entries that have this word in description, for example "liked" to get only likes or "uploaded" to get only uploads,
disallow: don't allow entries that have this word in description, for example "commented" to filter out commenting activity.

So at minimum you just have to change the user parameter value from "mspotilas" to any youtube user name you want (it does not have to be yours, try for example "NBC"). In my YABTB demo blog, to show what can be done with CSS styles, I also changed background colors, adjusted font sizes and margins, changed thumbnail to right side, changed thumbnail proportions (size), and hid the footer (powered by and get this), like this:

There is also a YouTube RSS feed, but... YouTube gdata feed for YouTube channel includes only uploads. No likes, favourites, comments, etc. Link to YouTube user's RSS feed of uploads is:

For example my YouTube channel's RSS feed is:

This is my very first Yahoo Pipe, so the implementation might be a bit clumsy. But it works, at least in my tests. :) You can clone the pipe and modify it according to your needs, or use this pipe if it suits you as is. If you like it, or find some bugs or something to improve, please tell me.

Update May 20th: I found out that Opera browser is not supported by Yahoo! Pipes. :( I think I could make a gadget for the pipe which would work in Opera, too, but I'm not sure if I will. About 3 % of my blog's viewers do use Opera.
Update May 21th: Here's the gadget I made, works with Opera, too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Top Commentators Gadget with avatars

I had a request of this gadget in one blog comment. There are some top commentators gadgets around, most relying on a Yahoo pipe. I knew it can be done with just javascript, with no pipes. Demo: it is installed on this blog, look at the right sidebar. Hope you like it. :)


You can configure the maximum number of top commentators, and minimum number of comments one must have to get on the list (to weed out the 1 comment commentators, if wanted, for example). Own nick and a list of other nicks (for example "Anonymous") can be excluded from the list. Output strings can be translated.

The Script, installing

Add a HTML/Javascript gadget to your blog, and paste the following code into it.

Script configuration

There are two CSS definitions at first, which can be changed to your liking. After that there comes javascript code and configurable variables. Here is a list of the variables and a short explanation.

maxTopCommenters: how big the list is at maximum
minComments: how many comments must top commentator have at least
numDays: from how many days (ex. 30), or 0 from "all the time" (max 500 comments)
excludeMe: true, if own comments excluded
excludeUsers: array of usernames to exclude
maxUserNameLength: if 0, don't cut; if > 4, cut lenghty usernames

txtTopLine: specifies, what is output on each line. This text can have simple variables, which are: [#], [image], [user], and [count]. [#] is substituted by position on the list, [image] by commentator's avatar image, [user] by commentator name and [count] by number of comments. Text can also contain html.
txtNoTopCommenters: what to display, if list is empty
txtAnonymous: "Anonymous" username localized, or empty if English text "Anonymous" is to be used
getTitles: if true, fetch titles from post feed; if false, titles are generated from url
blogger favico [B]
urlMyAvatar: especially if trueAvatars = false, set here the url to your avatar image
urlMyProfile: if you don't have a profile gadget on page, put your profile url here!
urlAnoAvatar: anonymous avatar, you can change from mystery man to a custom one, if you want, possibly this
urlNoAvatar: comment feed offers the icon (Blogger logo) for those Bloggers who have not set their profile image. You can override the icon with this setting (default: ).

cropAvatar: crop avatar to square (true) or stretch (false) to square
sizeAvatar: size of avatar in x and y direction, pixels

If you have very much comments (thousands and thousands of them), I suggest you to use this as "top commentators of 30 days" gadget or something like that (set numDays variable to 30), so that it won't take too long to load and calculate all the comments.

June 5th 2012: Small CSS update: Blogger changed the paddings of .profile-name-link, that's why I added this line (line 3.):
.top-commenter-line .profile-name-link {padding-left:0;}

Sunday, April 8, 2012


How to make Blogger sticky post using a gadget

I have this other sticky post hack, which uses real Blogger posts. But for some Blogspot blogs that may not be the best solution, so lets see how we can do the sticky post thing using a HTML/Javascript gadget. I did not find "full solutions" where the sticky post works like it should, i.e. displays only on the first page of the blog, but not on other pages. So here is one, by me.

