Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Widgets get a lot better

We’ve just brought live new, improved widgets, available from the make widget page.

Some highlights:

  • New “animated” style cycles through your covers in a oddly mesmerizing way.
  • Widgets are extensively customizable, so you can fit them to your blog without any special knowledge.
  • Power users can do more, with Javascript and CSS customization. Check out Chris’ blog for stylish use.*
  • The new widgets are shareable (an example) so members can show off and swap styles. (Yes, we’ll be having a widget-creation contest soon.)
  • Widget links don’t go off somewhere, but open up a slick lightbox “mini-book” page, with your information and (optional) links, to LibraryThing and elsewhere. You can, of course, fill in your Amazon Associates code, if you want to make money off your widget.
  • Widgets now include (optionally) tags, ratings and reviews. You can filter by reviews and tags too.
  • The code is good—based on our improved JSON Books API and designed not to slow down your page (they’re “lazy-loading”). Weirdly this can make the widget look slow. That’s because it’s not slowing down the rest of the page!
  • Internationalized from the ground up.
  • Orcas, baby!

Go ahead and make a widget.

Talk about it here, or on Talk.

Luke! Widgets were helmed by new employee Luke (member: LibraryThingLuke), who wrote most of the core code, all the styling options, the share system and so forth. Other LibraryThing people helped. Chris—hard at work on collections, we promise—chipped in some attractive styles. Mike wrote the crucial cover-animation code, something he’s been working on for our upcoming Facebook application. I made sure Luke got a list of changes every morning, including at least one thing I wanted the other way the day before.

Luke offered the following thumbnail bio:

“Luke Stevens lives in Portland, Me with his wife and three kids. He enjoys single malt scotch and silver-age comic books. He rides a motorcycle from the early 80’s that elicits laughter from his evil co-workers. Twitter: saintlukas; blog:”

*Chris swears by

Labels: new feature, new features, widgets


  1. Jens says:

    Widgets are great!

    is it possible to see my own book comment in widget? I could not found an option.

    Thanks, Jens.

  2. tudorlady says:

    The widget posts a link to LT in my LiveJournal, but not the animated display. Am I doing something wrong? Please consider that I am *not* really that knowledgeable about this stuff :[

  3. Anonymous says:

    any idea on how to get the widget to work on google site

  4. Mike says:

    Which google site? Blogger? -Mike

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love the widget on my website for my students! However, it repeats the book selections after only three changes, unless I refresh the page. Is there a way to keep showing all my books?

  6. Luke says:

    Not right now. We don't want to slow peoples pages down, so we limit each widget to 3 widgets-full of content.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am using to host my library website. When I paste in my library thing widget code and press save, google posts a message telling me that scripts have been disabled.

    Does anyone know how to get it to work?

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