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New Feature: FeedBlitz Widgets

Monday, February 05, 2007

I am delighted to be able to announce the first FeedBlitz Widgets. These are widgets that allow you to bring elements of FeedBlitz to your site, and they join our existing widgets for Typepad and the new Blogger which simplify setting up email subscription services for those platforms.

The first FeedBlitz widgets are automated "blogroll" widgets. Basically, when added to your web siite or blog, they automatically publish your published syndications and / or your current public subscriptions in a list. As you add or remove subscriptions or syndications, the widget changes to match.

The widgets enable your subscribers to visit your favorite sites or publications, and to subscribe to them by email (using FeedBlitz, of course), or by RSS. The widgets also enable visitors to subscribe to the OPML / reading list version of the widget, so they'll automatically be subscribed to new content sources as you add them.

Privacy Protection

We understand that there may be some subscriptions (or indeed publications) that you don't want to have appear in your widget, if you choose to use it. This is important: we're not forcing you to display your subscriptions or publications; use of the widgets is entirely optional (and way cool, of course). Nor will using a widget reveal your email address or anything else. They're just automatic lists to new subscriptions.

So for publishers, if you have elected to keep your syndication out of the FeedAdvisor search results, that syndication won't appear in your publication (or subscription) widget.

For subscribers, we have added a new "privacy" setting. By default all subscriptions are public, which means the subscription blogroll widget will display them (again, only if you choose to use the widget and put it online somewhere). Simply check the privacy option on for your subscription and the widget will cease to display that subscription. Easy!

Note that whether a feed shows up in a widget is a function of the privacy setting for that feed. This is different from your privacy setting in your FeedBlitz profile, which shields your email address from your subscriptions' publishers.

Technically Speaking

The widgets are available as client side script or static HTML suitable for use in an inline frame. They are simple and fast, and shouldn't affect page rendering times significantly for the vast majority of web sites. Better yet, once you create a widget, it's cached for fast delivery. We also embed the widget with a well-defined style, so web design mavens can format it the way they want.

Hosted OPML

Basically, the widgets are built on internally generated OPML. We have chosen to make that OPML visible for widget users (it's linked to the OPML icon ). So you can now use FeedBlitz to not only share your OPML, but also host your OPML. Publishers who want an OPML service can now register with FeedBlitz, upload their OPML file and publish the widget!

See it in action

You can see live widgets right now on the FeedBlitz web site. Go to the publisher widgets page and you'll see all the FeedBlitz RSS feeds and subscriptions, published in a widget. (While you're there, why not subscribe?).

Similarly, the subscriptions widget (which can automatically create your blogrolls) on this page is also live. It's my public list. It's not a very interesting blogroll (hey, nobody said I was an interesting person!), but you get the idea. Neither widget comes with a pre-defined title, so if you want to entitle that part of your site as a "blogroll", "reading list" or "my crazy links" then you can. Choice is a Good Thing. And so are widgets.

Generate your widgets right now at www.feedblitz.com/f?widgetgen (log in required). And enjoy!

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