Adding the gadget

Go to Design, Page elements. Click Add a Gadget (any link will do, we will move the gadget to proper place afterwards).

Write the text/html you want in your "sticky post", click Save. I suggest to not use any title, it helps the correct alignment when gadget is hidden.

Now drag the new gadget to top of blog posts, like this:


Hide the gadget on other pages than first

Open template html for editing. Before </head> add this:

<b:if cond='data:blog.url != data:blog.homepageUrl'>
<style type='text/css'>
div.main div.widget.HTML .widget-content { display:none; }
div.main div.widget.HTML { margin-bottom:-30px; visibility: hidden;}

Depending on your template you might have to change the value -30px to adjust the position of blog texts. -30px works for "Simple" template.

How to mimic a post in gadget html

Here's a "template" you can use in HTML/Javascript gadget contents to make the gadget have post-like title, spacing and body text.

This template works at least in "Simple" and "Awesome Inc." templates, probably in others, too. :)

Friday, April 6, 2012


Small update for recent comments gadgets

I have updated the source code of all three recent comments gadgets today.

1. Bug fix

The gadget choked with comments on blog pages (versus articles). Fix for that was easy, search for line:

postTitle = hrefPost.split(&quot;/&quot;)[5].split(&quot;.html&quot;)[0].replace(/_\d{2}$/, &quot;&quot;);

and change it to:

if(hrefPost.match(/\/([^/]*)\.html/)) postTitle = hrefPost.match(/\/([^/]*)\.html/)[1].replace(/_\d{2}$/, &quot;&quot;);

That line is line number 88 in recent comments gadget, line 138 in return of recent comments gadget, and line number 141 in son of recent comments gadget.

2. Default/empty post title

I also updated this line (line number 85/135/138):

var postTitle="";

to this:

var postTitle="-";

So at least something is displayed, if title cannot be parsed.

3. Better linking to post page comments

In return of, and son of recent comments gadged, I also added this line:

if(!/#/.test(href)) href += "#comments";

It is line 185 in "return of", and line 192 in "son of". With a comment on a page this gets us positioned on top of the comments (versus top of the article). I did not make this update on the oldest gadget, if you're still using it, I suggest you try the latest version, son of the recent comments gadget.

I've updated the source code in the blog articles, you can look up the changes there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Google App Engine, Python 2.7, and lxml

Google App Engine (GAE) lets you build and run applications on Google's infrastructure. I have done two applications with GAE and Python (the programming language). The previous version of my tool to get blogger avatars (avafavico) used regular expressions to parse the Blogger profile page for the profile photo, or user's first contributed blog's favico, if no profile photo is found. As you might know, using regular expressions may not be the best solution. It would be better to parse html page document object model (DOM) and get results there. That way the code is not so sensitive to possible changes in the page html code. Of course I did the regular expressions so, that they should work with different html.

Previously I used GAE Python 2.5 environment, which was the default and supported version. On February 27th Python 2.7 became fully supported. GAE with Python 2.7 contains more external libraries than version 2.5, one of those libraries being lxml.

I tried to search for different solutions and examples, but there were not many. With GAE Python 2.5, one can use BeautifulSoup, but there are some issues (problematic 3.1.0 version, uncertain development future of BS, etc.). And there is minidom, but it may not handle broken html well. Blogger profile page should not have broken html, but you never know. lxml is definitely better and faster, supports XPath, etc.

The day before yesterday I updated the GAE app to use Python 2.7 and lxml. There were none to some examples about using python27, lxml and GAE, so I'll show you here a working example. First I started modifying the file app.yaml, there I changed runtime to python27, added "threadsafe" (false), and added (latest) lxml in libraries section. Increased version number to 5. Now app.yaml looks like this:

In I added "from lxml import etree" and then used etree functions instead of regular expressions to find things in html. Here's how DOM tree is constructed, variable "result" contains page html as a string, and then XPath is applied to the tree, like this:

>>> tree = etree.HTML(result)
>>> r=tree.xpath("//img[@id='profile-photo']/@src")

Here find from the tree the first img tag, which id is set to "profile-photo", and get that tag's src attribute. In the full script, if no id='profile-photo' is not found, then try to search for the first image that has class "photo". If both fails, search for first "contributed-to" blog, and use it's favicon, if that is not found, use Blogger favicon. And here is the source file:

This new version of avafavico has been up and running for two days. I'm very pleased that I got lxml working with GAE, all in all it was quite easy. Hope this example is useful to someone. If it helped you, please leave a comment. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012


YouTube/JSONP oEmbed service "oembed-js"

In the previous post I introduced my oembed-js service and an application using it: YouTube embeds in Blogger comments.

