Apr 12 2007

Before I Forget

Category: Personal,WordPressChrisM @ 4:32 pm

I need to write a quick note on, and big thank you to the author of, wp-headlineanimator. To go straight to the plug in pages, check here and here.

I had a few problems with the configuration of this plug in, and contacted the author, asking for a little assistance.
A few days later, he contacted me via Skype, and explained the mistake I had made in defining the path to the font file I wished to use. We then hit another snag, apparently, my server doesn’t support EXIF detection. Oh no I thought, I’ll have to find an alternative (ha ha) plug in. NOPE!!! As we were chatting away (once I’d remembered to re-enable AGC in the mic input ) he re-wrote the plug in code and sent it to me. I was as happy as a pig in muck. (He’ll be including the modifications in the next release I believe)

For a demonstration of what the plug in actually achieves, see the graphic below.

OK, looks pretty, but I could have (eventually) knocked that up in PhotoShop, right? Wrong, that file isn’t static. That is to say, each time I add a new post, that picture will reflect that, and show the new post.
OK, great, but the point of it is…. ?

Well stop thinking about your own site, and think of the applications this image could have in the wider cyber-world…
e-mail signatures, forum sigs, anywhere you can refer to a URL, you can now have an enticing image that shows the readers your most recent posts. Whilst RSS feeds can achieve something simlair, most forums wouldn’t allow the sort of code required to be used in a sig, and this approach, once setup, works really well.

Although putting your site in a forum sig/mail sig is hardly new, having so much information packed in should certainly help your image&hyperlink to be noticed quicker than any other posters.

Stargazer kindly displays the code you need to use to show the graphic, hyperlinked to your site, in terms of HTML, and if you are using it in a forum sig, it is pretty much the same, you just need to remember to swap out the HTML tags for their BBCode equivalent.
so,

[a href=”http://www.yOuRsItEnAmE.com/”][img src=”http://www.yOuRsItEnAmE.com/wp-content/animator.gif”][/a]
(you’d need to change the square brackets [ ] for pointed < >, I swapped them to prevent WordPress from misinterpreting the text as script, can’t figure out how to tell WP to just plain ignore HTML tags right now)

becomes

[url=http://www.yOuRsItEnAmE.com/][img]http://www.yOuRsItEnAmE.com/wp-content/animator.gif[/img][/url]

I chose to add a small border to my template image, as the forums I use vary in colour themes, and without the border, the white background contrasts to greatly on dark-themed sites. I’ve still not figured out using a transparent PNG and keeping the transparency in the resulting GIF file, but I’m going to try and work on it a bit more before bothering the author again, quite so soon.

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