Minor inComm Update & a Blog You Might Like

inComm, which puts the most recent comments on a post below that post on the homepage (and on Newer Posts and Older Posts pages) has been updated again, this time for performance. (Last Comments will be changed in the same way very soon as well.)

Per MS-potilas's suggestion, I have changed inComm so that it loads the smallest available image of comment authors to help avoid situations where there is a wait while very large author images load. I also changed the default image from a blank one to the standard Blogger "B", and I added a variable that lets you change the default avatar image in the code to whatever you want (by changing the value of inCommAvatarURI).

Reminder: To get the new functionality, you must remove your currently installed inComm widget, then install the new version.

By the way, if you want top quality Blogger widgets and template modifications for your Blogger blog, please visit MS-potilas's blog, Yet Another Blogger Tips Blog. MS-potilas made a recent comments widget that could display author images before they were included in the official Blogger comment feeds.


inComm Updated to Version 8

InComm, the widget that puts post comments on the homepage under each post, has been updated. A small fix has been applied that corrects a problem that would only occur when the topmost comment was deleted. As before, please remove the widget from your blog (saving any customizations to a text file so you can reapply them), and then reinstall a fresh copy from the inComm page (click on the inComm tag above). Thank you!


Major Last Comments 1.2 Updates: Images, Colors, Text, Comment Pages

I've finally gotten around to incorporating some long requested changes into Last Comments 1.2. These changes will soon be rolled out into Last Comments 1.1 and 1.3 as well. There have been four significant changes: 1) Author images are now shown, 2) text and link colors can be chosen, 3) the text in the buttons can be customized, and 4) links to post pages with more than 200 comments will now link to the correct page.

1. Author Images: Blogger feeds now have author images in them for everyone but anonymous commenters and Name/URL commenters, and I have changed the default Display Code for Last Comments 1.2 to show those images if available. If you liked the gadget better without the images showing and were using the default Display Code, all you have to do is edit the gadget and enter the following into slot #5:
S lwAa*_wrote: Cc lwPpon_*

If you were not using the default Display Code and want the images to show up, the Element for author images is I. You can enter it into your custom Display Code just as you would any other Element, but do please let me know if your custom Display Code stops working after this update.

2. Some blogs have sidebars or headers or footers that differ in color from the main column of the blog, but Blogger gadgets only get sent color information for text and links in the main column. This has caused problems in the past for people using widely contrasting color schemes. Now, Last Comments 1.2 users are able to override their blog's skin and select the colors for text and links that they want just as they would for the Separator Bar. These new selection menus appear as slots #9 and #10 in the configuration window for the gadget.

3. For international users or people who want more control over the gadget, I have added slot #11 to the configuration page for the gadget (Layout > Find Last Comments and click Edit). You can enter just about anything to replace Show|Hide|Reload in that order. The things you enter cannot have whitespace in them, and each label must be separated by a pipe (it has to be the ASCII pipe symbol: | ).

An example that you could enter in slot #11 on the configuration page that would change Show to "Open", "Hide" to "Close", and "Reload" to "Check" is:

4. It was only recently brought to my attention that comment links in these kinds of gadgets do not have information about what page they are on for posts with more than 200 comments that have their comments divided into pages of 200 comments each. I was able to find a way to work around that limitation, and Last Comments 1.2 should now take you to the correct page of comments. This feature may cause the gadget to load slightly slower than normal. Also, the fix does not work for comments on blog pages. Despite that, this feature should greatly benefit blogs that get, on average, hundreds of comments per post since their readers will now be able to go directly to the comment page of the latest comments and not have to flip from page to page to find the comment they wanted to respond to.

I also made some other little changes. The configuration page has been revamped so that each configuration option that I can control is numbered (the title and height options on the configuration page are controlled by Blogger). I also changed the default number of characters to 160 per comment instead of 60. And I added six new Separator Lines; originally there was only one that you activated by entering S0. Now you can enter S0 up to S7 to choose between dotted, dashed, solid, double, grooved, ridge, inset, and outset types, or you can stick with S for the Separator Bar over the top of comments, which is the default still.

