Regular readers of OUseful.info, the blog… will know that I’m a big fan of quick hacks, ideally things that should take less than half an hour to pull together. On Monday, I muddled through a session at the dev8D event talking about mashups, throwing out as I did so a challenge/request that I’d quite like a bookmarklet that would let me splash a minified URL of whatever web page I happened to be displaying at the time in a BIG FONT in the centre of the screen…
Why? Becuase it’s easier for people to try and follow along by typing in a TinyURL or is.gd URL than a really long, horrible and complicated one, that’s why…
(The feedshow link presenter app will do this for a minified version of the URL of the presentation, and will also splash the URL of the current page – but not (as yet!;-) in a tiny form. Not having really prepared the talk, which was an interactive, let’s see where it goes talk anyway;-), I hadn’t bookmarked links in advance and so couldn’t share them by giving the presentation feedshow style… See also Twittershow, which splashes tweets from a Twitter feed…:-)
Anyway, anyway, before I’d even managed to leave the lecture theatre, Chris Gutteridge came up to me with a solution in the form of a working demo of the display part of the solution and the code I could use to host it; and yesterday afternoon, Chris came up to me to say the service was now running on a publicly accessible server at
http://bigtiny.ecs.soton.ac.uk NOW LIVE at splashurl.net).
Enter any URL into text box and hit return, and it’ll splash a minified version of the URL up on the screen so you can share it with an audience.
We’ve also provided a bookmarklet that you can drag on to your browser bookmarks toolbar that will splash the minified URL of the current page for you.
(And if you’re using Firefox, you can also click in the search box and save the “search” as a Firefox smart keyword. If you give it a name – spl for example, you can then just type “spl ” (that is, “spl[space]”) in front of a URL in the Firefox location bar and it will spash the minified version of that URL to the screen for you.)
One advantage of running the service via a servier is that we can swap to another URL minifier provider should that be necessary.
I haven’t spoken to Chris about this yet, but it might also be interesting if we could automatically bookmark any splashed URL using a social bookmarking service such as delicious, maybe even with a particular tag or tags corresponding to the lecture, session, conference or whatever, whenever the URL is splashed. I guess it could also tweet the title of the page, (“in quotes”;-), the minified link and suitable hashtag or hashtags, too? (Now that’d be a nice and tidy, sweet and simple demonstration of using OAuth in a real world context?;-)
Geeky tech developers – ask one a favour today… who knows here it might lead?;-)