Introducing the CakePHP SecurImage Component

I’ve just released a CakePHP Component for displaying CAPTCHA images in your CakePHP based applications.

The component is fairly easy to integrate into your projects and displays dynamically generated CAPTCHA images each time the page loads. You can grab the component from here or from its GitHub repository.

The component requires the SecurImage Captcha Library to function properly.

Details about installation and usage of the component (along with code samples) can be found on it’s homepage.

Any comments / suggestions are most welcome.

Introducing “Shunya”

I take great pleasure in introducing Shunya – a brand new blog of mine.

Shunya is my second blog and is primarily going to be a reflection of my experiences as a webmaster at the Stamford International University as well as some of the choicest picks on numerics & computing.

How to display FeedBurner Feed Subscriber Count on a custom graphical background

Feed CountHere’s a nice trick I learnt a couple of days back. I wanted to display my feed subscriber count in a way that would match my site’s theme. I was tired of the vanilla feed-count display provided by FeedBurner – probably because you can find it on almost every other site these days (and I wanted something unique). So I got down to designing one on my own and I’m going to show you how to do the same for your site.

I won’t go into any lengthy (step-by-step) discussion on creating the graphical background – that’s something that’ll be your call. But I’ll teach you the core idea – fetching the feed-count from FeedBurner’s server using their API and displaying it on your site.

The Graphical Part

First and foremost, you need to decide on what kind of a display you want – small or large, dark or light. For example, I chose to display mine on a black background with medium sized font (see my RSS box at the top of the page). Depending on your background, you’ll need to either create or find a suitable RSS icon. You can find some excellent tutorials on creating feed icons here, here and here. Alternatively, you can download a whole bunch of free icons from here.

As a starter fire up your favourite graphics editor (Adobe Fireworks for me). For simplicity’s sake we’ll follow the same approach as I did with my feed-count box. Draw a black rectangle with rounded corners. Place your feed icon in a suitable place. Then draw another smaller rounded rectangle inside the earlier one, but with a lighter stroke colour (say white). This will be the container where you display your feed-count. You can throw in some fancy glow / shadow effects as you like. We should get something that approximately resembles the following image.

Feed Count Container Graphics

The image shown above was created with Fireworks and is an editable layered PNG file. If you’re using Fireworks, you can very well download this one (Right Click on it > Save Image), use it as a starting point and add/edit/resize it according to your preferences.

The Coding Part

You need to ensure that your web-host offers cURL (as an extension of PHP). By default, 90% of the web-hosts do – so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Secondly, the FeedBurner Awareness API (for your feeds) should be turned on. If you have been using the Feed Count feature of FeedBurner – then it IS already turned on. If not, you can login into your FeedBurner account, select the Publicize tab for the appropriate feed and activate this service. Once you’ve made sure of these two factors, we can progress to the actual coding.

Here’s the code you’ve going to need.

// Get FeedBurner Subscription Count - using FeedBurner Awareness API
function get_feedburner_count( $uri, $display = 'true', $format = 'true' ) {

	// Construct URL
	$apiurl = "http://api.feedburner.com/awareness/1.0/GetFeedData?uri=" . $uri;

	// Initialize the Curl session
	$ch = curl_init();

	// Set curl to return the data instead of printing it to the browser.
	curl_setopt( $ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1 );
	// Set the URL
	curl_setopt( $ch, CURLOPT_URL, $apiurl );
	// Execute the fetch
	$data = curl_exec( $ch );
	// Close the connection
	curl_close($ch);

	// Parse XML
	try {
		@$xml = new SimpleXMLElement($data);
		$fcount = $xml->feed->entry['circulation'];
	} catch ( Exception $ex ) {
		// echo 'Caught exception: ',  $ex->getMessage(), "n";
		$fcount = "?????";
	}

	// Display or Return, Formatted or Unformatted
	if( $display ) {
		if( $format )
			echo number_format( $fcount, 0, '.', ',' );
		else
			echo $fcount;
	}
	else
		return $fcount;

}

If you’re wondering where you’re going to add this code without messing up your theme – almost all modern WordPress themes have this file named functions.php, which contains the functions essential for registering the sidebar, tweaking specific WordPress routines etc. You can add this code to that file and it’ll be made available for calling from anywhere inside your theme.

