I tend to read a lot of web pages every work day and they can all blur together if I’m not careful, or the coffee machine is on the fritz. So I use a couple of methods of saving and organizing my webstream, including Google Notebook for stuff that’s highly relevant to whatever project or story I’m working on, and the social networking site del.icio.us for stuff that’s not immediately useful but might have the makings of a future story or blog post.
Naturally, I wanted to share my del.icio.us stream in the sidebar of this blog so you all could see what I’m up to. There used to be a downloadable widget plug-in from del.icio.us that you added to your widgets directory to do just that but it mysteriously stopped working months ago. Even more annoyingly, my WordPress installation indicated that an upgrade was available to the del.icio.us plug-in but every time I tried to install it, it not only failed it also somehow wiped out my MyBlogLog plug-in. Frak!
Today, I decided that instead of trying to get WordPress to automatically upgrade the del.icio.us plug-in for the millionth time, I’d do it manually. But when I downloaded the linked file, I discovered it was actually the outdated sidebar plug-in that you used to need back before WordPress 2.2 to have any widgets on your blog at all. No wonder it messed up my skunk works. Thus, important lesson number one: do not use the automatic upgrade if your old del.icio.us plug-in has stopped working.
Fishing around del.icio.us, I eventually found the site’s tools page with links and instructions to create several kinds of widgets. All you do is pick one widget, like linkrolls, adjust the settings to display just what you want and copy the resulting code that del.icio.us produces for you. Then back in your WordPress installation, go to the Design>Widgets menu and create a new text widget. WordPress has some instructions about text widgets here. Paste the code from the del.icio.us site into a new text widget, remember to save your changes, and Bob’s your uncle (or in my case, Bob’s your dad). You can now once again see all the web sites I’ve saved lately at the bottom of the right-hand column.