Oembed-js is a Google Appengine application coded in Python. It relays YouTube oembed calls and offers results also in JSONP format, so javascript applications can use it.


url: the (youtube) url to embed (best to be urlencoded)
maxwidth: max width of embedded object (optional)
maxheight: max height of embedded object (optional)
format: json/jsonp or xml (optional, default:json/jsonp)
callback or jsonp: the javascript callback function, required, if jsonp format is wanted
callID: a call ID that is passed through to response (optional)

Sample call:


YouTube oEmbed response in json(p) or xml format, including field html (see oembed specs), and:

callID: if callID was given, it is passed through (can identify the response)
url: pass through the url that is being embedded
videoid: contains 11 char long YouTube videoid, if single video embed
playlist: contains playlist id, if playlist embed

Sample response:

foo({"provider_url": "", "version": "1.0", "title": "Sviatoslav Richter in Kiev, 1958 - Pictures at an Exhibition", "url": "", "type": "video", "videoid": "GMra5Wh51oU", "thumbnail_width": 480, "height": 344, "width": 459, "html": "<iframe width=\"459\" height=\"344\" src=\"\" frameborder=\"0\" allowfullscreen></iframe>", "author_name": "FirstPublicChannel", "callID": "123", "provider_name": "YouTube", "thumbnail_url": "", "thumbnail_height": 360, "author_url": ""})

Another demo how to use it

Enter YouTube URL (video or playlist):


This demo and its source is also here in this jsFiddle.

Update March 27th 2012: Now oembed-js supports urls (YouTube oembed service does not support them). Also now supports videos which have embedding turned off (YouTube oembed does not support these either).

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Allow users embed YouTube videos in Blogger comments

Some time ago while googling something about video embeds I came across with oEmbed specification. This simple API allows websites to display embedded content from oEmbed providers. After some inspecting I used the oEmbed in a Python script to turn youtube links in a text into embedded videos. Worked nicely.

oEmbed returns data in JSON or XML format. That is ok with server side languages like php and Python. But for javascript this is a problem. If there is a problem, usually solution is found, and I found Embedly service, which is unfortunately not free.

With no intention to invest any money, and hands itching for another Google Appengine Python app, I saw an opportunity. To make a service that relays YouTube's oEmbed results to javascript format (JSONP). And all with memory caching etc. so it should be able to handle some traffic. After some coding it was ready and working[youtube url to embed][&callback=foo] But now where to use it...

In Wordpress blogs, when commenting an article, user can just write/paste youtube url into the comment text, and it will be turned into a video embed. Surprise, not in Blogger. For some blogs this is a bummer. Now with my new, free, javascript/jQuery compatible GAE service oembed-js this became possible in Blogger. Of course we need to hack the blog first a bit. :)

You can decide, whether you want to turn all raw youtube links (watch and playlist links) into embeds, which is the default, or only those, that use [video=youtube_url] tag. You can also change the tag name, if you want, maybe you like youtube or embed more. If you have lazy loading installed in your blog, by default this script will use it, and pages with many videos load much faster. Installation is simple, open template html for editing, find </head> and paste this code before it:

This script does not work in dynamic views, but it works with Blogger native comments, my threaded comments, and also Blogger threaded comments. Hope you like it. I'll tell you later about the oembed‑js service API (application programming interface), so it is easier for you to develop own applications.

- oEmbed specification
- YouTube API blog: oEmbed support

Update 27th March 2012: Line #74 updated, to handle better the case of only a YouTube url as comment text in new Blogger threaded comments (you do not need to update if you use videotag, or don't use Blogger threaded comments).

