May 31, 2006
This article reprinted from the the TypePad Hacks Weblog. The original article can be found online:
© 2008, John T Unger
The MajikWidget poll I posted yesterday is now working (Yay!) so do please go cast a vote to let me know how comfortable you are working with template code. It will help me get a better idea of what kind of posts you enjoy.
I got an email back from their tech support team confirming my suspicions that you can use MajikWidget with TypePad blogs that aren't running on advanced templates. Just paste the Identity code that they provide into a notes TypeList and you'll be good to go. I was pretty sure that would work because I first saw MajikWidgets on Guy Kawasaki's blog and I know he runs his on basic templates. You can put it in an existing Typelist if you want— it's invisible, so it won't clutter up your sidebar.
Actually, for TypePad users it's a much better idea to put it in a TypeList anyway. If you were to put it in your template code, you'd have to make sure to add it to each index template and each archive template that generates pages where you might use a widget. The TypeList method is much quicker and easier.
Another note: When you generate code for a MajikWidget, it contains tags for height and width: You may need to edit these and then check them in preview mode. The reason the poll was only displaying half of the questions this morning was because the height tag generated by MajikWidget was not high enough to contain the entire poll. I sent an email off to their support team about five minutes ago and here is their response:
Tweaking of the code generator is happening as we speak. The height of the iFrame has been an element of contention around here. We have been working on ways to dynamically change the height of the iFrame from within the internal script but have been unsuccessful in making it work on all browsers. It's important to us to work on all browsers no matter what.
That's quick, guys! Very responsive.
So now that I've played with the toys, do I like them? Yes.
Tech support is quick and helpful. As stated on their site and their blog, they do take requests for new widgets which is very cool. And although the service is technically not free, it starts you out with enough credits in your account to really decide if it's worth paying for. If all you wanted was the poll widget, I'm guessing you could make the free credits last a long time before having to decide wether to go for the paid version.
I like the post rating widget and may go back and add it to the hacks tutorials (or just use it on new tutorials from now on). But the poll widget is definitely what I find most exciting so far. I've long wanted to be able to do polls on my blog, but the only free versions I could find required poll takers to submit their email address and I was not comfortable with that. Particularly since Bravenet sent me tons of unsolicited email when I signed up to use their polling script. I could only imagine what would have happened to any poor reader who had given out their email if I had actually used the Bravenet script before I got fed up with their emails. I feel like the people at MajikWidget are much more responsible in their approach. They collect a bare minimum of data to sign up for the service, and no info on the user end. They have a clear and reasonable fee structure for those that continue past the free trial credits. And actually, I think their subscription model of using credits for each instance of putting a widget on a blog is pretty brilliant. It's reminiscent of micropayments except that, since the credits are bundled it's far more likely to work for them.
Can't wait to see what they come up with next!