03 November 2007

Some Cosmetic Enhancements for Stitches™

While on a short "Halloween" vacation, I tried spending my free time toiling around on some cosmetic improvements for my blogsite. The last time I added some goodies was when I posted the Cool Rating Widget. That wasn’t ages ago, though. But I personally and generally like CHANGES; therefore, do not be surprised if "continuous enhancements" will always be one of the dynamic activities of this blog.

Among the new enhancements that I recently implemented here were:

Peek-A-Boo View: I thought of finding a way to make it easy for my readers to go through all my recent posts within the main page of my blog. This is because if the entry is too long (more than 2 or 3 paragraphs), the viewers will find it very hard to quickly locate the topic of interest to them since they need to scroll down a lot. The solution to this, of course, is to show only the summary rather than the entire article in every post. In this way regular and irregular visitors alike can choose which of the recent posts appeal to them the most.

In Peek-A-Boo View the main page will show only post summaries and when you click "Read More", the full post appears in the main page itself. It is also possible for the reader to go back to the summary mode by clicking the "Summary only..." link with which they can collapse the post back to summary.

I managed to find this "post-enhancing" hack from Ramani and Hans. They collaboratively worked on the codes and made them available on their sites.

Social Bookmarking Widget: Social bookmarking, according to Wikipedia, is a way for internet users to store, organize, share and search bookmarks of web pages. Social bookmarking, likewise, allows you to suggest something worthy of note to people who share your interests.

Maintaining your bookmarks on a host site allows you to access your favorite websites from anywhere. This makes your bookmarks reachable and always backed-up no matter which computer you use.

Why is this widget important?

If people find the posts you wrote in your blog useful and informative they may want to share it with others. Making it easy for them to recommend and share may bring tremendous visit or steady flow of traffic in your site. Therefore, it makes sense that a widget to bookmark articles in your blog comes in very handy. By bringing in a social bookmarking widget in you site, your visitors can conveniently click on it to submit your site to their favorite Social Bookmarking networks.

I found a solution to this using the hack created by Hans. It is relatively easy to implement and looks very cool and bubbly at the foot of every post. For a working example, you can view the footer of this post.

Tag/Label Cloud Widget: A tag cloud (or weighted list in visual design) is a visual depiction of content tags used on a website. Tags are typically listed alphabetically, and tag frequency is shown with font size or color. [1] Thus both finding a tag by alphabet and by popularity is possible. The tags are usually hyperlinks that lead to a collection of items that are associated with that tag.

The advantage of using Tag/Label Clouds is that it takes up a whole lot less vertical space than the default label/category list in Blogger, especially when you have a lot of labels to show. You can also vary the colors & font sizes of the "clouds" according to the number of post in each label/category to make your presentation more enticing.

The codes I used for my label cloud were from phydeaux3. The implementation instructions are very easy to understand. All you have to do is visit his site and follow the procedures very carefully.

There you have it all folks!



  1. A great idea. Now the page looks clean and tidy. Easy on the eyes too!