The function is called get_feedburner_count() and accepts three parameters – two of which are optional. Here’s an explanation of the parameters…

  1. $uri – This is a mandatory parameter. If you don’t specify this one, the function won’t be able to fetch the feed count. The URI is the name you chose to represent your feed on FeedBurner. For example – my feed url is, http://feeds.feedburner.com/ChaosLaboratory. That makes my URI, ChaosLaboratory. This is what needs to be specified here.
  2. $display – This is an optional parameter. It takes up the values true or false. I have modelled this function on the lines of the general WordPress template functions – which means that the function is able to either display the feed-count directly, OR return it to you for further processing. If you don’t specify any value here, it’ll default to displaying the feed-count.
  3. $format – This too is an optional parameter and takes up either true or false. By default it is set to true. This tells the function to pass the feed-count through another formatting function, which adds a digit-grouping comma to it for every thousandth place. The formatting occurs on Line 31 of the code and you can modify that line to reflect any sort of formatting you want.

A typical call the function can look like,
get_feedburner_count( 'ChaosLaboratory' ); – this will print out the formatted feed-count directly

OR

$fcount = get_feedburner_count( 'ChaosLaboratory', false, false ); – this will fetch the raw (non-formatted) feed count and store it in a variable called $fcount. This doesn’t print the figure directly to the screen, but leaves it at your disposal for further processing

OR any variation thereof.

Now, we need to apply some styling to that background image we created so that the feed-count is aligned properly.

Note: I applied the styling on an anchor (link) tag, since I wanted to make the whole image clickable, so as to provide a way of subscribing to my feeds too. Here’s an example…

a#feedcount {
	display:block;
	width:120px;
	height:26px;
	margin:0;
	padding:5px 10px 5px 0;
	background:url(images/bg-feed.png) no-repeat transparent;
	color:#D6D6D6;
	font-size:2em;
	font-weight:bold;
	text-align:right;
	text-decoration:none;
}

Points to note here: On Line 1, I’ve declared display:block. This is necessary, since the a tag by default is an inline element – which means, it collapses to the exact width of the text contained in the anchor. This is not desirable here as we’re attaching the background image to the a tag, and we want it to adapt to the exact proportions of it (specified in Lines 3 & 4). I’ve aligned the feed-count text to the right (Line 11) and used a padding of 10px on the right (Line 6) so as to leave a comfortable gap from the right edge of the graphics.

The code-block above can be added to your template’s stylesheet file or in the header.php within style tags – depends on you. For me, I prefer to keep all the styling in one place, i.e. the stylesheet file.

Adding it to your template

Now that we’ve got all the code in the right place, it’s time to add it to the template. Open up the appropriate file (header or index) – where you want to display the feed-count and add the following lines…


	< ?php get_feedburner_count( "YOUR_FEED_URI" ); ?>

And that’s it! That should display your feed count with the custom graphical background and make the image clickable too, to act as a feed subscription button. The final effect should look like the following…
FeedBurner Feed Count with Graphical Background

Any questions / clarifications, feel free to write back.

Stripemania: A free online striped background generator for your site

Stripemania LogoEver felt like giving your site’s theme a cool, striped look but didn’t know how to go about it? Are the graphics tutorials on stripes too complex for you to follow? Here’s you quick and dirty way out. Stripemania is a free online tool that generates striped background images for use with your site’s theme in just a couple of quick, easy steps.

The interface is pretty simple. To get your desired stripe, you choose the width of the stripes, the distance between each stripe, orientation and a couple of colours and hit refresh. Thats it! Your custom stripe is ready to download. If you don’t like vanilla stripes (alternating coloured stripes) – you can choose multiple gradients for the stripes and get some pretty snazzy effects. There’s a quick full-screen preview option that lets you test your background out even before you download it.

Stripemania Screenshot

Stripemania falls within the recent Web 2.0 genre of online graphics design tools and is one of the better designed tools in this category and pretty much devoid of the ubiquitous AJAX timeout errors. It’s a must-add in any aspiring web-designer’s toolbox.

