November 30, 2008

How to publish a chess game on your blog

Contents

What's the problem?

Blogging is already one of the most popular ways of Web publishing for a good reason. The concept of simple to operate environment where authors can quickly publish their articles (i.e. postings) is ap­pealing to everyone, especially those who tried our hands on Web publishing the old-fashioned way (with little or no automation). Authors of chess related content have always had one extra wish - to be able to post a chess game/position so that to illustrate their ideas on a chessboard (e.g. this nice wish-list Publishing of chess games). Sure, pictures could be used but anybody who ventured to gener­ate, store on disk, upload and afterwards modify chess diagrams will tell you that not only is it time consuming, but it isn't much fun either. Moreover, chess diagrams are too static to meet the expecta­tions of today's Web where dynamic content (e.g. animation) is regarded as an essential element of modern design.

Over the years, applying the whole range of Web technologies, several solutions were developed but the problem was solved only to a certain extent. A complete, reliable and truly user-friendly solution remained to be seen. Here are a few of the key contenders:

  • Some solutions require a piece of software (an applet) to be installed on the server which may not always be possible, desirable or practical (very common situation in blog's environments). If you’re not a Webmaster and you don’t want to spend much time on maintenance or software upgrades, you might be disappointed by the amount of extra work;
  • Other solutions would transform our initial chess data into some proprietary internal format (usually based on HTML) which appears cryptic, illegible and only loosely related to chess. After a while, you may realize that (re)inventing new formats is more destructive than it appears at first sight. In most cases the final representation would be very difficult to modify after publishing (if at all possible);
  • Yet, other solutions introduce a whole new system for storing (and retrieving) user's chess data. To do that we are expected to trust our chess data to an external (third-party) repository. Among many drawbacks of such approach is the whole new set of skills that need to be learnt.

On the other hand, we all know how easy it is nowadays to publish rich text, photos and even videos. I kept asking myself: “Why should publishing of chess data be more difficult?”

My solution focuses on usability and leaves chess authors with only one concern: the chess data. All of the underlying implementation details are secondary and designed to stay behind the scenes. Users are expected to follow just a few steps that are easy to understand and carry out. The defining goal of my approach is to meet the best spirit of blogging: Authors should only worry about content.

Step One: Plugging in the extension.

Frankly, this is the installation step. It only needs to be done once and it literally takes a minute. Part of my project is a module called "deployChessViewer.js" which needs to be included in your blog's layout. Not a big task but, if you haven't modified your layout before, some extra caution is well justified. Login to your blog as usual, open the "Layout" tab and click on the "Edit HTML" link. Scroll down the template, which is inside the "Edit Template" box, until you find the </head> tag (there should be only one). On my original layout it was located two pages up from the very bottom. Here is a snapshot of the section of my layout just before the </head> tag.

...
body#layout #footer-wrap1 {
  padding-top: 0;
 }
]]></b:skin>
</head>
...

Carefully, without changing anything else, you need to insert the three highlighted lines from the box below into your template just before the </head> tag. The easiest, of course, is to select and copy the lines, then switch back to your layout editor and paste them into the template. When finished, click the "Save Template" button and you're done. Take your time if you're not comfortable editing the layout and consider making a backup before you start (just in case).

...
body#layout #footer-wrap1 {
  padding-top: 0;
 }
]]></b:skin>

<!-- Chess Viewer stub -->
<script src='http://chesstuff.googlecode.com/svn/deployChessViewer.js'
type='text/javascript'/>

</head>
...

Step Two: Formatting the chess data.

First of all, to get started you need to have your chess data in PGN format. Most likely that's already the case since PGN is the most popular format. Your initial PGN data (the source) needs to go through one extra step of preparation in order to be ready for publishing. I refer to it as data formatting (or wrapping) because it resembles various other formatting we do to improve the layout of our posts. This method of chess publishing stores your chess data in the most natural place - inside your post's body. Exactly like the rest of your article the chess data can be later modified as you wish. Such flexibility brings a lot of good news and accounts for some major advantages. Let's name a few:

  • Your chess data will be stored in its original source format exactly the way you submitted it in first place;
  • Modifying the source PGN later is not only possible but very straightforward and, best of all, you won't need anything special to do it (no new tools or skills);
  • You truly own your chess data and the integrity of your post is by design. This means that your chess data will always be available along with the rest of your post;
  • The backup policy that is already in place for your blog will automatically take care and backup your chess data as well (since it is an integral part of your posts).

