Feedsparks – Mashup of the Day

Feedsparks is the Mashup of the Day today on ProgrammableWeb.

Feedsparks now uses Google Chart API

Feedsparks has been updated to use the new Google Chart API for the sparklines it displays.

If you’ve seen slow loading (or non-loading) chart images in Feedsparks, this should help improve the response time and reliability.

Feedsparks is a great way to keep track of the relative popularity of blogs, not just your own.

New Feedsparks Supports Free FeedBurner TotalStats Pro

Feedsparks screenshotYesterday, FeedBurner announced that their previously TotalStats package is now free.

This morning, the Feedsparks widget has gotten support for some of that FeedBurner Pro data, particularly the new “reach” statistic.

Here’s what you need to get it working

  1. Install Feedsparks Add to Google.
    There is an old version (hosted on Google Pages) that has a widget titlebar of “FeedBurner Trends”. Yours should be the newer version (hosted on Google Code), that simply has the title “Feedsparks”
  2. Get Feedsparks working on your feeds — see the Feedsparks page, which describes enabling FeedBurner’s Awareness API or providing a login for your feeds
  3. Enable TotalStats Pro, per yesterday’s FeedBurner annoucement.
  4. In the “Edit Settings” page for the widget on iGoogle, select “reach” instead of “circulation”

You’ll need to give FeedBurner time to collect some days of additional historical data. For example, since I just enabled Pro last night and wrote these updates to Feedsparks this morning, Leancode.com currently has a “reach” of 1 reader. Woo-hoo. :)

Feedsparks gains caching and flexibility

Feedsparks, a widget for tracking your FeedBurner subscribers, has gotten some updates and a move to a new, better-hosted location. These improve performance and formatting, especially for embedding in web pages, like what you see on the right sidebar of leancode.com.


New Features:

  • Supports dynamic height resizing (when used on iGoogle)
  • Uses new Google Gadgets image caching features to speed loading of sparklines and icons. This helps take a load off Joe’s awesome sparklines service, which this widget uses.
  • You can now choose a display name that’s different from Feedburner’s id. For example, “Leancodecom,Leancode” grabs the data for the Leancodecom feed from FeedBurner, but displays it in the widget simply as “Leancode”.
  • You can choose how many characters to include in the name, before it gets truncated with an ellipsis ….
  • Code now hosted on Google Code with a MIT License.

You can grab this new version here Add to Google. Eventually, users of the old version will be “aliased” to the new version.

Feedsparks, while not in the same league as dayssince, has gotten good use with 45,000 page views and 25,000 visits from 12,000 or so users in the past month. About 30% of that is from iGoogle, the rest from the widget embedded directly on people’s web pages to publicize their feed subscriber counts. Definitely worth the time to create it — most of the initial coding was done in a 11pm-4am geek session, with probably 30 hours invested in refinement and bloggi .. I mean, documentation, since then.

Current users — please let me know if anything is amiss (or just missed). Everyone’s ideas and feedback are welcome in the comments. Thanks!

Google Gadget “creator page” and lists datatype

Feedsparks uses the new (as of Jan 17th) “list” datatype which google added to their gadget API. It enables a simple but nicely designed interface for configuring a gadget like this one. But the UI for the new datatype has confirmed problems outside of adding the gadget to your google homepage (which works flawlessly). Hopefully google will fix this shortly. Until then, the prior post describes a workaround you can use.

You can read some background (the dialog with google) at the google group for gadgets.

Configuring Google Gadgets for your page

google modules form screenshotGoogle gadgets on a Google property are easy to configure — Google provides a nice UI, and the user can just select the arrow in the upper right corner to configure it.

But to put a gadget on any old site, you need to first generate a javascript snippet, which has all the configuration in it.

Unfortunately, when generating this script for Feedsparks, Google’s form for configuring the script has a problem: Notice anything missing in the screenshot above? There’s no UI to configure the list of feeds!

This may be something to do with the newness of the gadget list datatype, or something fixable in how Feedsparks is written.

So, until the mystery of this problem is resolved, if you want to install the feedsparks gadget into any web page … and actually be able to configure it to display your feeds … you’ll need to add this snippet like this in the middle of the script line generated by Google.


Careful .. it goes right there alongside the other parameters to the gadget (you could put it after up_days). An example of the full, modified script line is…

<script src="http://gmodules.com/ig/ifr?url=http://bernie.thompson.googlepages.com/feedsparks.xml&amp;up_days=30&amp;up_feeds=BernieThompson|Haikupedia&amp;up_attribute=circulation&amp;up_userid=&amp;up_password=&amp;synd=open&amp;w=288&amp;h=81&amp;title=FeedBurner+Trends&amp;border=%23ffffff%7C3px%2C1px+solid+%23999999&amp;output=js"></script>

Resulting in a gadget on your page which looks like this.

If there are other problems configuring Feedsparks, let me know.

Feedsparks 1.01

Feedsparks is a Google Gadget showing at-a-glance subscription and traffic trends for your FeedBurner feeds.

A previous Feedburner tracking gadget I’d been using on my google homepage stopped working, and I had wanted one with a few more features anyway, including a historical chart — but one that had to be small. Sparklines, which were originated by the father of data visualization, Edward Tufte, would be a perfect tool for a case like this. So that lead to developing this mashup of these various ideas.

Features and Notes

  • First things first: to see your own feed statistics, either turn on the Awareness API in FeedBurner for each of your feeds (preferred), or provide your FeedBurner userid and password to the gadget.
  • Uses compact, expressive sparkline chart for historical trend (showing 30 days by default, but configurable)
  • Shows current day’s number, with green/red arrow showing if it’s up or down from yesterday
  • Easily add an almost unlimited number of feedBurner feeds (FeedBurner’s Awareness API must be turned on from your FeedBurner control panel)
  • Choose to show statistics on FeedBurner’s circulation estimate (default), or feed hits
  • Built on FeedBurner’s Awareness API and Joe Gregorio’s sparklines service which serves over a million hits a week. All other work happens in javascript in the browser, so the Feedsparks gadget should be quite scalable and reliable.
  • In the sparkline graph, the blue dot is the point of highest traffic, red is the low point, and green is the current number

You can add this gadget to your personalized home page –or– add it to any web page.

Note that google’s form in the “add to any web page” link appears to have a problem adding feeds. You’ll have to add them to the generated javascript directly.

Let me know if you have any feedback or feature requests!