August 17, 2007

My new scrolling headlines widget

I have now changed this widget to a new improved version. Please check out this post instead for details of the new widget, which is much easier to use and customize than the one discussed in the remainder of this post.

To create a "pausing RSS scroller", I downloaded and modified a package from Dynamic Drive Scripts, which includes both Javascript and PHP files. The PHP files are needed to parse the RSS feed, while the Javascripts convert the feed into the scroller you see in my sidebar. I also added some styling elements to my blog template in order to make the scroller more attractive.

Since the scripts would not function using my default Blogger feeds, I decided to burn the atom.xml feed through FeedBurner, convert this to RSS 2.0 format, and express only as a summary of the posts. This way, I could ensure the feeds would display properly within the widget, and also that there is no interference to subscribers of my main blog feeds!

While I would love to be able to offer this as a customizable widget you can use to display your own blog feeds, I regret to say this won't be possible just yet! If you would like to create such a widget for your own blog, you could download the "Pausing RSS Scroller" package for free from Dynamic Drive and modify the files to display your own blog feed. You will need to be able to upload both Javascript and PHP files to an external server in order to do this, so please be aware of any limitations your hosting provider may have about such scripts. Full installation details and support are available from

For a small donation towards my hosting costs, I would be willing to create a custom headlines widget and host the external files myself. Please send me an email if you would like me to do this for you.

In the near future, I will be able to offer a free service to provide static headlines widgets which you can create and customize yourselves (see this post for more details), so be sure to check back for updates soon!

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