Tag Archives: blog

Taming the snapshots

Snapshots

Snapshots in WordPress are popups which appear when you hover over a link. They’re meant to preview a site so you can decide whether to visit.

Sometimes they’re useful: I use them to check which blogs in my blogroll have been updated, so I can visit just the ones with new material. At other times they’re downright annoying: for example when one pops up over a picture I’m viewing.

At least for the theme I’m using, WordPress settings only let you turn all snapshots on or off. There isn’t a setting, say, to turns them off just for pictures, or show them only for external links.

Mine are currently turned on. So I can demonstrate, with a link to the brilliant comic xkcd. Hover over the link below and you’ll see that

  • this is what happens.

(It took me a while to realise that you’re then supposed to click the link in the snapshot, not the one in the text; I was trying to chase the snapshot out of the way in order to get at the link in the text and click that.)

But

  • what if you’re rather it did this
  • or even just this?

Gaining some control

Opera 9.6 has some nice features to analyse displayed web pages and see what’s going on. A rummage through a page of my blog revealed the existence of some likely-looking classes (categories which can be applied to HTML tags) with names like snap_preview and snap_noshots. So I tried these out in some test posts and now have what I think is the solution. It works for my blog, at least. (I suspect there may be some variation depending which WordPress theme you’re using; mine is Cutline with some changes I’ve made to the appearance.)

This is what I found:

Turn off all snapshots throughout the blog, overriding any settings made in individual posts
Go to Appearance ⇒ Extras and untick the box.
If you want any snapshots at all
Leave the box in Appearance ⇒ Extras ticked.
Turn off snapshots for an individual link
Include class="snap_noshots" in its tag.
Example: <a href="http://xkcd.com/" class="snap_noshots">
Turn off snapshots for a section of a post
Put <div class="snap_noshots"></div> around the section concerned.
Caution: it’s tempting to do this for the More tag. But this doesn’t work properly, since when the post’s introduction is displayed alone, it has the opening <div> tag but no closing </div> tag. Similarly, if you decide to put <div class="snap_noshots"></div> around the entire post, you’ll have to avoid using the More tag in it.
Override this to turn snapshots on for an individual link
Include <class="snap_preview"> in the link’s tag.
Example: <a href="http://xkcd.com/" class="snap_preview">
Turn snapshots back on for part of a section where they’re turned off
put <div class="snap_preview"></div> around the part where you want them.
Add hover text to a link
Include title="the text you want" in the tag.
Example: <a href="http://xkcd.com" class="snap_noshots" title="Link to a web comic I  enjoy">

Notes

  • I’ve been cautious in those instructions and only used  <a> and <div> tags. That’s because those are the only ones I’ve tried. Presumably you could add the class= settings to other tags  too, e.g. <ul class="snap_noshots"> to remove snapshots from a list of links. But I’ve not checked.
  • I’m not sure how universal it is for browsers to turn title="sometext" into hover text; all I can say is that Internet Explorer and Opera 9.6 both do it. If you know what other  browsers do please tell me, and I’ll add the information to this post.
  • There appear to be circumstances where turning snapshots off in Appearance ⇒ Extras only turns some of them off. I suspect it might vary from theme to theme. Any more information on that welcome too.

Poll results

This probably isn’t of great interest, but several people did use the poll to give feedback about their preferences for the front page so here are the results. I’ve excluded my own real vote, and the vote I did to test the Other option. Five votes is hardly a statistically significant sample, but never mind. It tells me what five people thought, at least.


What would you prefer
to see on this page?


Full posts, all the time 3
Full posts only if short 1
Other 1
Just introductions 0
No preference 0

So I’ll do what I originally thought: show full posts, but maybe very occasionally just an introduction if the post is a particularly specialist one or if I’m keen to keep an earlier one easily visible.

The one person who voted Other asked to see recent comments—meaning, I think, the actual text of comments left on the blog, as opposed to just a list of who’s commented. But I haven’t managed to find any way to do that, so if you know of one, please let me know.

The Name of the Blog

Once you’ve given something a name, you’re generally stuck with it. Does that apply to blogs, too?

Here’s how this one got its name.

As an Opera Mini user, I wanted to participate in the Opera Mini forums at my.opera.com—initially simply in order to sort out some bugs I was experiencing with Opera Mini.

This entailed creating an account there, in order to could post. That had the effect of creating a place to blog. That reminded me that I’d been thinking for a while about trying out blogging.

I didn’t yet know what I would want to write about, so what should I call it? I remembered there was a song called A horse with no name, so the blog became A blog with no name.

Then I realised I needed to continue the blog elsewhere. But it seemed a bad idea to have two identically-named blogs. So this one became The other blog without a name.

That was meant to be a temporary title: once the posts were transferred, I’d rename the original one The old blog with no name and this one would revert to A blog with no name.

It irritated me a bit that I inadvertently got a word “wrong” in the change: with no name became without a name. But the rhythm of the words woould be spoilt by “correcting” it.

So far, I’ve not persuaded myself to change it. Is it a good idea for websites, even ones without a name, to change their names? And it’s quite a nice non-name . . .  On the other hand, I think of a certain orchestra which named itself after some biscuits, and I don’t want to be stuck forever with a name I find I dislike . . .  Any thoughts?More seriously, people who searched for “no name” to find articles on the old blog won’t get sent to the new one. But if I change the name of the new one, people who are used to that will use the wrong search, tiny handful that they are.

Maybe I’ll just leave it as it is for now.

It’s OK to press the button!

I’d like you to press the button. The button is there for you. I mean the one in the sidebar that says vote. It’s there for a reason . . .

The idea is that I get an idea of the preference of people who visit the site.

Er, obviously. So far, four people pressed the button, and one of them was me. So please feel free to join this select group! Or not. But if you do, it will help.

Sadly you don’t win a prize, other than maybe seeing your preference implemented if it’s the most popular one and I decide to heed it.

I think I’ll leave it there for another week or so, then remove it so it’s no longer cluttering up the sidebar.

Thanks.

Playing with CSS

Warning: geekery ahead. But maybe useful geekery.

If you’re observant, and if your screen shows it, you might notice the text in my posts has gone from not quite black to black. That’s because I’ve been playing with the CSS for this WordPress “theme”. Which I’ve done mainly because I hate watery type and think black should be black.

When I started, I assumed I’d be able to copy the text of the existing stylesheet into Notepad and edit it as a text document, or at least search in it for the things I needed to change. It turned out though that this didn’t work: oh yes, it copied into Notepad, but without line breaks, creating a huge block of gibberish.

Well, today I discovered how to copy it legibly into a text document, and I thought I’d tell you, in case the same problem has been driving you insane.

This procedure worked for me:

  • Open the CSS editor (My dashboard > Appearance > Edit CSS)
  • Click View original stylesheet.
  • Press ctrl-a to select all the text in the original stylesheet, then ctrl-c to copy it, and close the popup window.
  • Paste it into the CSS editing box.
  • Select all the text that you’ve just pasted, and copy that into Notepad.

This time it copies into Notepad, but, lo and behold, the line breaks now appear properly, and the result is readable.

And there’s loads more I want to change about the page layout, but making black text black will do for a start.

Off home now to nurse my cold.