Now you can get the digital editions of MSDN Magazine and Dr. Dobbs Journal for free

For all the coders – here a piece of good news. The digital editions of MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) Magazine and Dr. Dobbs Journal can now be subscribed to for free. While the MSDN Mag is all about Microsoft related technologies, Dr. Dobbs covers virtually any and every mainstream programming language & platform. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if one refers to it as the best (overall) coding mag. I’ve had my eyes on this one ever since I started coding some 14 years back – but the exorbitant subscription rates prevented me from getting them on a regular basis so far.

MSDN Magazine Dr. Dobbs Journal

Subscribing to these free digital editions is as easy as clicking on this link, logging in with your Windows Live ID and following the instructions. If you haven’t come across these magazines earlier on, you can view some samples here and here.

And yeah – if you happen to be an Indian coder – I’d advice you to run for it as there are ongoing XBOX 360 / Zune sweepstakes where your name’s entered automatically, as long as you subscribe prior to October 15th, 2007.

Found via: Digital Inspiration, Get Dr. Dobbs Journal and MSDN Magazine (Digital Editions) for free

LiveSig: WordPress Plug-in for automatic insertion of graphical signatures generated by MyLiveSignature at the end of each post

MyLiveSignature LogoLorelle’s signature has always stood out as a beautiful example of calligraphy and adds a different dimension to her blog by effortlessly imbibing that much-needed “personal touch” to all her posts. That signature in question has intrigued me since I came upon her blog quite sometime back and I’ve wanted one of my own ever since. Incidentally, if you’re not in the know, Lorelle’s blog is one of the most valuable resource of WordPress and blogging in general out there on the web.

Lorelle's Signature Graphics

However, the ardent desire to own one never really materialised as I’m one of those “graphically challenged” folks 😀 No amount of time spent with an ultra steady hand at the mouse was good enough for me to conjure one – that is, till MyLiveSignature came to my rescue. MyLiveSingature was a chance discovery while I was browsing through some random sites and if you will, ‘I’ve never been so grateful’ for a particular bit of information as this. The site allows anyone to create fancy virtual signatures that can be appended to emails, blog posts, forums signatures and what not. To top it all, these signatures so totally look like real life hand-scribed signatures.

How to go about getting one for yourself?

To start with you’ve register yourself with MyLiveSignature, which comes for free. The site sports a nice web based wizard interface that allows you to choose between 120+ fonts as well as a wide variety of parameters like size, colour, slope etc. all of which combine to render a singature that bears a very close resemblance to your real-life one.

Does this really come for free?

Animated MyLiveSignatureYup. Pretty much so. The basic signature generation service is absolutely free. However, if you wish, for a nominal price ($19.95) you can get yourself an animated signature designed by the professional animators at MyLiveSignature. They also offer a graphical reconstruction service (of your real-life signature) if you prefer that to the computer generated one. This too is a viable option which comes for a meagre $9.95 – but then again the availability of extremely cheap yet high-resolution scanners makes this service kind of redundant.

What’s all this got to do with a WordPress plug-in?

This is where I step in. Following Lorelle’s tracks, I wanted to add that personal touch to all my posts. MyLiveSignature provides you with the HTML code that displays your signature virtually anywhere on a site. If you know even a bit about the inner workings of WordPress, it’d be easy for you to edit the template and include this code in the “loop” to make it appear after each of your posts… but nothing like a simple plug-in which does the same for you without ever requiring you to do any messy template editing.

LiveSig is a WordPress plug-in that automatically inserts your MyLiveSignature code after each of your WordPress posts making it seem like each post has been personally signed by you.

Current Version

  • 0.4

Features

  • Once the MyLiveSignature HTML code has been fed into the plug-in, the plug-in appends your virtual signature at the end of each of your posts.
  • Multi-author blogs are supported. However, as of now, only a user whose Role permits changing of plug-in settings (namely, Administrator) can setup the signatures for individual users. The LiveSig Options page isn’t available to non-admin users (Editors / Authors / Contributors).

