I almost made a screencast. Then I tried Screen Steps instead. Here’s a link to a tutorial for this post.
This is kind of a stretch, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll never want to do anything like this. But maybe you will. Remember, Widgets can live on your desktop, they’re not limited to the Dashboard Widget layer. That means you could use this process to design custom content that’s laid right into your desktop.
So – what are we talking about anyway? Well, you probably know you can make a Dashboard Widget using a tool provided with Safari. But maybe there isn’t a page that has the content the way you want it for your widget. No problem, just make a web page using iWeb, lay it out the way you want your Dashboard Widget to look, then publish it. Use the Dashboard Widget maker and you’re done.
The steps are outlined in the tutorial below. Murphy made a web page with two Flickr badges on it. One that pulls from Murphy’s Flickr collection and another that pulls from all of Flickr. Both grab random photos from their respective collections. From that page he made a widget that shows both Flickr controls side by side. Again, this might be most useful for making a widget that will live within your desktop.
Is this reaching too far or what?
At some point Murphy stopped placing Quicktime videos in iWeb pages and turned to Google Video. Too many people emailed and said, “Great site. But the video wouldn’t play.” It doesn’t happen now.
Some people might argue that Flash-based Google Video isn’t much better. But in Murphy’s experience a Windows audience is more likely to have success with Google Video than with Quicktime. Despite Apple shipping Quicktime with every iTunes download the QT player isn’t everywhere – not yet.
There’s a trade off. Google doesn’t give you many options. Once you upload your video it’s in Google’s hands. Before uploading you can add a title page or a skin. But there’s no denying that Quicktime generally looks better.
Some people suggest leaving your video as uncompressed as possible before uploading. Their reasoning is that Google’s technology will do a better job at compression if they have more to work with upfront. It’ll take you longer to upload your video, but the results could be worth it.
Google’s default embed settings are often smaller than what you uploaded. On the plus side, the smaller size will look sharp. You can change the playback size by altering the html. Murphy shows you how in the screencast.
Here’s another reason to use Google Video – it won’t count against the stingy disk space you get with .Mac! Murphy knows .Mac is perfect for some users – and offers Mac-specific features you won’t see elsewhere. But if lots of storage space is what you need look elsewhere!
The screencast uses iWebMore to place html in iWeb pages. It’s quick and easy to use – but you might want to check Murphy’s first iWebMore screencast.
Click to see the iWeb page made in the screencast.
With iWeb it’s easy to make fantastic looking content in a matter of minutes. To keep things simple, iWeb never shows you a single line of html. For some that’s good. For others it’s frustrating.
If you check around on the web you’ll find some workarounds. A common theme: Put a placeholder on your page – like a word that will stand out. After publishing you can scan your html for the standout word and replace it with whatever html code you want on your iWeb page.
Murphy’s going to make it even easier. He’s using a free tool called iWebMore. We’ll put a rounded-rectangle on the page as a placeholder. We’ll add the html inside the rectangle, then let iWebMore do the dirty work of updating our html after we publish.
You could use this method to add all kinds of code scraps. Digg buttons, videos, Adsense banners – all kinds of content. Even just a few simple lines of html that iWeb couldn’t do for you. Suddenly iWeb isn’t half as limited as you once thought.
Remember, you’re altering the pages after you publish. That means if you publish again you’ll have to process your pages again using iWebMore to update the html. iWeb doesn’t know you altered the html.
In the screencast we’ll add a small piece of Google script to our page that pulls our favorite stories from Google Reader. As we mark stories as favorites in Google Reader, our iWeb generated page will update with new links. This is a great way to keep your site fresh, and provide your readers with content that interests you.
Down the road we’ll take a look at making the changes manually. For now, iWebMore makes it really easy. Who knows, maybe the next version of iWeb will take care of this for us??
Related information: See the screencast for automating iWeb syncing with a third party host.
Lots of people used to use Google for their start page. Now that our browsers have Google built-in the home page is up for grabs.
So make your own start page, and spread your favorite sites across it. Use big, easy to click images. You can add text links for sites you don’t visit quite so often.
This little project used to be a hassle, even with semi-friendly web editors like MS Word. iWeb makes it incredibly easy to lay out the images and publish your new home page.
If you make a really good one go ahead and post a link in the comments.
Your iWeb blog has an RSS feed built right in. But you can make it easier for your readers to subscribe to it. This screencast shows how to provide links that add your feed to My Yahoo and Google homepage.
We’ll also look at making sure the RSS feed works when you publish to a folder instead of .Mac. If you’ve found the iWeb URL field confusing, we’ll clear things up. If you don’t enter the right URL in the field your iWeb RSS feed won’t work.
When you’re done watching, click Murphy’s Yahoo / Google links on his start page. You wouldn’t want to miss a post!
NOTE: If you’re here because the RSS feed on your iWeb blog doesn’t work, make sure you watch the second half of this screencast.