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how to embed Last.FM widgets on a wordpress.com blog

sometimes it’s useful to see Google ads, they may tell you some interesting things:


apparently, an advertiser of this sponsored link to the “community owned site” bought a ’wordpress.com’ keyword bid from Google

so, if you want to embed any of Last.FM’s widgets in your wordpress.com blog you are supposed to end up on the wordpress.org landing page (wordpress.org/hosting) and click on some affiliated links. (oh, and also you can’t discuss hosting in the .com forums)

because, as you might probably know, wp.com, being powered by the so called WPMU* application, is very limited in what can be embedded into user pages.

unless, of course, an interested service makes an “attractive deal” with Automattic.

I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that request to add Last.FM support is the most asked one on .com (see forums). Last.FM is a pretty much open platform itself, the sombre black WP logo is promoted on ’copy + paste code’ of every of its widgets. besides, there are at least dozen of various Last.FM plugins and widgets for WP from community. so, what’s the deal?

the answer is probably lack of that said “attractive” (for Automattic) deal. TGA, as always, nailed it again:

last.fm are doing pretty well without wordpress.com, so they had no real incentive to come courting them.

*) WPMU stands for WordPress Multi-User. however, the more proper name for it would be WMPB — WP Multi-Blog.

due to undesigned architecture it does not allow client-side scripting (javascript), embeds (flash etc), iframes. nor WPMU users can edit layout of their templates (they are shared across the host) and so on, and so on.

8 responses to “how to embed Last.FM widgets on a wordpress.com blog

  1. Andrea May 8, 2008 at 18:56

    Nope, out of the box it doesn’t. But you know what? Someone who knows what they’re doing can have it enabled for certain blogs.

    Or, you know, enable last.fm specifically, make a widget for it, whatever.

    It just comes down to them choosing not to.

  2. options May 8, 2008 at 19:17


    I beg your pardon, but I am not sure that I can make of your comment correctly.

    Are you talking about WPMU constraints? if so, then, no, they cannot be eliminated even on a customized install due to XSS vulns.

    there are heluva widgets for Last.FM, my point is already very well put by This Girl Again:

    You’re incapable of coding it yourselves or adapting a third-party one to suit your needs, so we should be sending requests for this widget on to last.fm rather than to you?

    OK, and why couldn’t you have told people that when they started asking for it months ago? If they needed to be trotting off to last.fm and telling them to show you the money code, then it could all have been done by now.

    just to be sure. as the title suggests this post is about wp.com

    ETA (after more thorough re-reading ;-)

    ah, yes, indeed it does come down to them choosing not to. they’ve even specifically asked Vod:Pod*to make sure our tool works just for flash video embeds“; see also: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/tags.php?tag=embed-video

    *) a web-service which hotlinks from misc. video hostings.
    run by Remixation, Inc., which, just by the pure incident, “are proud to have taken an investment” from the same VC as the Automattic.

  3. Andrea May 9, 2008 at 18:14

    Yep, it is a choice, like to choose to not install any features/plugins that add tables to the database (I’m fuzzy on that, I admit, but I swear I saw someone mention it somewhere.)

    And you *can* whip up a little something for WPMU and allow for any javascript in the sidebars (for example). I know because I’ve done it. I’ve got a little flag in the backend I can turn on for trusted users so it’s not a free-for-all. On a large scale, this manual checkbox probably wouldn’t be practical though.

    email me if you want the technical specs, because I’m sure if I mention it out in public, the hook will get stripped out.

  4. options May 9, 2008 at 19:14

    re: last.fm on wordpress.com
    I highly doubt that this particular choice has anything to do with DB or any other technical issues at all. wrapping the stock last.fm widgets (just flash embeds) into sidebar widget and/or FauxML shortcodes is not exactly a rocket science. just as well as making sane Global Tags links (see also).

    the matter is, CBS is a too tasty morsel to miss…

    so, yeah, it is a choice of course, “if there’s an intention, then a thousand of opportunities exists. no intention, a thousand of obstacles arises.”

    re: WPMU’s marked limp
    * an every hack can be hacked even more so.
    * users never can be trusted (in this regard) only a code can (provided it’s been audited, preferably by someone else).
    * as such, one can probably inject their own new role (or redefine an existing one) with a ‘unfiltered_html’ cap via plugin. but it does not matter on which part of the page (sidebar, header, footer, content) JS/random flash is allowed. until auth cookies for all users are served from the very same single domain (plus, they are not HttpOnly) I think it would be a potential hole prone to XSS.

    heck, what we’re talking about here? I can’t even put a mere *list* markup (or a HR) in this very comment box (let alone image)!

    not to mention a dance I have to go through* just to reply on your comment due to lack of the Preview (let alone Reply) and overall undesigned idiotic UI/workflow (and, yes, I am aware about Absolute Comments, but it doesn’t make anyone’s life easier here on wordpress.com).

    *) ‘reply to comment’ dance:
    1. type a single char; press Post Comment;
    2. click Edit Comment (means load page);
    3. press shift-View This Comment (means load page);
    4. select Moderated status; press Save (means load page);
    5. hit Back browser button (means load page);
    6. edit text; press Save (means load page);
    7. switch to the post tab; hit reload (means load page); switch to Edit Comment tab; goto 5 until done;
    8. select Approved status; press Save (means load page).

  5. that girl again May 10, 2008 at 15:48

    I’m wondering whether it would help at all if wordpress.com users approached last.fm saying ‘look, we would really like to be able to use your widgets but the truth is that Automattic won’t consider it unless you bribe them.’

    Or whether last.fm would say ‘pfft, those guys have $29m in funding, what do they think we are, some sort of charity for rich people?’

  6. options May 10, 2008 at 20:43

    /me *giggles*

    well, for the record .com users tried to approach last.fm. without saying the details mentioned above, of course. for they are naturally unaware (as well as about ads, global tags and other nuances).

    on the other hand Automattic could say, “those guys have $280m after they have been bought (reaction of the community) by US MegaMediaCorp”. we ain’t a charity either” ;-)

    I am a huge fan of radio in general (not so about TV, quite an opposite) and of those I linked above in particular.

    oh, perhaps, Automattic guys more addicted to Pandora? I dunno how it’s doing now (for the apparent reasons), but many report it is “very easy”; just like WP. ;-)

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