Requirements

  • WordPress 2.1.x – but should function properly with the 2.0.x line too.

Download

[download id=”1″]

Installation

Once downloaded, simply…

  • Unzip & Copy the plug-in file into your WordPress plug-ins folder.
  • Activate the plug-in from the Plug-in Manager in WordPress.
  • Visit the Options / Settings menu and find a new item called LiveSig. Click on that to get to the LiveSig Options page. Once there simply select an appropriate user, enter the corresponding MyLiveSignature code and hit Save.

Showcase (the plug-in in action)

Subversion Repository

Change Log

  • Version 0.4 (2008-05-25)
    • Added the option to be able to specify Signature Placement – i.e. at the end of posts on the blog’s front page, at the end of individual posts (single mode) or for both.
    • Removed jQuery library that was being bundled with the plug-in. Since this plug-in uses jQuery only in the administration / configuration interface and in such cases jQuery is provided by WordPress itself, there was no need to include a jQuery release and increase the size of the bundle. Apart from that, inclusion of jQuery twice (once by WP and then by LiveSig) was causing a minor JS Warning to be thrown. That has been eliminated now.
  • Version 0.2.5 (2008-05-19)
    • Minor fix in the UI (Administration Panel) – where the list of users didn’t clear out while selecting a different Roles – in cases, where that particular Role didn’t have any users belonging to it.
  • Version 0.2 (2008-05-19)
    • Added multi-author support. If a blog has more than 1 author, LiveSig can display singatures that are unique to each in appropriate posts.

Please Note

I offer support for my plug-ins via the Chaos Laboratory Support Forum only. I will NOT respond to support queries left in the comment section below and, in most cases, will also not publish them. Of course, if you’d like to say something nice or helpful, feel free to leave a comment!

If you find this plug-in useful, please consider making a donation towards further development of this useful little utility.


Alternatively, you can help me by reviewing this post by clicking on the following link. Believe it or not, this will help us both earn some cash from PayPerPost.

MyLiveSignature found via: Freakitude Technology Blog

TailHitter: WordPress Plug-in for automatic insertion of HitTail code in all posts & pages of your blog

The HitTail CycleI’ve been using HitTail for a while now and it has helped me quite a bit along the way in optimising my site / content in order to get increased “natural” search hits. For those who didn’t know, HitTail is a free service that reveals in real-time the least utilized, most promising keywords hidden in the Long Tail of your natural search results. It present these terms to you as suggestions that when acted on can boost the natural search results of your site.

HitTail does it’s job through a tracking code that you’ve to implement in your site. One of the problems I faced along the way was that whenever I changed my WordPress theme, I had to insert the HitTail tracking code manually in each theme’s footer. Trust me when I say it can get really tiresome after a while. There was this one occasion (following a theme switch) when my HitTail stats stopped updating altogether. After much deliberation I figured that while I’d reactivated all my other plug-ins, I’d forgotten to insert the tracking code in my new template. If only I had some plug-in doing the same for me automatically every time, it’d be oh-so-convenient. Hence I did some quick research into plug-ins that insert code into WordPress headers & footers and came up with this one.

Current Version

  • 0.4 (Beta)

Features

  • Inserts the HitTail tracking code into all the posts & pages of your blog automatically.
  • Extremely easy to setup – all you need to do is save the tracking code (provided as is by HitTail) in the plug-in options page.
  • Removal of tracking code is as easy as overwriting the saved one with a blank field.

Requirements

  • WordPress 2.1.x – but should function properly with the 2.0.x line too.

Download

[download id=”2″]

Installation

Once downloaded, simply…

  • Unzip & Copy the plug-in file into your WordPress plug-ins folder.
  • Activate the plug-in from the Plug-in Manager in WordPress.
  • Visit the Options menu and find a new item called TailHitter. Click on that to get to the TailHitter Options page. Once there simply enter your HitTail tracking code and hit Update.

.. and you’re done.

