The Devver Blog

A Boulder startup improving the way developers work.

Someone please build an awesome embeddable code widget

One awesome thing about working at a startup is that you get to focus very deeply on the problem you’re trying to solve. On the other hand, if you’ve taken the leap and founded a startup, it’s probably because you tend to see solutions and opportunities everywhere. It can be really hard to focus on one thing when you often have ideas for services that you’d like to use, or better yet, build.

Dan and I regulary talk about services that we wish existed but we simply can’t work on due to our commitment to Devver. The other day we were discussing one problem we wish someone would solve: why can’t we easily post nicely formatted code in our blog posts?

All I want is this: I copy/paste some code into a web site, choose the programming language, copy some widget code and paste that code into my blog. The code is indented and formatted, has syntax coloration, wraps correctly (for any iPhone readers) and can be easy copied/pasted. Including line numbers (that don’t mess with copy/paste) is a bonus.

In other words, I just want Pastie in my blog posts.

Yes, I know there are a few really nice projects that you can install on your server that will do all this. But we could all host our own video as well, but it’s just easier to upload and embed a video on YouTube or Vimeo.

This wouldn’t just have to be for the good of humanity either. Such a service could make money off ads (each widget could have a link to the full-screen code on the main site, which could have ads for programming jobs, books, and conferences) or even sell off the data about which programming languages were most popular (in blogs and on the main site).

Maybe there is a solution for this (if there is, please let me know in the comments. I’m more than willing to publicly display my ignorance in order to learn about it), but if there is, I don’t see it widely being used and it’s not easy to find on Google. If there isn’t (yet), please go forth and build. I’ll be anxiously waiting.

Written by Ben

October 30, 2008 at 7:53 am

Posted in Development, Hacking

11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Have you seen this? http://www.midnightcoder.net/blog/viewpost.rails?…( not my blog but looks similar to what you are looking for…

    Kevin

    October 30, 2008 at 11:44 am

  2. looks like that uses this:
    http://code.google.com/p/syntaxhighlighter/

    kevin

    October 30, 2008 at 11:45 am

  3. Kevin – thanks for the link. I had seen pages that used SyntaxHighlighter before, but I couldn't remember where I had seen it or what it was called. I've added a link to SH in the post.

    SH looks pretty awesome (and I'm guessing that's what we'll end up using on the blog), but I still think there would be advantages to a web app version. As one tutorial for SH notes, "if you are using Blogger, you will have to upload these [Javascript] files to an external hosting site," which is annoying. An app like this would get all the standard benefits of web apps (e.g. no need to download a new version to fix bugs) and you could even get cool stuff like viewing similar code to the snippet you're currently viewing.

    bhb

    October 30, 2008 at 12:08 pm

  4. Kevin – thanks for the link. I had seen pages that used SyntaxHighlighter before, but I couldn't remember where I had seen it or what it was called. I've added a link to SH in the post.

    SH looks pretty awesome (and I'm guessing that's what we'll end up using on the blog), but I still think there would be advantages to a web app version. As one tutorial for SH notes, "if you are using Blogger, you will have to upload these [Javascript] files to an external hosting site," which is annoying. An app like this would have all the standard benefits of web apps (e.g. no need to download a new version to fix bugs) and you could even get cool stuff like viewing similar code to the snippet you're currently viewing.

    bhb

    October 30, 2008 at 12:09 pm

  5. Dan also posted this question on Stack Overflow and there have already been some suggestions

    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/251297/is-ther

    bhb

    October 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm

  6. Gist have embed feature, so I wrote a WP plugin that sends the code to Gist and do the magic on WP posts🙂
    gist-it (code 'embeder' and syntax high…

    Dirceu Jr.

    November 4, 2008 at 1:15 pm

  7. Awesome basically Gist is exactly what we were looking for and the plug in wrapper around it looks cool. Now that we have gone ahead and integrated google's syntax highlighter into our project I am not sure if we will use it all the time, but it is awesome to see that this service exists out there thanks.

    danmayer

    November 6, 2008 at 5:31 pm

  8. […] Someone please build an awesome embeddable code widget […]

  9. Try gigya.com, it is pretty much the standard for sharing now, it's ree, you can opt-in to be a publisher to make money when they recommend branded content to be posted as well.

    Dave

    February 24, 2009 at 4:07 pm

  10. Pretty sure this is a company person since it doesn't make any sense related to the widgets we are discussing. So yippie for gigya for spamming up.

    danmayer

    February 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm

  11. […] few weeks ago, I wrote about my desire for an awesome embeddable code widget.The most common solution that people suggested in the comments (and on the thread on Stack […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: