Friday, December 16, 2016

Special Edition: The LatinLOLCats Widget, Now With HTTPS

Thanks to a great program at my school that gives faculty and students access to web hosting with easy-to-use HTTPS at the fabulous Reclaim Hosting, I've been able to revamp the LatinLOLCats script so that it will run in mixed-content environments, like a learning management system or other web space that is itself using HTTPS instead of just plain HTTP. Many people have written me over the years about the trouble they were having with the HTTP versions of the scripts, but I think this new approach should solve many of those old problems! All the cat images now have HTTPS addresses, and so does the javascript itself. You can see the 200-pixel-wide version in the sidebar of this blog, and I'm inserting the 400-pixel-wide version here (if you're reading this by email, you'll need to look at the post online to see the script at work):

Canvas, the new learning management system at my school, is so strict that even HTTPS is not enough; no kind of javascript is allowed. To get around that, I've made an iframe version of the widget, so it's even possible for me to display the random LatinLOLCats inside Canvas. If any of you are using Canvas at your schools, you might find this handy! Here's proof that I have real live random Latin LOLCats on display. Pretty sneaky, if I do say so myself!

That page inside Canvas is also where you will find all the information you need to get a copy of the code you can copy-and-paste into your webspace to see the cats at random, along with a source table that shows all the cats in the script: Widget for LatinLOLCats. Right now, there are just over one hundred cats included in the script, but I will be adding a couple hundred more to the script this weekend if all goes well.
Update: There are 410 cats in the widget now! :-)

Over the course of the coming year, I'll be taking my other old widgets (the best of them anyway) and moving them over into this HTTPS space, adding them to an ever-growing Widget Catalog. If you like the LatinLOLCats, perhaps you will like the Growth Mindset Cats for example.

At the end of 2017 I'll be discontinuing the old versions of the scripts, but thanks to the dynamic power of javascript, I should be able to update those scripts to display a link to the new HTTPS versions, alerting people that they need to switch the code they were using to the new version. I'm excited to be able to revive these scripts for the new era of HTTPS content, and I'm very grateful to my school for offering us a great web hosting solution, and also for choosing a learning management system where it is possible to create totally public classes, sharing our work with the world. If people have questions about Canvas, which we just started using this year at my school, I'm blogging about it here: Teaching with Canvas: Confessions of an LMS Minimalist.

So, I hope you will enjoy the new "secure" LatinLOLCats, and I'll be back with a normal edition of the Bestiaria tomorrow. :-)