Subversion Repository

Change Log

  • Version 0.4 (2007-03-15)
    • Fixed a major bug that caused the tracking code to be echo-ed out without stripping off the slashes, resulting in invalid JS code that never polled the HitTail service at all. – Thanks to Marcos for pointing it out.
  • Version 0.3 (2007-03-15)
    • Fixed a minor bug that caused incorrect version reporting in WordPress plug-ins management panel.
  • Version 0.2 (2007-03-15)
    • Set the priority of the plug-in to be very low – in effect achieving what HitTail wants, i.e., the HitTail code is now inserted right at the end of the footer. Thanks for George, who runs the G-Loaded (and is an experienced WP Plug-in author) blog for providing valuable advice in this matter.

Please Note

I offer support for my plug-ins via the Chaos Laboratory Support Forum only. I will NOT respond to support queries left in the comment section below and, in most cases, will also not publish them. Of course, if you’d like to say something nice or helpful, then feel free to leave a comment!

Unitary: An Ajax based Units Converter Sidebar Widget for WordPress

A brief intro…

This sidebar widget serves as a quick Units Conversion tool – i.e. perform conversions Unitary Screenshotbetween various units of length, area, volume, speed etc., while sitting smugly in the sidebar of widget enabled WordPress blogs. This widget came in rapid succession of curreX (the Currency Converter) and the idea came off a comment by David Bradley at the Weblog Tools Collection blog. Since I’m fairly new to WordPress widget development, I thought why not try my hands at this… and here I am with the first stable release of the same.

Just of a side-note, my venture into the whole PHP-JavaScript-AJAX scene is quite recent. Till now I’d limited myself to mainstream coding on .NET. I find this all new journey really enlightening and am pretty proud of myself at having been able to churn out perfectly working some cool-tools, starting entirely from scratch. Thanks to all those who’ve provided me with ample encouragement to take a steady step in this direction. Once again, as always, I am not perfect. I cannot stress on the fact how important your comments & feedback are in order for me to carry on further with such development work.

Current Version

  • 0.5

Features

  • Converts between hundreds of common & uncommon Units of Length, Area, Volume, Weight / Mass, Speed etc. More unit types to be announced in future.
  • Operates in Basic and Extended mode (which can be set from the Sidebar Widgets Control Panel of WordPress). The Basic mode limits the conversions to the more common & well-known units – thus making it more intuitive and user-friendly. However, the Extended mode makes available for conversions, a far wider array of units (including loads of lesser-known ones). This is meant for blogs which cater to a more scientifically advanced audience.
  • Precision (number of digits after Decimal Point) can be fixed for the converted results.
  • It employs an AJAX back-end, i.e. the conversions are performed without having to refresh the whole page, making the tool really lightweight & fast. Looks cool too.

Requirements

Download

[download id=”4″]

Installation

Installation couldn’t get any easier. Once downloaded, simply…

  1. Copy the extracted folder named curreX into your WordPress plug-ins folder.
  2. Activate the plug-in from the Plug-in Manager in WordPress.
  3. Visit the Sidebar Widgets page under Presentation menu to drag & drop the widget onto any sidebar you desire.

That’s it!

Showcase (the widget in action)

Subversion Repository

Change Log

  • Version 0.5 (2007-03-22)
    • Fixed an Internet Explorer specific bug that caused the units selection drop-down boxes to become blank (unfilled with any unit data) when a unit type was chosen from the first drop-down. The widget now works uniformly across both Internet Explorer & Firefox. All thanks to Náiron J. C. G for the IE-DOM+JavaScript based solution.
  • Version 0.4 (2007-03-15)
    • Fixed a minor bug that caused incorrect version reporting in WordPress plug-ins management panel.
  • Version 0.3 (2007-03-15)
    • Made minor adjustments in the layout of the plug-in resulting in smoother cross-browser rendering.
    • Renamed a bunch of plug-in related variables to avoid name collision with other plug-ins.
  • Version 0.2 (2007-03-14)
    • Included prototype.js with this distribution – as the plug-in wasn’t functioning properly on non-prototype based themes.
    • Fixed minor layout problems of fixed width form fields which was causing the layout to be distorted under different resolutions (read Sidebar width).

