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March 30, 2006

Widgets: It’s a Plugin!

by @ 4:29 am. Filed under wordpress, Virus, Widgets, Plugins, Customization

Let me begin by thanking the bloggers of WordPress.com. These excellent people are our most diligent (and unwitting) testing force, keeping our days free for the development of new bugs which, after enduring the careful, methodical abuse from our tireless testing force, eventually metamorphose into features.

Some of these young features are lucky enough to be released into the wild as plugins for anyone to capture and put to work in their own WordPress blogs on server farms all over the world. A plugin is happy in its toil and this makes us very proud parents!

We know, sadly, that some copies will stray into the dark corners of the web where vicious, hungry coders lurk, waiting to rip them up and sometimes reassemble them into towering, plug-necked monsters. Do not pity these copies! Their lives are not wasted, for this what the developer intended. We encourage mutation, even if it causes angry mobs to gather with pitchforks and torches. This, too, makes a parent proud.

Of special interest today is a new sidebar customization plugin called Widgets. Thousands of people are already using Widgets on their WordPress.com blogs (we keep track) and daily we receive requests to bring Widgets to the public, as we have promised to do all along.

The plugin named Widgets has come of age. It is now a plugin for all to enjoy. You can download it, read the documentation, update your themes and make new widgets like rabbits in the springtime.

March 11, 2006

Widget Configuration, RSS, and Free Text

by @ 12:43 am. Filed under wordpress, Virus, Widgets, Customization, Translation

We’ve been getting so many requests for widgets that we’ve hardly had time to code anything! I bit the bullet and turned off my email long enough to update the interface and provide widgets for the most requested features. Now they’re active and I’ll be turning my email back on, for better or for worse…

Anyway, here’s the scoop on the new stuff in your Sidebar Editor panel. Most widgets are now configurable through a little popup window. Almost all widgets let you change their titles now, so we expect you to come up with a better name for your archives than “Archives.” Really.

The two most exciting widgets are Text and RSS. You can have as many as nine of each of these. The Text widget is composed of a title and some text or HTML. Lots of people wanted to put badges and pictures in their sidebars, and while Flash and Javascript are still filtered out, you have a lot more freedom here than ever before.

My favorite new widget, the RSS widget is really simple (hehe) to use but it’s pretty amazing what you can accomplish with it. It’ll handle RSS, ATOM, and who knows what other syndication formats. I’ve set up a bunch of feeds on my blog to give you some ideas: another personal blog of my own, MC Hammer’s blog (to show that I’m cool), my Flickr feed, Dodgeball so you know where I am hanging out, and a bunch of funnies (in case my dry humor doesn’t flip your switches). It’s a good start but I’m sure I missed the very best ones. It’s up to you to show the world what a feed maniac you are!

The first widget geared toward a specific third-party service is our Del.icio.us widget. There will be more of these appearing over time, including the oft-requested Flickr badges.

What else do you want that can’t be done with the RSS widget? Keep sending feedback and we’ll keep tallying it, day and night.