Over the past few weeks we had the opportunity to work with FanFeedr to put together some widgets for their sports news platform. Previously, FanFeedr had been using Sprout to build their widgets but this required someone to hand build a Flash widget for every “resource” on FanFeedr (there are a lot). In addition, since the Sprout widgets are Flash they aren’t easily crawled by search engines.
Our widgets are different. They allow FanFeedr to generate widgets on the fly for any of their pages and allow users to customize the color schemes. Check out a widget builder for the NY Yankees here.
Basically, our widget builder works by allowing users to customize the size and colors used in the widget. This data is serialized as a JSON object and then base64 encoded so that it can be sent to the “generator” on the server. Then, the server unpacks the payload and builds a widget according to the data specified in the JSON object. In addition, our embed code includes a noscript tags so that search engines pick up the links in the widget as well.
Anyway, working with FanFeedr was a great experience and we hope to continue our relationship moving forward. Go build yourself a widget!