Please Note

I offer support for my plug-ins via the Chaos Laboratory Support Forum only. I will NOT respond to support queries left in the comment section below and, in most cases, will also not publish them. Of course, if you’d like to say something nice or helpful, then feel free to leave a comment!

curreX: AJAX Based Currency Converter Widget for WordPress

A brief intro…

Past few weeks I’ve been extremely busy designing a Property Investment site for a client. The primary requirement was a custom CMS (Content Management System) – which I had to build from scratch. While it drove me over the edge at times overall it was a thoroughly curreX Screenshotenjoyable as well as an educational journey for me. Since this is a site that caters to foreign investors, one of the requirements was a Currency Conversion Calculator which could be embedded in any of the articles thus providing the visitors an opportunity to get an idea of the property prices in their native currencies, without having to leave the page. At first I sought the easy way out – i.e. I searched far & wide for a currency calculator service that’d allow me to convert between almost any of the world currencies. Unfortunately the free ones out there are really pathetic and the my client wasn’t willing to shell out any $$ for a paid service. That got me down to designing one on my own. I’ve been dabbling in AJAX for a while now and find the whole idea of RIA (Rich Internet Application) really attractive. So I decided to walk the AJAX way and came up with this cool-tool. Once done with the main project, I was so satisfied with the result that I thought it’d be a really good idea to convert it into a sidebar widget for WordPress. So here I am, with curreX – the Ajax based Currency Converter for WordPress.

Current Version

  • 0.9

Features

  • The widget is very simple and does exactly what it’s supposed to do. It accepts a currency value (integer or decimal) and a source & destination currency and gives you the converted rate once you hit the Convert button.
  • It employs an AJAX back-end, i.e. the conversions are performed without having to refresh the whole page, making the tool really lightweight & fast. Looks cool too.
  • Performs client-side validation of the amount entered – thus cutting out chances of entering an erroneous value and crashing the calc. midway while performing a conversion.

Requirements

Download

[download id=”3″]

Installation

Installation couldn’t get any easier. Once downloaded, simply…

  1. Unzip the archive.
  2. Copy the extracted folder named curreX into your WordPress plug-ins folder.
  3. Activate the plug-in from the Plug-in Manager in WordPress.
  4. Visit the Sidebar Widgets page under Presentation menu to drag & drop the widget onto any sidebar you desire.

That’s it…

For those who’re using curreX with non-widget-enabled themes, you should insert the function
< ? show_currex( default_from, default_to, decimal_places, type, title ); ?>
in an appropriate place. For further details on this function & it’s parameters, refer to the FAQs section of the readme.txt bundled in the distribution.

Demonstration

A live demonstration of this can be found under the Coding section of my blog. Though the implementation of the demo is slightly different (it’s hard-coded into in a page), it should give you an idea on what the widget can do.

Showcase (the widget in action)

  • GoBackpacking
  • Hua-Hin Live – A customised version of the plug-in can be seen in action in the property list pages, once you’ve searched for properties

