Widgets and MySpace

Tuesday 28th August, 2007

One of our developers here at the Giving Group has recently knocked out a new version of our sponsorship widget. It’s basically a miniature Flash version of our full sponsorship page.

A common complaint we’ve had is that these widgets don’t work on MySpace, and after a bit of digging it seems that MySpace is rewriting the object tag’s allowNetworking attribute to change the value to internal. This tells Flash not to allow navigation to other domains, so when users click on the “Donate” button they go nowhere, which is a problem.

Given that MySpace also blocks Javascript this somewhat limits your options for navigating a MySpace user to your site.

Redirection

The first option for enabling this is to use MySpace’s own redirection system to bounce a request on to an external site, but considering their clampdown on other methods of external hyperlinking I suspect that this would not last long if they saw it being used heavily.

In case you do want to try your luck, this redirect URL seems to work for me: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cms.goto&_u=

To use it, URL Encode the URL you’d like to link to, and add it to the end of the URL above, for example: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cms.goto&_u=http%3a%2f%2fwww.google.com

Floating image

The second option for navigating users is to use CSS to carefully float a hyperlinked image that looks like part of your widget over your Flash object. This makes it seem like the Flash link is working but in fact it’s just a regular hyperlink. An example of that in action can be seen on the page TN links to in his comment below.

[Edited a little due to stupidity]

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JQuery and TiddlyWiki

Friday 24th August, 2007

I was shown this excellent JQuery menu effect today, which reminded me what a mind-numbingly great Javascript library it really is. In case you haven’t used it, or heard of it, JQuery is a remarkably light library (a quarter or less of the size of other popular libraries) that allows you to do some pretty impressive things.

While I was working for Moreover Technologies I developed an enterprise news search portal called Newsdesk, the UI of which was written entirely in Javascript. Converting those 6000 lines of Javascript to use JQuery saved us a lot of headaches and allowed us to cut down our file size by nearly 1/3, with plenty of optimisations still to be made. I am a huge fan.

If you want to download it or read documentation, visit the JQuery site. If you’ve heard of it but aren’t convinced, please read this open letter.

In my current job I’m no longer suffering from Javascript overload, so perhaps now is the time to dip my toes into the other curious development platform of the Javascript world, TiddlyWiki.


Transparency Through Community

Friday 24th August, 2007

I was in a meeting with some of the staff here at Justgiving (Firstgiving in the US) earlier this week and, amongst other things, we talked about honesty and transparency.

There seemed to agreement from everyone that we should strive to be completely straight with each other, with clients, and with our users. That got me to thinking that we should try to engage more with the people that we serve, in order to foster better relations, trust, and a flow of information that we can all benefit from.

Using my perspective as a developer here I think I can widen our existing blog communication to include people who are interested in technology and new products.

So, this is the beginning of my experiment, and my first blog post. I wonder if anyone will read it.