Monday, August 07, 2006

Blog Widgets

After spending time working with the LibraryThing widget builder, I have decided my new favorite blog toy, sorry technology, is widgets. What are widgets? In Using Web Widgets Wisely, Part 1, Jodi Bollaert defines web widgets as:

"A Web widget is a nifty name for a variety of controls that can be used in Web forms, dialogs, and wizards to elicit information from users. "
- J. Bollaert, June 1, 2002

Though the article does not specifically detail the use of widgets in blogs, the web widget definition is one of the best I found. The script is now developed for blog use; create more blog traffic, advertise on a blog, organize topics on a blog, or just for fun. Some of the resources I found for blog or web widgets are:

Friday afternoon I decided I wanted to have a cloud on my blog in the form of a widget. The first hurdle to jump in that regard was the many different "tags," so to speak, attached to the cloud widget. There are tag clouds, word clouds, author clouds, information clouds, and all other means of clouds (some even attached to blogs). Many of the tag or word clouds offered are for a price, specifically advertising in nature. Since I simply wanted a new toy for my blog, I searched a bit more and found ZoomClouds.

ZoomClouds is a free service utilizing your blog feed, rss or atom, to generate the tag cloud. It is a quick and simple process; create an account with username and email, provide the feed for your blog, and create the cloud to your specifications including color, size of cloud, and font size. The whole process took less than five minutes and I had a tag cloud/zoom cloud to add to my blog this morning.

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