Subversion Repository

Change Log

  • Version 0.9 (2008-06-22)
    • Added Flash based Widget support. Now one has the option of choosing between the HTML/JavaScript version or the Flash version from the widget configuration panel of WordPress.
    • The structure of the show_currex() function (for non widget-enabled themes) has changed slightly too – to support embedding of the flash widget.
  • Version 0.8 (2008-06-19)
    • While releasing version 0.7 I had made some changes in the path structure (reference to any additional files that were loaded in the background) – and I messed up a bit there. As a result, the core javascript module that fetched the conversion rates and performed the calculations wasn’t loading properly.
    • Fixed some minor CSS issues. Now the look & feel of the widget can be modified in its entirety through the accompanying CSS file.
  • Version 0.7 (2008-05-16)
    • Added the functionality to display curreX in non-widget-enabled themes too (by popular demand). Till version 0.6, this plug-in could only be used in the form of a widget with widget-enabled themes.
  • Version 0.6 (2008-05-11)
    • This is a complete port to jQuery. Decided to finalise on one ajax library and jQuery emerged the winner. No more Protoculous for me.
    • Split out the styling into a separate CSS file. Anyone with even a bit of CSS knowledge, can now easily alter the looks of the widget without having to touch the core code file(s).
    • Implemented BlockUI – a jQuery plugin that blocks the widget interface while performing a currency conversion routine (ajax based).
    • Included a HELP option, that leads directly to the Chaos-Lab Forums (curreX Subforum)
  • Version 0.5 (2007-09-21)
    • Minor fix – but at the same time a major one from the perspective of functionality. The back-end URL for fetching conversion data from Yahoo! Finance had changed from finance.yahoo.com to download.finance.yahoo.com. This caused the plug-in to generate a message saying “Error contacting Yahoo! Finance” and not work at all. Thanks to Lia Johnston for pointing me to the correct URL.
  • Version 0.4 (2007-03-15)
    • Fixed a minor bug that caused incorrect version reporting in WordPress plug-ins management panel.
  • Version 0.3 (2007-03-15)
    • Bundled prototype.js library along with the distribution instead of relying on a theme to have it. This way the latest version of prototype can always be bundled along with.
    • Made some minor changes in the layout for smoother functionality & improvement of looks.
    • Renamed a bunch of plug-in related variables to avoid name collision with other plug-ins.
  • Version 0.2 (2007-03-05)
    • Fine tuned the widget. Now the currency unit values are written off an array instead of the ungainly manual approach that was being used earlier on. This reduced the file-size of the main plug-in considerably despite adding new code.
    • Added the configuration section. One can now set the default currency units to be displayed when the widget loads (from & to).
    • Added a Decimal Place option, which defines the number of decimal places to show in the converted result.

Please Note

I offer support for my plug-ins via the Chaos Laboratory Support Forum only. I will NOT respond to support queries left in the comment section below and, in most cases, will also not publish them. Of course, if you’d like to say something nice or helpful, then feel free to leave a comment!

If you find this plug-in useful, please consider making a donation towards further development of this useful little utility.


Alternatively, you can help me by reviewing this post by clicking on the following link. Believe it or not, this will help us both earn some cash from PayPerPost.

Looking for custom AJAX animated “loading” icons? Ajaxload creates them for you, free

AjaxLoad LogoNowadays every second site you see employs some form or AJAX or the other – either wholly or in parts. With the old-school model of refreshing the whole page a visitor had always had a clear-cut indication that he/she is supposed to wait till the page-load is complete. That’s one respect AJAX seriously lacks in. In short there’s no way for the user to know if the application is actually performing some task in the background or simply stuck infinitely. Hence, with AJAX based sites, you’ve to manually implement some sort of visual indicator that tells the viewer to wait for a while till the processing gets completed.

For totally minimalistic interfaces like GMail, a simple “Loading…” message does the job. But if you’re one of those who want to provide some eye-candy action to your visitors to keep them amused, you need to implement one of those fancy animated loading indicators that’s become a common sight in many sites these days. Under such circumstances, you’ve two viable options:

  1. Take up the tedious job of actually creating one using one of the standard graphics editing + animation package combo.
  2. Rip it off some other site 😀

If you’re artistically challenged like me, the first option is entirely out of question. The second one is the easier way out. However, it presents you with a potential problem – the colour palette (specially the background) might not match with yours, thus rendering it in form of an ugly block.

If you’re wondering as to what’s your “easy” way out here, no need to think too hard. Ajaxload.info is a brand new free service that does the same for you for free. Ajaxload itself it a AJAX based site with a simple interface that consists of a dropdown box with a pretty sizeable list of such animated indicators. Apart from that there are colour palette selection boxes through which you can specify the background & foreground colours of the indicator. Once you’re done with configuring, just hit Generate and your customised indicator appears in the Preview window, ready for download. There’s a touch of humour to the site in form of a “Beta” logo which makes mockery of the whole Web 2.0 Beta genre of web-apps. Here’s a screenshot…

Ajaxload Screenshot

Here are examples of the most downloaded indicators.

 

Ajaxload Most Downloaded Indicators

Try it out for yourself. It’s cool & it’s free…

Found via: New Earth Online