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Youtube videos lazy load, improved style

I styled my previous youtube lazy load hack a bit so that the video description text is easier to read. Before it looked like this (this is an image, so no hover effect):

HTML needed to produce this is:
<div style="text-align:center;"><a class="youtube-lazy-link" href="" style="width: 420px;height:315px;" title="Click to play!"><b>Mozart Fantasy in C minor</b> played by me</a></div>
With the new style, it looks like this (actual embed):

Here's the code, place it before </head>. If you had previous version installed, you replace it with this code. And as always, you can edit CSS styles to your needs.

This script is installed on this blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Pastebin embeds temporarily broken

I use pastebin to store most of my hacks' source codes and to embed them into this blog. Pastebin was today updated to version 3.1, and it broke the embeds. On my blog's first page the sidebar had fallen to the bottom of the page because of an imbalance in div elements' opening and closing tags. I fixed the first page, but on consequent pages the sidebar might still drop, and embeds contain this 'ss="javascript">' bug. And the code is not syntax highlighted. I notified this to pastebin admin, hope it gets fixed soon. Codes can still be copied like before by clicking the "Download Raw" link.

Update 3 hours later: Pastebin embeds fixed.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Automatic image caption from img title

I'm administering a Blogspot blog where some of the content uses img title tag to store image captions. Title tags are normally shown in a tooltip window, when user hovers the mouse over the image. There are some scripts around that display the image caption from image's title tag, but I decided to make my own. To get it quickly done, I used jQuery. This code goes before </head> tag, remove first line if you have jQuery already loaded.

Now you can use the following html markup on the page:

<img class="caption" title="Image title" src="./pics/pic.jpg" />

and it will dynamically be turned into something like this:

<div class="caption-wrap">
<img class="caption" title="Image title" src="./pics/pic.jpg" />
<p class="caption-text">Image title</p>

Use the classname "caption" and a title tag for those images you wish to autocaption.

Alignment and left/right margins are copied from img to the wrapping div, so horizontal positioning of the title paragraph is (should be) the same for basic image alignment options (centered or float left/right).

Here's a link to an example article with many auto-generated image captions, the blog is in Finnish, article is about prohibition: Nobel-palkitut ja huippupoliitikot vaativat huumeiden laillistamista.

Blogger post editor's "compose mode" has possibility to set image captions. But I think compose mode is not reliable, and so I mainly use the HTML editing mode. Also the HTML markup is much simpler using title tags and this script.

If you use this, you can adjust the script and the styles for your needs. This script can also be used outside Blogger.

Update January 21st 2013: Changed the script to use $(window).load() function instead of $(document).ready(), which makes sure that outerWidth function always returns the image width correctly. Line 31 was changed.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Hack to expand/collapse Blogger sidebar gadgets

Previously I made the tabbed gadgets hack, which can save space in blog's sidebar. This hack serves the same purpose, but a bit differently. With this hack you can make your sidebar gadgets vertically collapsible, using jQuery. I have used it on this blog on some gadgets, and here is...

You can choose which gadgets you make collapsible, and make them either closed or open initially. You can also make gadget groups, from which only one gadget may be open at one time (in this blog the search gadgets, and in demo blog the profile gadget and "read more" gadget).

To install, you need to have some computing skills and know your way around. Edit your blog's template, and paste the following code before </head>. If you have jQuery already loaded somewhere in your template, you can leave out the first line.

Then you need to edit the window.load function at the end of the script. There you should add calls to cedgAddOpen or cedgAddClosed for all those gadgets that you want to make collapsible (and open or closed by default). Use gadget ID, preceded with #, or gadget title, as parameter. Using "#ID" is preferred method. You can easily see the IDs of the blog's gadgets at end of the template, when widget templates are not expanded.

To make a gadget group, pass several ID parameters to cedgAddOpen. The first ID's gadget will be opened initially, others closed. Example: cedgAddOpen("#Profile1", "#HTML1"); You can call cedgAddClosed again for the first gadget's ID if you want it initially closed, too.

Note: if you use also tabbed gadgets, you cannot collapse gadgets that are made into tabs.

As you can see in the CSS, the little plus and minus signs are implemented as base64 images. You can change them if you want, and they can be external images, too. Also other styles, and the gadget spacing, can be easily changed. You may also want to style the gadget titles (H2 element), I use a gradient there, here are instructions.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Templates: blogID in posts widget layout data tag

This might be quite new feature, I just discovered it today (by browsing through template sources): blogID is now available in posts widget in the layout data tag "". So if you are making Blogger hacks or templates, you can use this instead of telling users to edit their blogID into the code.


