Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Google Gadgets Everywhere

Portlets, Mashups, Gadgets are on top of the greatest Web components reusability nowadays.

A Google Search Gadget is perhaps one of those that are on the top of demand for custom websites. But the list is getting bigger opening serious possibilities to increase once again productivity and why not FUN.

Adding a Google Gadget to your personalized Google page or iGoogle is just a matter of browsing Google Gadgets [1] and clicking on the button "Add it now".

But now gadgets are starting to be supported in other personal google pages like GMail. The process is not that straight forward though and I think the "Add it Now" button will pretty soon change to a select box to allow users to include the Gadget in GMail, their own web pages and more! (Desktop perhaps ;-) For now those officially available Gadgets you can use from your own websites are listed in [2].

Here is how you get your Google Gadgets in GMail or other places capable of parsing XML defined modules (Google Gadgets specified by XML resources) Please be advise that not all XML defined modules will work from GMail. It will depend on how generic the final markup is.

1. Locate your "New Gadget URL". It is an XML file which so far can be found somewhere as part of the gadget main page. For example a good place to look for gadgets is of course the official Google Gadgets directory[1]. Locate the "View Source" link to get the URL of the XML file (Gadget URL). Just as a reminder, you can copy the link right clicking in your browser BTW.
2. To add your "Gadget URL" to Gmail be sure you have available a Gadget called "Add any gadget by URL". To get it follow path: Settings|Labs|"Add any gadget by URL"|Enable|Save Changes"
3. Follow path "Settings|Gadgets". Locate "Add any gadget by URL". Insert your new Gadget URL in the text box ...|Add".


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hosting Custom Domains in Google (GAE)

Google Application Engine allows for free hosting of (so far) Python Web applications. I was trying to map my GAE application to my domain which I bought from when I found it was not that straightforward.

Google by the time of this writing is not accepting domain transfers neither mapping "naked" domains [1] which means I cannot host my external bought domain using either of these possibilities.

However if your domain account provider allows for URL Forwarding [2] like does then you can solve your problem as follows:

1. From access your application to be mapped. Go to Versions, Add Domain. Click on "Sign up for Google Apps" Complete the form there (Remember your account admin information). Add your domain (for example and follow instructions in your email or from the web clicking on the link to verify your domain ownership. You might have to add a CNAME for your domain.

2. From your Google Application Engine Control Panel (in my case go to "Dashboard" "Service settings" "Add more services" and Enter your appId for "Google App Engine". Add as a Web Address "http://www..."

3. You might want to set up email delivery through Google. In order to make Google your email host follow the steps from "Dashboard|Set up Email" adding the proper MX records as directed there.

4. From your provider DNS admin page ( for example) create a CNAME record for www (CNAME www

5. Your app should be accessible from www. now. So go to your provider DNS admin page and forward http://your-domain to http://www.your-domain

6. After some minutes your site will be accessible both from naked (just FQDN) domain ( or www domain (

7. You can configure email, domains and more from your partner page (in my case


Monday, October 06, 2008

Using free Services instead of maintaining your site

I have no time to maintain my own site (at least I have not find it so far) so everytime I have a need (Source Code, WIKI, blog, RSS) I look for some free service to host my personal stuff. Of course it also means that I am restricted in security but so far it works for me. Below a list of some of those free services I am currently using:

Source Code