Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Let's Try "Blogumus" Tag Cloud Widget

Blogumus Tag Cloud Widget

"Blogumus" is a Flash based tag cloud widget which uses scripts converted from Roy Tanck's WP Cumulus plugin for Wordpress. I fell in love with Roy's original Cumulus plugin when I saw it, and simply had to learn how to convert this for use in Blogger powered blogs. The result is the widget you can see in action at the top of this post. Hover your mouse over the Flash object to see the animation begin.

In this post, I'll explain how you can add Blogumus to your own Blogger layout with ease!

Update: Improved Widget Code

I have updated the code required to run this widget to activate links in the tag cloud Flash movie. If you have already installed Blogumus, please replace your widget code with the new updated code, or reference the additional lines to modify your existing installation.

How it works

This widget uses a combination of JavaScript and Flash animation to parse and display your blog labels. Once installed in your template, it should work "out of the box" without any additional tweaking required, though of course you may prefer to change the variables for color, background and size if appropriate :)

You should also be able to move the Label Cloud widget through the Page Elements page of your dashboard if you prefer display in a different layout location.
To see Blogumus in action, both Flash and Javascript must be installed and enabled for your internet browser. However, it does degrade relatively gracefully, and label links will still be clickable (though not animated) for those who do not use JavaScript of Flash (including search engine spiders).

How to install Blogumus in your Blogger layout

Installing Blogumus in your Blogger layout is surprisingly simple! You should only need to copy and paste a section of code to your Blogger template, though any tweaks for the style of display will require some manual editing.

Here are the steps required to install Blogumus in your Blogger layout:

Go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard, and search for the following line (or similar):
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar' preferred='yes'>

Immediatly after this line, paste the following section of code:

<b:widget id='Label99' locked='false' title='Labels' type='Label'>

<b:includable id='main'>

<b:if cond='data:title'>



<div class='widget-content'>

<script src='' type='text/javascript'/>

<div id='flashcontent'>Blogumulus by <a href=''>Roy Tanck</a> and <a href=''>Amanda Fazani</a></div>

<script type='text/javascript'>

var so = new SWFObject(&quot;;, &quot;tagcloud&quot;, &quot;240&quot;, &quot;300&quot;, &quot;7&quot;, &quot;#ffffff&quot;);

// uncomment next line to enable transparency

//so.addParam(&quot;wmode&quot;, &quot;transparent&quot;);

so.addVariable(&quot;tcolor&quot;, &quot;0x333333&quot;);

so.addVariable(&quot;mode&quot;, &quot;tags&quot;);

so.addVariable(&quot;distr&quot;, &quot;true&quot;);

so.addVariable(&quot;tspeed&quot;, &quot;100&quot;);

so.addVariable(&quot;tagcloud&quot;, &quot;<tags><b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'><a expr:href='data:label.url' style='12'><></a></b:loop></tags>&quot;);

so.addParam(&quot;allowScriptAccess&quot;, &quot;always&quot;);



<b:include name='quickedit'/>




Then preview your template. If installed correctly, you should see the tag cloud appear in your sidebar. Then you are free to save your template, edit the colors and dimensions as required, or move it to a different location.

That's all!

Customizing Blogumus

In this default installation, Blogumus includes the following preset variables:

  • Width is set to 240px

  • Height is set to 300px;

  • Background color is white

  • Test color is grey

  • Font size is "12"

If you would prefer to make your widget wider, shorter, change the color scheme, etc, you will need to do this by editing various parts of the code. I'll go through these options in the order they appear in the widget code.

Editing width and height

The variables for width and height are found in this line of the script:

var so = new SWFObject("", "tagcloud", "240", "300", "7", "#ffffff");

The width (currently 240) is highlighted in red, while the height (300px default) is highlighted in blue. These numerical values specify the width and height in pixels, so you can alter these of you prefer.

Editing background color

You can change the background color from white to any other color by altering the hex value in the same line:

var so = new SWFObject("", "tagcloud", "240", "300", "7", "#ffffff");

For example, if you prefer a bright red background, you may replace #ffffff with #ff0000. Take a look at this page for a list of commonly used hex color codes.

Alter the color of text

By default, the text is set to display as dark grey ( hex value #333333). You can alter this variable in the following line:

so.addVariable("tcolor", "0x333333");

Be aware that "tcolor" is a Flash variable and doesn't include the usual hash symbol of hex color codes. Be sure to only replace the numbers!

Adjust the font size

The maximum font size of tags is specified in this line:

so.addVariable("tagcloud", "<tags><b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'><a expr:href='data:label.url' style='12'><></a></b:loop></tags>");

You can alter this to ensure tags are displayed in a bigger or smaller font if you prefer by changing "12" to a larger or smaller number.

While making any of these changes, you should be able to preview your widget and be certain that your new choice of color, dimensions and background are suitable for your needs.

Credits, support and requirements

Blogumus is based on the original WP Cumulus plugin by Roy Tanck, and was converted for use with Blogger layouts by myself.

Please leave the credit links in the widget code intact. These will not be seen by the majority of your blog readers (as they will only display if JavaScript and Flash is not activated) but leaving these links intact is a great way of passing some link love on to Roy for all his hard work, and to inform other Blogger users that they can find the widget codes on this site.


If you have any problems installing or using this widget, please leave your comments below or direct these to the Blogger Buster forums as Roy will be unable to provide support for installation in Blogger blogs!


For Blogumus to display properly in your template, you will need to have Flash Player 7 or higher. You can download the latest Flash Player plugin for your browser from Adobe.

I'm not sure that this installation will support special characters as tags (only Latin characters supported at present). If you do experiecce issues with labels displaying incorrectly, please let me know. I'll try to add more support, but have very little experience using Flash!

Your thoughts?

I hope that you enjoy using Blogumus in your own Blogger blogs! Please feel free to share or syndicate this page with your favorite bookmarking service if you think it is worth a mention, or subscribe to the newsfeed to learn of more great Blogger tutorials as they are posted.

Let's Try it Now,,,
Happy Blogging ^_^

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