Clear button for CSE search results

Blogger's normal search capabilities (search gadget and navbar search) did not work in my blogs, that's why I use CSE (custom search engine) gadget, and my hack for navbar search.

One thing that I was missing from Blogger's search gadget was the little X-button to close the search results. Well there's one next to the search button, but none in the search results area. Now that I've learned some jQuery, I did a nice little hack to add that close button into the CSE search results, like this:

It is also installed in this blog, so you can test it live.

You have to have my navbar search hack installed first, because code needs the variable customSearchControl (and uses also searchPhrase, if present). And you need to have jQuery loaded somewhere in your blog's template. After having these the installation is easy. Open the HTML/Javascript gadget, that contains your blog's CSE search gadget. Before the last line (</script>), add this code:

Save gadget and test.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Expand/Collapse all comments texts, for threaded comments v2

This is simple hack, it installs links for collapsing/expanding all comments' texts. You can test the functionality here.

You must have threaded comments v2 installed for this to work. Edit blog template, expand widget templates, find lines:
<b:includable id='comments' var='post'>
  <div class='comments' id='comments'>
    <a name='comments'/>
    <b:if cond='data:post.allowComments'>
After those lines, just before line that contains <H4>, add this code:

Save template. You're done.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Blogger threaded commenting hack v2

Blogger announced its own threaded commenting on January 12th. I thought that soon my good old threaded comments hack would not be needed anymore.

But Blogger's implementation of threaded comments has its limitations, and bugs, too. So I decided to give my threaded commenting hack a new round, and made version 2. It is now installed on this blog, you can see it and test it for example in the threaded commenting playground.

Features include:
  • (relatively) easy install, just one piece of code copied to template
  • contains Reply links to comments hack
  • contains highlight author comments hack
  • expand/collapse individual comments
  • style is similar to Blogger threaded comments
  • max threading levels can be specified
  • if you have used Blogger's threading, can read that threading information
  • works with major browsers, tested on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome
  • I must have forgotten something. Did I mention that it is great? :)

To install this, just edit your blog's template, copy the following code (use the "Download Raw" link) and paste it just before </body> in the template. If you have jQuery loaded previously in the template, you can delete the first line that loads jQuery. If you had my previous threaded commenting hack installed, remove that code (the javascript part). You don't need to install any hacks beforehand, like in the previous version: this hack includes them, if they are not installed.

This works at least on Simple template. If your template is heavily modded, then this hack might not work without modifications. And this hack does not work on dynamic views, and does not work if Blogger's threaded commenting is active. If you need to disable Blogger's threaded commenting, see this article.

Update August 31th 2012: If you have this installed, and threading stopped, please install this update.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Templates: Is comment author blog admin? An easy test

If you make Blogger templates or template based hacks, this info might interest you. In the comments section, usually in <b:includable id='comments' var='post'>, if one needs to check if the comment author is blog admin, often seen solutions include:
<b:if cond=' == &quot;PUT_USERNAME_HERE&quot;'>
<b:if cond='data:comment.authorUrl == &quot;;'>
But the easiest way, and least error prone, is:
<b:if cond='data:comment.authorClass == &quot;blog-author&quot;'>
After realising this, I updated my How to Hightlight author comments in Blogger hack to use this easier method.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Short URLs for Blogspot posts, and update to urltinyfy

Recently I made a Google App Engine application in Python, that provides javascript JSONP APIs for different URL shortening services. Read more about URLtinyfy, and the API, in this blog article.

I expanded the application to support more URL shortening services. Currently it supports: (provides same interface as json-tinyurl), (provides same interface as ggl-shortener),,,,,,, (*),, and "hidden" support for (and, which is same as I added also a sample URL shortener in javascript for the (non-hidden) services, for example: Sample URL shortener.

*) API does not work anymore in June 2012, removed from the list

And here's another example of usage, a hack to add...

