Just been having a tidy up of my RSS feeds – I had some in Google Reader and some in Netvibes and some bookmarked in FireFox, which all seemed a bit daft, so I’ve moved them all to Google Reader. This now means that the only thing I’ve got left on my Netvibes page is the GMail widget and my MSG widget – which now makes my Netvibes page redundant, I’m usually logged in to MSG via MSGAlert seperately anyway, so that basically leaves GMail – and if that’s all that’s left, I’d just go straight to GMail.
Not really sure what I think about that – maybe it’s just the way I’ve been using Netvibes and the widgets I’ve been adding…
I’ve just updated the MSG Netvibes widget to include a link to the MSG Presence maps page so you can launch the map without having to go through the MSG client first.
I’ve just finished writing my first version of an MSG widget for the Netvibes environment and it’s ready for people to have a play with.
The widget will give you the presence state of your contacts (with “click to chat” option) and notify you when new messages are received.
To add the widget to you’ll need to log into you Netvibes page then select ‘Add Content’, under the ‘External widgets’ section select ‘UWA Module’. Click on the ‘Add to my page’ link, which will then add the generic UWA Module to your page. Then edit the settings for this module so the Widget URL is set to: http://alexlittle.net/blog/download.php?file=msg-uwa-latest.html. You must also ensure the ‘Inline this widget’ box is ticked (else it won’t remember your password).
You can now edit the MSG Widget to set your MSG username and password and then whenever you log into your Netvibes page you’ll automatically be logged into MSG and receive new message notifications and the presence status of your contacts.
OU users: if you normally use your OU network password to access MSG on msg.open.ac.uk, you should create a new password for accessing msg.open.ac.uk (otherwise Netvibes will be storing your OU network password), to do this please follow these instructions.
Please note that currently the MSG Netvibes widget will only connect to the msg.open.ac.uk server, so you must have an account on this server to be able to use the widget. After we’ve done some more testing we’ll extend this so you can use the widget to connect to your MSG-OpenLearn profile.
Feel free to try out the widget and let me have any feedback 🙂
Next step (after any bug fixes!) is to see if this widget can be used with iGoogle – in theory it should as they use the same UWA, but I’ve not tested it out yet. And after that, make a Facebook application for MSG…
Got back to work after couple of weeks holiday yesterday (holiday pics!) so spent the last day or so trying to remember what I was actually doing before I went away! None of the notes I made before I went away made any sense to me yesterday morning – but it’s all starting to become clear again!
Have been working a bit more on the Netvibes widget, and there’s now also talk of creating a Facebook widget for MSG – but for now I’ll stick with getting just one widget finished. Also managed to update the MSG BuddyXML service so that it can accept the username and password as part of HTTPBasic authentication – rather than just as get/post parameters (this was the problem I was struggling with a couple of weeks ago). One thing that’s slowing me down slightly at the moment is that our msg.open.ac.uk died over the weekend and we’re awaiting the engineer to fix it up.
A few people seems to have been trying out my Online Users Map block, did find a problem with it though (which is now resolved) – in that my original table name seemed to be too long for some Moodle installations (or more precisely ADODB) – which appear to have a restriction of 28 chars on the table name length.
Also beginning to look at how to manipulate images using PHP, the main functions I need to do is overlay one jpg onto another jpg to create a third image, and create lines for one set of coordinates to another on the image – sure there must be things out there which do this – just need to have a google…
Been playing with Netvibes UWA and trying to create a little MSG widget, but have been having a little trouble getting the authentication to work for MSG.
I think the problem is down to the fact that the MSG login works via get or post params being passed, rather than “http_basic” authentication username & password – which Netvibes uses. As far as I can tell this means that the username and password aren’t passed with the request as ‘normal’ url or form parameters – so the MSG login script complains that username & password are missing. I’ve not yet found a way of getting the http_basic username & password passed over to the processing servlet.
There are few ways I think of to get around this (though none are ideal)…
1) creating an http_basic secured page in MSG which can handle the authentication – however this means having all the usernames/password replicated into tomcat access files, which I really don’t want to be doing.
2) having the user enter their password entered every time they visit Netvibes – again not really an option as it’s hardly the point of having the widget – it ought to just be a case of entering your MSG credentials once and Netvibes stores these.
3) having the password stored as plain text – again not a good option as too much potential for passwords getting intercepted
Another issue is that Netvibes widgets don’t appear to support https requests, so the password will always be sent plain text to MSG 🙁
As I’ve only just started looking at the UWA framework, there may be something I’m missing or doing wrong – so any pointers as to what to do would be very welcome – especially if there are any examples 😉
Just looking a creating a Netvibes widget so users could embed a slimmed down MSG client into their Netvibes page, and looking around all the info to do with Universal Widget API (UWA) – seems to be straightforward enough so far – good that the widget will also be able to work with Google & Apple dashboard.
Main issue is going to be deciding exactly what the functionality of the widget should be – my thought at the moment is that it should just show your status, plus your currently online contacts (not in groups??), then if you want to get more info etc (or chat) you’ll need to launch the actual MSG application.
Any suggestions as to whether this is enough/too much etc etc welcome (especially with not displaying the users in groups, and not showing offlien users).
Been thinking about creating a netvibes widget for MSG, once the Netvibes widget API is released (announcement), might be good thing to do, especially since we’ve already got a an API for MSG – so ought to be straightforward enough to fix up. Then we can automatically have a widget for a plethora of platforms/applications with very little effort! Would be especially good when Netvibes supports OpenID and if we can allow people to log in to MSG using their OpenID account. Would be very nice if the OU became an OpenID identity provider …