Astrodienst Releases Two New Astrology Widgets
Keeping up with their long track record of awesomeness, Astrodienst has just released two great new astrology widgets for website developers and astrology bloggers. Both widgets recently appeared on a new section of their site called Webmaster Tools.
Widgets are essentially functional pieces of code that people can embed on web pages, allowing them to install little gadgets on their site that are developed by other people. Most of the time you will notice them on the sidebar of blogs, although they can also be installed on normal websites as well.
The first of the new widgets released by Astrodienst, and the most interesting, is called Current Planets. What is does is display the current transiting positions of each of the planets, listing the sign of the zodiac that they are in, along with the exact degree, minute and second. Or, in other words, it is a very precise live ephemeris.
Longtime users of Astrodienst’s website will be familiar with this gadget because it has been a mainstay on their website for quite some time. However, what the widget does is essentially makes it so that this little live ephemeris is portable, allowing anyone to copy the code and place it on their own website for the benefit of their visitors.
The widget ends up looking like this on a web page:
This is awesome because now all of a sudden anyone with a blog or website can feature a listing of the current transiting planets on their site. This is light years ahead of most of the other astrology widgets out there, which usually only feature the Sun sign or Moon sign.
All you have to do is head over to the Webmaster Tools page on astro.com and copy the code that they provide, then paste it into your site, and then you are all set.
The second widget released by Astrodienst is called Current Birthdays. Drawing on their recent acquisition of AstroDatabank, this widget pulls information from their huge database of celebrity birth data in order provide a list of celebrity birthdays for the current or previous day.
This is what the widget looks like when you place it somewhere on a web page:
The code for this one can also be obtained simply by visiting the Webmaster Tools page and the copying and pasting the code into your site.
Problems With WordPress.com and iframes
For many websites and blogs the widgets work just fine. The code is pretty clean, straight forward and easy to use. However, people who have a blog hosted at WordPress.com will not be able to use the widgets since the code uses iframes.
Unfortunately WordPress.com has had a longstanding policy of not allowing iframes on their hosted blogs due to security concerns, so Astrodienst’s widgets simply won’t work for anyone who attempts to use them on a WordPress.com blog. The widgets also don’t appear to work on Myspace due to the iframes as well.
Hopefully at some point the guys at Astrodienst can find a way to design an alternate set of widgets that don’t use iframes, but at this point many astrology bloggers are simply out of luck.
I should point out that this issue with the widgets and iframes only applies to WordPress blogs that are hosted at WordPress.com though. WordPress users who have self-hosted blogs on their own servers based on software from WordPress.org are not affected, as they can use iframes all they like and Astrodienst’s widgets seem to work just fine. Those who use Blogger are also unaffected.
Despite these issues, which may only be temporary, I find myself with yet another occasion to tip my hat to the guys at Astrodienst for doing some really great work, and providing the astrological community with some very valuable tools. Thanks guys!