Saturday, September 13, 2008

About the FLH: DejaNews, FrontPage, Google Reader, feeds, iframes and more

I admit, I'm proud of our Family news page -- the Faughnan-Lagace Herald. It was first launched around 1998 or so and is still edited in FrontPage 98 (the last good version, it will die when my XP box goes).

There have been about four major revisions, but the core table layout has been pretty stable for at least 8 years. It worked when our monitor were 640x480, and it works at 1600x1200.

The actual links haven't changed that much. The New York Times and BBC, for example, don't break their URLs very often.

In addition to the news and functional links (stamps, refuse) there are a few of interest. There's a link to my custom searches (love 'em) and my under-appreciated hack (I tag usenet messages with a unique string, then find all my messages through a simple search. I did this first with DejaNews, but it works just as well with Google Groups. Good way to find responses.).

Which brings me to the latest development. Four years ago, for the third edition of the Faughnan-Lagace Herald, I integrated my Bloglines blogroll into this page by first instantiating the blogroll in a hidden page, then embedding that page in an IFRAME. It worked very well; within the fixed IFRAME window the blogroll was a good match to the page.

Now, of course, I've moved to Google Reader, shared posts, mobile reader, multiple feeds, gadgets, etc. It took me a few tries, but I've figured out all the pieces to embed both my Google Reader Feed and Google Shared Posts into the previous infrastructure (click for larger image):

There are a few moving parts here, but if you look at the page source and my 2004 post you ought to be able to figure out how it works (see also the two hidden pages: blogroll.html and google_share.html).

The links that show above the scrolling areas, and the javascript on the hidden pages, all come from Google Reader. Unfortunately it's not at all obvious how to find them all. Here are some tips, though the locations are likely to change:
  • Creating the blogroll for this page: Google Reader feeds can belong to multiple categories/tags/lists/folders. In addition to the organization I use for reading my feeds, I created FLN for those I show here. GR provides various search and tagging tools to make this quick and easy.
  • Blogroll JavaScript for the hidden blogroll.html page: Manage Subscriptions Folders and Tags.
  • Blogroll Link to the dynamic web page expanded view: Manage Subscriptions Folders and Tags.
  • Blogroll Link to a feed for the specific blogroll: View the public page for the feed in Firefox (Chrome doesn't support this.). Click the icon for the feed. You'll see a page with that includes an atom feed URL. (These two URLS are very similar btw, they differ only by a few characters.)
  • Shared Post Javascript for the hidden google_share.html page: Click on your shared items folder, you'll see a link that says something like "add a clip to your web site ...".
  • Shared Post link to the dynamic web page expanded view: Click on your shared items folder, you'll see a link that says something like "at this web page".
  • Shared Post feed: View the dynamic web page (as above) in Firefox. Click on the Feed icon. You'll get a page that includes the atom feed URL.

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