Digg released a Digg Widget a few days ago. It seems odd to us that no official widget existed before; at the same time it seems odd to us that Digg needed an official widget. This new widget is basically a customiz-ed/able RSS reader (of sorts, see note below). As far as we can remember, Digg has provided RSS feeds for various categories, topics, users, actions, etc. These feeds are pulled into the widget and displayed for the user. Items link back to digg.com as to be expected. Design of the widget is simple and to the point.
Customizing the widget and getting your own is just a few quick steps away. You can choose a few default themes or customize the color scheme yourself. Next, you have the decision of what you want to show in the widget. Such as, all stories, by topic, top 10, by user, among a few others. Lastly, you get to choose what and how items are displayed. Number of items, Digg counts, titles and descriptions are some of the elements you have control over. The preview widget is displayed and updated as you make your selections, which is a nice touch.
The code is presented at the bottom; also as you make your selections. Overall, it is a nice implementation and clean design. As this widget evolves, we believe it will be even better.
For a completely integrated blog experience, you could just plug the RSS feed into a WordPress RSS widget/plugin. What is the real draw for this widget to a blog owner? If the RSS feeds are already available, then why mess with the additional Digg Widget code?
Or, if you like a completely customized widget (and you have the skill), just find the RSS feed you want and build your own. Or, if you like a RSS widget that already exists, just plug in the RSS feed into your favorite RSS widget.
To be fair, the official Digg Widget is simple to use for the general public. And, we did notice the option to restrict the items to a specific domain. We don’t believe there is a standard RSS feed for that option, so it does seem this widget has additional value that you can’t get on your own. However, this option is likely useless for a small site that doesn’t get much traffic or “diggs.” Only larger sites with digg activity will benefit from this feature.
Note: The Digg Widget is not a RSS feed reader by definition. It does not utilize the existing RSS feeds on the site but rather a new web service API which returns JSON responses. We describe the widget as a RSS reader because conceptually and visually that is what it is.
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