Widgets, bitch!

I am the very definition of lazy.

Case in point: I pulled three all-nighters in two weeks in order to allow our widget partners to do the work of pimping my Tagged profile with

which is a round-about way of saying:

Before this I was working on infrastructure. The problem with infrastructure is nobody can see it. Widgets on the other hand…

(Both of the above widgets were created through our widget partner RockYou! which is co-founded by my sometimes Ultimate teammate, Jia Shen.)

[More widgets after the jump.]

Slide

Of course, besides RockYou! there is the more ubiquitous, PayPal-alum-founded Slide which I chose over RockYou! for (what else) slide shows. Actually, the real reason is the Slide widget automatically grabbed my Tagged photos (via API) as well allows me to add some from my Flickr account. Cake:

The big two

Of course we support YouTube videos and Photobucket videos and images (in the compose for Journals and Comments). But since I’m not into either, I’m going to skip a discussion of them.

Something a little funny about this is that we don’t support photos from our own photo section or video from our own video section. I suppose this can be forgiven because our photo section stinks (I’m a photographer… this is embarassing) and our video section just launched last month! Hopefully I can fix this in the coming months.

Can you hear me now?

Rounding out the other partners for this release are Snapvine and Jangl

Jangl basically allows other people to call you without you giving them their phone number. Instead, they type in their phone number into the widget and it dials both of you and locally to establish a connection. At Plaxo there was a company based on a similar platform called Jajah that did the same thing only through Plaxo’s website and without a widget. This gets gets me thinking: what is it with these typo-prone web-phone integration services beginning with the letter J? (And just in case you don’t believe me, there is another company doing widgets called Jaxtr but we don’t care about them because they’re not integrated with Tagged. Boo! Hiss!)

It was a breeze to create a Jangl widget through Tagged’s “Add A Widget” link, which I placed on mywall: a new section in your Tagged profile that has been specially designated to hold widgets, a lot like Bebo’s implementation:

I couldn’t get Snapvine to round trip. Odds are I forgot to send them the memo where I mentioned that I improperly documented the URL of the API callback (whoops!). But since the “paste html code” functionality works, I was able to add that widget also:

Think of Snapvine is either a public version of a web-based voice mail or as a audio version of a props/comments/wall. I don’t know. It’s cool stuff nonetheless.

The API

I know you’re thinking: API? Where? Well I didn’t have enough time to write the key component that would make this an open API, but I promise to do this for the next release. There’s no point in pointing you to the documentation right now if there is nothing you can do with it.

But yes, I wrote the API, documented it (mostly correctly), and coded the entire API up: it does exist and it’s going to kick some ass. Just be a little patient. I only started coding this stuff two weeks ago as I was working on some scalability issues before this. Plus, we’re not eating our own dogfood yet.

If you saw it, you’d probably say it’s not half bad for two weeks of work. :-)

Beyond animation

Slide and RockYou actually have interactive widgets. My two favorites are Slide’s guestbook:

and RockYou’s corkboard:

Why? Because they’re fun to make viral…

Being a viral vector

I hope the copy feature in Tagged gets a lot of use, which is basically a copy of the way it works on Bebo, only a lot more functional and ajaxy because that’s how we roll. Here is how it works.

  1. Log into Tagged
  2. Go to my profile page
  3. Find a widget you like. Personally, I chose Greg’s I <B Tagged comment widget which I copied from Greg’s wall to mine:
  4. Click “Copy” right above it.
  5. Choose “to MyWall”
  6. It should say it is copying…
  7. Admire all the hard work you did by visiting your profile later. :-)

Making your widgets viral

This part I really like. It exploits a feature unique to Tagged and I came up with this particular use for the feature myself:

  1. Go to your profile page.
  2. Create a widget somewhere on your profile by choosing “Add A Widget”
  3. Go to someone else’s profile page
  4. Click “Add a Comment” in their Comments box
  5. Click the “My Widgets” tab
  6. Select the widget you created

I combined this idea with the guestbook widget and the “being a viral vector” by adding the comment:

I got another one. Add yourself to the widget below and then copy it to your profile. Then use it to comment on other people’s profiles. Viral guestbook! :-D

It worked: Greg copied it to his About Me section which is causing a lot of people to post to it. Which reminds me, add yourself to my guestbook, biatch!

Comments

Tagged has always allowed html in comments, but now that has been combined with widgets as I mentioned above. Right now, other than that My Widget tab, you’ll see a tab to easily add a photo, RockYou! GlitterText and FunNotes.

This uses an obscure, but truly kick-ass Ajax pattern known as “Javascript Wormhole” that Joseph Smarr came up with when we were working at Plaxo. When I get some free time, I’ll write this down in the spec so other business API partners will be able to leverage this cool feature. Also, I should blog about how the Wormhole works, because it seems that a lot of people don’t really get it.

Thanks!

Thanks to the entire team at Tagged as well as the people at Jangl, RockYou!, Slide, and Snapvine. You did some amazing work (make me look good) and make making widgets fun. :-)

4 thoughts on “Widgets, bitch!”

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