Christian Heilmann

Posts Tagged ‘hack’

Fixing the Slideshare HTML displayer

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

It is impossible to write a blog post about HTML5 and embed slides in Flash in the same without suffering lots of wisecracking comments that don’t have anything to do with the content. To avoid this, I wrote Slideshare HTML and blogged in detail about how it works.

Well, I hacked and scraped and sooner or later this will always bite you in the bum. As it did when the Slideshare developers changed the URLs of the images of the mobile version which of course broke my embedding tool and got me a lot of emails asking me why oh why I have forsaken people.

Bitching on the developer mailing list of Slideshare helped and now the oEmbed API returns not only the number of slides and urls and all the other goodies but also the right image suffix to use.

So, in short words – it is fixed and as I am now using the API rather than building a ScrAPI it should work smoother. Bookmarklet – download different formats

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

If you followed my exploits lately in the realm of HTML5 video you’d know that I am a big fan of the video conversion service This service automatically converts your videos to dozens of different formats and redirects your browsers and mobile devices to the correct format when you call up a single URL.

Being a paranoid developer, I also wanted to have a way to download the browser optimised versions of the videos, so I wrote a bookmarklet to allow you to do that.

Simply drag the following link to your browser toolbar: download

The bookmarklet then adds links to any page to download the different versions:

Vid-ly download links and displaying your words in an HTML document using YQL

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Whilst I am still not quite sure why, I signed up for, a service where people can describe you in three words. My results range from expected over disturbing up to WTF, so that’s all good.

Now, has no API as far as I can see and in the admin section there is a nice list of 10 most used words. To work around that I thought I use YQL - the statement is pretty easy:

select * from html where
url=”” and
| unique(field=”strong”)
| sort(field=”yahoo:repeatcount”)
| reverse()

You can Try in console to see that it does what you ask it to – get the words, make them unique and sort them by frequency.

Add a dash of JavaScript and you have a list you can display in your pages:

display of the list of words

You can see the script in action here or you can also get the source on GitHub.

Converting a data table on the web to an autocomplete translator with YQL and YUI

Monday, August 31st, 2009

During the Summer of Widgets hack event last weekend, Tomas Caspers, Nina Wieland and Jens Grochdreis had the idea of creating a translation tool to translate from the local Cologne accent to German and back.

For this, they found a pretty impressive data source on the web, namely this web site by Reinhard Kaaden. The task was now to turn this into a fancy interface to make it easy for people to enter a “Kölsch” term and get the German equivalent and vice versa. For this, I proposed YQL und YUI and here is a step-by-step explanation of how you can do it.

You can see the final outcome here: Deutsch-Kölsch übersetzer
or by clicking the screenshot:

Deutsch-Koelsch Uebersetzer by  you.

Step 1: Retrieve and convert the data

A very easy way to get data from the web is using YQL. In order to get the whole HTML of the source page all we had to do is select * from html where url=''. That gave us the whole data though and we only wanted to get the content of the tables.

Using Firebug and looking up some XPATH we came up with the following statement that would give us the language pairs as German-Koelsch inside paragraphs: //table[1]/tr/td/p[not(a)]. The not(a) statement is needed to filter out the A-Z navigation table cells. We chose JSON as the output format in YQL and dktrans as the callback function name.

All in all this gave us a URL that would load the data we wanted and send it to the function dktrans once it has been pulled:

All that had to go in there to create the Autocomplete controls was more or less 100% copied from the simple Autocomplete example on the YUI site.
First thing is to get some handlers to the input fields I want to populate with the translation data:

var di = YAHOO.util.Dom.get(‘deutschinput’);
var ci = YAHOO.util.Dom.get(‘koelschinput’);

Then you need to instantiate the data source for the autocomplete and give it the language array. As a responseSchema you can define a field called term:

dktransdata.cologneDS = new YAHOO.util.LocalDataSource(
dktransdata.cologneDS.responseSchema = {fields:[‘term’]};

Next you need to instantiate the AutoComplete widget. This one gets three parameters: the input element, the output container and the data source. You can set useShadow to get a small dropshadow on the container:

dktransdata.cologneAC = new YAHOO.widget.AutoComplete(
dktransdata.cologneAC.useShadow = true;

This turns the input of the Cologne language into an Autocomplete, but it doesn’t yet populate the other field. For this we need to subscribe to the itemSelectEvent of the AutoComplete widget. The event handler of that event gets a few parameters, the text content of the chosen element is the first element of the third element in the second parameter (this is explained in detail on the YUI site). All you need to do is set the value of the other field to the corresponding element of the translation maps we defined:

function cologneHandler(s,a){
di.value =[a[2][0]];

All that is left is to do the same for the German to Cologne field:

dktransdata.germanDS = new YAHOO.util.LocalDataSource(
dktransdata.germanDS.responseSchema = {fields:[‘term’]};
dktransdata.germanAC = new YAHOO.widget.AutoComplete(
dktransdata.germanAC.useShadow = true;
function germanHandler(s,a){
ci.value = dktransdata.kd[a[2][0]];

Step 5:Putting it all together

You can see the full source of the translation tool on GitHub and can download it there, too.
Of course we are not really finished here as this only works in JavaScript environments. As the translator was meant to be a widget though, this was not an issue. That the autocomplete does not seem to work on mobiles is one, though :).

Making this work without JavaScript would be pretty easy, too. As the data is returned in JSON we can also use this in PHP and write a simple form script If wanted, I can do that later.

TTMMHTM: Evangelist Handbook, Billboard charts API, collaborative editing, IE6 bashing, pretty JSON, fancy fast food and terrible bugs.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Things that made me happy this morning