Short URLs for blog's posts

This requires template editing. Edit also Widget templates. Find (partial line):
and about 8 lines later:
</span> </div>
Add this code after that </span> </div> line:

The above code includes tinyurl, googl and safemn services. It is easy to add, remove or change the services displayed. Hack is installed on this blog, for demostration there are five different services offered here, but in practise I think it is better to limit the shortening services to two or three.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Tip: Anonymous avatar for new Blogger threaded comments

Update Feb 2nd 2012: Blogger has updated the threaded comments, and it now includes an avatar for anonymous commenters by default. So this is now obsolete.

Previously I've told how to use anonymous "mystery man" avatar in the "old" commenting system, article here. But if you start using Blogger's new threaded commenting system, that old CSS won't display the mystery man anymore.

To make anonymous avatar work for the new commenting system, I had to use CSS3. Most browsers luckily support it now. Here's a simple CSS3 definition, that puts the mystery man back into his place. Add this to your template's CSS section (you can use Template Designer|Advanced|Add CSS):
.avatar-image-container img[src$=""] { width:36px;height:36px;
background:url( no-repeat center center;
(double click code to select for copying) This tip works for non-dynamic views. You can use a custom avatar instead of the Gravatar's mystery man, uploaded to your Picasa web albums, for example.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


How to enable Blogger threaded commenting (on customized template)

Blogger announced threaded commenting today, as I wrote earlier. If you have customized your template, there is a chance that this threaded commenting does not work.

There is of course the possibility to reset the template, but then you loose all customizations. So here's how I could enable Blogger threaded commenting on blogs where it did not work, due to previous customizations.

First you should check, that you have embedded comment form enabled, and also full blog feeds. Without those settings the threaded commenting won't show. If they are ok, and still no threaded comments, you should edit the template.

Open template html for editing, and click "Expand Widget Templates". Find this code, it is either twice or four times in the template:
          <b:include data='post' name='comments'/>
Change every instance you find to this:
          <b:if cond='data:post.showThreadedComments'>
            <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comments'/>
            <b:include data='post' name='comments'/>
Save the template and test. If the previous changes were not enough, then you should see if this block of code is found, where threading javascript is included, and insert/modify it if necessary (search for <div id='comment-holder'>):
    <div class='comments-content'>
      <b:if cond='data:post.embedCommentForm'>
        <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comment_js'/>
      <div id='comment-holder'>


How to disable Blogger's new threaded commenting

As I wrote earlier today, Blogger has now threaded commenting. There are three ways (that I know) to disable Blogger's new threaded commenting, if you don't want it:

- Don't use embedded comment form,
- Disable per-post comment feeds in your blog, or
- Edit template html.

The easiest way is to change embedded comment form to popup or full page, or disable per-post comment feeds in your blog settings. But if you want embedded comment form and post comment feeds enabled, then you need to edit template. Note: these instructions do not apply to dynamic views.

For the template editing option, this has worked for me:

Open template for editing, and click "Expand Widget Templates". Find this block of code, which is there twice (for mobile and normal viewing), you can search for <b:if cond='data:post.showThreadedComments'>:
        <b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;static_page&quot;'>
          <b:if cond='data:post.showThreadedComments'>
            <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comments'/>
            <b:include data='post' name='comments'/>
        <b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
          <b:if cond='data:post.showThreadedComments'>
            <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comments'/>
            <b:include data='post' name='comments'/>
Change both the blocks to this:
        <b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;static_page&quot;'>
<!--      <b:if cond='data:post.showThreadedComments'>
            <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comments'/>
          <b:else/> -->
            <b:include data='post' name='comments'/>
<!--      </b:if> -->
        <b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
<!--      <b:if cond='data:post.showThreadedComments'>
            <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comments'/>
          <b:else/> -->
            <b:include data='post' name='comments'/>
<!--      </b:if> -->
I.e. comment out the if-elses where "threaded_comments" are included, and include only "comments". Remember to do this twice, for both blocks of same code. To avoid extra javascript loading, search this line:
        <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comment_js'/>
and change to:
<!--    <b:include data='post' name='threaded_comment_js'/> -->
Save template. Now you should have the "good old" comments back with embedded comment form, and any modifications and hacks that were made to comments system.