I hope to roll out these changes to Last Comments 1.1 and 1.3 within a few days. So please let me know right away if there are any issues with the new features I need to address.


inComm—Avatars + Links to Comment Pages

Two new features have been added to inComm (the widget that puts comments on the front page) in anticipation of them being released in Last Comments: Avatar images, and links that go to the correct comment page for high-volume blogs! So if you have a post with more than 200 comments on it, inComm will now take you to page 2 or higher when you click on a link to the comment.

If you want the latest updates, please remove your current inComm installation (go to Layout, find the inComm widget or the HTML/JavaScript gadget inComm is installed in, click edit on that widget, and click Remove), and then reinstall the newest version, inComm version 7, from the inComm tab.


inComm is back!

I have put inComm back up! Click on the inComm tab above to get the new, vastly improved version!

If you don't know what inComm is or what it is for, let me explain. InComm is a widget for Blogger that allows the comments on your blog to be displayed beneath your posts without readers having to view individual posts separately. The presentation of the comments can also be customized in almost any way you want using CSS and HTML.

Even better, inComm is easier than ever to add to your blog! Just click the button on the installation page and follow the instructions to get inComm up and running on your blog in seconds.

Customization continues to be manual for now, but the default settings are up to 25 comments and the color and styles you see on this blog. If you want help changing the look of inComm for the time being, please contact me about it or leave a comment here.

Also, if you need help removing the old version from your blog template (which is highly recommended), let me know. This version requires no manual template modification whatsoever, making it accessible to nearly everyone. Even uninstallation of this version is as simple as clicking the remove button. So go ahead and give it a try! You have nothing to lose.

Overall, please enjoy!

Update: Due to the lack of modern JavaScript in Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8, inComm was updated to work with those browsers on 2011-Nov-30. If you added it on the 29th of November, please remove that version and reinstall the new version. Thanks!

inComm almost ready

I've revamped inComm so that it will be as easy to install as a few clicks. No template editing involved at all!

I'll put it up later today, but it is live right now on this blog. Every post on the home page, on Older Posts and Newer Posts pages, and on labels pages are showing up to 25 comments below the posts themselves. You can show up to 200 comments this way, and, if you know HTML and CSS, you can customize them to display in almost any way you want!


Possible fix for the undefined title problem + more Web Fonts

I think I have found a way around the problem with post titles showing up as undefined. If the gadget cannot find the post title now, it will simply make a pseudo-title using the text included in the post link, which is usually a portion of the title. The pseudo-title will appear in all uppercase letters with no punctuation, and it will be cut very short for longer titles.

I also updated the web fonts the gadget is capable of using to include all 302 fonts currently available at the Google Web Fonts catalog. To tell the gadget to use one of these web fonts, you need to edit your template's HTML or use the Template Designer to set the first font listed for the body of your blog to the web font of your choice. The template editing process is actually very easy.

Simply click on the Design button on the navbar at the top-right of your blog. That should take you to the Template configuration options page where you can click on Edit HTML. Click on Edit HTML and then click on Proceed to continue to the template editor. Once you see your template in a large text box, scroll down in the text box just a bit until you find the tag that starts with <Variable name="body.font"

Inside that tag is an attribute called value which you will add the name of the web font of your choice to. For example, if you want the Last Comments gadget to use the Lobster Two web font instead of Arial, all you need to do is insert 'Lobster Two', in front of the word Arial, like so (the insertion is in blue):
     <Variable name="body.font" description="Font" type="font"
         default="normal normal 12px Arial, sans-serif" value="normal normal 12px 'Lobster Two', Arial, sans-serif"/>

Whichever font is listed first in that place will be the font that Last Comments tries to use to display text. After you have added the web font to the front of the font list like in the example, you can click the Preview button to instantly see the results. Make sure you spelled the font name correctly if it doesn't work. If you like what you see in the preview, click Save template to keep the changes.

These updates affect all three versions of the gadget. I hope that helps some of you.