Blogger has now threaded commenting

At least some sort of... Here's the announcement: Engage with your readers through threaded commenting. And this is how it looks like (in dynamic views – in non-dynamic view it is similar):

It has only two levels, and it could look a bit better, I think. But it is ok. It is activated if you have embedded comment form and full blog feeds enabled. When activated, other comment hacks, like my threaded commenting, don't work.

If you want my threaded commenting back on your blog, you can switch comment form to "full page" or "popup", instead of "embedded", in blog settings.

I will write some posts about how to enable this new feature on modded templates, how to disable it by editing the template (so you can switch back to embedded form without Blogger threading), etc. I'll get back after little more investigating. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Add post titles to Older and Newer Post links

Update June 27th 2012: new version here, I suggest you consider using it instead of this.

When you open a Blogger blog post, there are links to Newer Post, Home, and Older Post at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately the Newer and Older post links only contain text "Newer Post" and "Older Post", not the actual post titles. Wordpress, from where I migrated to Blogger, can display the post titles. But not Blogger.

Already done, but...

I started thinking, if I could make a hack to display those post titles also in Blogspot blogs. Some googling revealed that this had already been done. I think ETBlue was the first author of that hack, here's Blogger forum post about that. Later it was repackaged and republished by Bloggersentral and WEB.SILOG.. The hack is quite clever, it uses jQuery to load the previous and next posts and uses jQuery selectors to get the titles. Good for me, I thought, saves the me trouble of making a hack. skews the stats! 1 --> 3

After having the mod installed for a couple of hours I noticed, that I had many three-hit visits in my blog. Then I realised, that loading two extra posts by jQuery results in two extra stats hits for an opened post! That may not worry everyone, but I did not like that at all. So to the drawing board, after all.

My first version

So blog posts cannot be read from browser without causing stat hits. I uninstalled the ETBlue/WEB.SILOG./Bloggersentral hack and started devicing my own. My first quick & dirty solution was to parse the url, and create a "pseudo title" from that, so for example:

Url becomes "Return of better recent comments..." and becomes "Welcome to yabtb". If url is so long, that it might be cut, it is cut once more (to make sure it is not full title) and ellipsis is added. See function urlToPseudoTitle in the hack source, if you need something like this.

This was quite nice solution and works especially on English blogs. And it is much faster than jQuerying two extra pages. I was satisfied for a couple of hours.

But then I noticed a glitch in my Finnish blog. In Finnish language there are letters ä and ö (a with dots, o with dots), which are converted to "a" and "o" in the post url. So if I have title "Monet kipulääkkeet lääkekannabista koukuttavampia", and its url is, the pseudo title becomes "Monet kipulaakkeet...". Pseudo title is still readable without the dotted letters, but is a bit funny. Once again, back to the drawing board...

The solution

Script cannot read blog posts without stats hits, but it can read blog feeds. Actually I did already something like this in my recent comments gadget: load the post feed and collect post url - post title pairs, to be later used to convert urls to post titles.

It is possible to read up to 500 entries at a time from the Blogger feeds. Most blogs aren't that big, so the limit of 500 entries will be most of the time sufficient. But one could easily add another line to the script to fetch entries from 501 to 1000. And as a fallback, if script did not get post title from feed, for reason or another, it creates a pseudo title from the post url (see previous chapter). Reading the feed entries might take some milliseconds, so the script is executed (0,5 seconds) after page is fully loaded, so it won't slow down page load.

Demo (this blog)

Installing the hack

This hack is quite easy to install, although it requires template editing. I use jQuery in this hack, mainly for simplicity (much easier to execute something at window load, select elements, etc.). So you need jQuery. Check your template, and if it does not have jQuery, insert this before </head:>
<script src='' type='text/javascript'></script>
The previous/next links need some styling, so that post titles fit better. For example something like this in Simple template; add these to the styles section of your template (or use Template Designer|Advanced|Add CSS):
.blog-pager-newer-link {background-color:transparent !important;padding: 0 !important;}
.blog-pager-older-link {background-color:transparent !important;padding: 0 !important;}
#blog-pager-newer-link {padding:5px;font-size:90%;width:200px;text-align:left;}
#blog-pager-older-link {padding:5px;font-size:90%;width:200px;text-align:right;}
If you don't have Simple template, test and change styles if needed. Then find </body> and insert this code (just) before it:

Save the template, and the hack is installed!

Fine tuning Home link position

Home link is not centered on blog's front page, last page, newest post and oldest post. Add this CSS to center the link properly:
.home-link {left:0px;position:absolute;margin-left:250px;text-align:center;width:60px;white-space:nowrap;}
#blog-pager {min-height:2em;}
Values work with 560px wide text area (250x2+60=560), change accordingly if needed. If "Home" text is very wide in your language, you may also have to change the values (test and see if it works).

Hope you like this hack! It is installed for example in this blog.

Update June 8th 2012: Blogspot uses local domains (like "") in next/prev links but not in feed. I added two lines to deal with this: lines 34 and 41 are new.
Update June 27th 2012: new version here.

Monday, January 9, 2012


URLtinyfy - a JSONP API for,, etc.

Shortened urls, of blog posts for example, maybe useful in some places (like Twitter). I started first making a hack for Blogger which would offer the reader shortened url(s) for the posts. I came across ggl-shortener and json-tinyurl, which could be used to make and short urls in client side (javascript). But these both Google App Engine applications suffer from overrunning quota, especially json-tinyurl, but sometimes also ggl-shortener.

I think they both simply forward every request to the url shortener services, which always results in url fetch call, and url fetches are quite limited per day in Google appengine. My hands were already itching to make a new appengine app and to excercise my new Python skills, and I thought I could do the url shorting a bit cleverer. And at least have (for my url shortener hack) a service that is not yet, hopefully ever, suffering from quota problems.

Presenting urltinyfy

So I created a new appspot app, urltinyfy, which offers more or less the same APIs as ggl-shortener and json-tinyurl, at least should be compatible. As a bonus there is also support for, although they have their own jsonp API so it is a bit redundant. I also coded support, but because it needs bitly API key, and they have own jsonp API, I left it out from the "production version". and was mainly implemented because I wanted to see if and how it could be done.

My application uses memory cache, so if shortened url is already fetched, it is returned from the cache and no url fetch is needed. This should lessen the possibility to run out of free quota (of url fetches).

I have coded this entirely from a scratch, I have not used any code from ggl-shortener or json-tinyurl. I'm not sure if I'm going to publish the source code of this application, we'll see about that. :)


url:  the url to shorten (best to be urlencoded). Only mandatory parameter.
callback or jsonp: the callback function, if jsonp is used
unify: if 1, json will include tinyurl and longurl fields for all services (easy to use, independent of the service), and will pass through title and callID parameters, if found


If you now use ggl-shortener or json-tinyurl, you should be able to switch to my app with minimal changes, by changing the urls in your javascript like this:

change to
change to

As alternative "syntax", is the same as, and accordingly with other services.

If you want javascript examples how to use this, do google searches for "ggl-shortener" and "json-tinyurl". I might use this in some url shortening hack later on.

Problems? Suggestions? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Thumbnail on main page, bigger image on full post

You may have seen those fancy templates, that display on the main page a snippet of the post's text along with a thumbnail of an image inside the post. Maybe you want something like that only from time to time, so installing a new template for that would be overkill and maybe constrains your other options. I will show you how you can do it with a little javascript or CSS for example in Simple template.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Trim Blogger popular post snippets right

I have done some "tweaks" for the popular posts gadget, and here's another cosmetic one. The gadget cuts the post snippet at a fixed character index, so it can cut words in half, which is quite stupid. It would be much better to cut the post text at a word break. This little hack I made does that, using jQuery.

Sometimes little things matter. :)

You can install this hack by adding an extra HTML/Javascript gadget in your sidebar, or paste the code to an existing gadget (the gadget must be after the popular posts gadget!). Or you can put this code in your template html, just before </body>. If you have my Shuffle or Shuffle and limit hack for popular posts installed, put this code in the same place, after that hack's code.

Data provided by - Download Raw

You must have jQuery loaded in your page for the script to work. Script, installed also on this blog, won't cut the text smaller than 42 chars. Hope you like it.

Tip: By modifying the jQuery path '.popular-posts ul li .item-snippet' you can apply the same technique to other text-ill-cutting gadgets, too.
See the hack
for this dynamic
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