During the formatting step you may also include some extra instructions to fine-tune the final presentation. Instead of going into lengthy explanations how to do it manually I developed a Web application that does the formatting for you: HTML Code Generator for Blogs. Explore the form and you will quickly have an idea of what this is about. For easy access you can find the same link under the Project's Resources section in the sidebar.

In a nutshell, the chess data is formatted into a ChessViewer (CV) section which consists of three segments nested within each other: the outermost HTML tags, a JavaScript wrapper and the PGN data. The innermost segment is the largest one and is also the easiest to recognize as it contains the original PGN source with its original formatting preserved. You can't do any harm playing with the form so feel free to submit your own PGN and see if you can identify the three segments in the CV section.

Step Three: Publishing of your post.

The result of the previous step should be a CV section (or a block, if you prefer) which is ready to be inserted into the body of your posting. To do so you need to select the "Edit HTML" mode of the post editor, go to the right location in your post and paste the CV section. Once published, the CV section will always be part of your post unless you decide to remove it.

That's all there is to it. At this point, you must realize that you're running out of excuses not to share your games and puzzles with us. Please, tell all your friends and neighbors about the easiest and most powerful method of chess publishing you just came across.

Editing the CV section

When you feel like editing a CV section after publishing (eg fixing or improving it) you’d need to use the "Edit HTML" mode of the post editor. If you're familiar with that mode you already know that your post won't appear the way readers normally see it on their screens. Instead, all of the otherwise invisible tag elements will be shown and that will make editing somewhat trickier. The biggest advantage of "Edit HTML" mode is that it gives you full control over every aspect of your post’s layout and content.

Most of the time you will be modifying the original PGN data (ie the PGN segment). Whether you're fixing an illegal move or introducing a new variation or annotation you can use the full power of the editor. A complex game with complete analyses will have pretty large PGN so you might want to make it friendlier by using line breaks and extra white space. All of your formatting will be preserved making future editing easier.

After a while you might be tempted to tweak some of the parameters in the JavaScript segment. Good example would be if you changed up your mind about a custom color. That won't be a problem if you have (at least) some minimal JavaScript language experience. If not, you might inadvertently break the syntax causing some kind of runtime error when the page is getting loaded by the browser. Of course, you should try to avoid that scenario and be ready to revert back your changes. The next two paragraphs only concern those of us who're brave enough to play with the JavaScript code. Non-technical users are encouraged to skip ahead.

There is this peculiar detail, I should warn you about, which is especially relevant to users of Google's blogger.com software. In your blog's "Formatting" preferences under "Settings" tab you will find the "Convert line breaks" option with Yes/No possible values (also known as "Gratuitous Line Breaks", see sidebar for more info). Regardless of that parameter current setting, your CV section will be published successfully and displayed just as expected. The warning only applies to future editing of the CV section and only if you have the parameter "Convert line breaks" set to "Yes". In such case you should be extra careful modifying the JavaScript segment. For example, inserting new lines will very likely destroy the formatting and cause runtime errors. If you find yourself in such troubles you can always extract the PGN segment and reformat the entire CV section from scratch using the form (above).

In fact, the side effects of that parameter setting are well known in other situations (unrelated to chess) and every blogger gets some experience with them. I can only wish that blogging software providers could find a better, less painful solution. Allow me to say that formatting documents by pressing the "Enter" key was a common practice in the era of typewriters. It still has a limited usage in plain text documents (like PGN ones) but in the on-line world of HTML you should definitely know better. If so, you could completely avoid the possibility of nasty side effects by keeping the parame­ter "Convert line breaks" set to "No". In that case the post editor will be more forgiving to your editing style and you will be more flexible in your choices.

Disclaimer

The author makes no representation about the suitability of this solution for any particular purpose. The software is provided "as is" without any express or implied warranty.

Annex

The following pages make use of the above method:

Using the Chess Viewer Applet
Six Must-Have Features of a user-friendly Chess Viewer (a guide to essential functionality)
Susan Polgar in Austin as posted by Susan on her Blog A very exciting game!
The Pope's Puzzle (along with a curious offshoot puzzle)

Related documents and readings:

Handling illegal moves

81 comments:

 
author Fubbe
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/02314418476127966181
adminClass blog-admin pid-1886455622
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Fubbe said...

If I want to publish on a wordpress.org blog, do I follow the same instructions, or does something differ?

 
author Nick
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
adminClass blog-admin pid-8567400
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Nick said...

It should work with any blogging software. I have no experience with wordpress.org blogs but I’m sure they have something like Layout (or Template) where you can insert a stylesheet of yours (for example). You should use that on step one. Later, on step three, you should use the equivalent of "Edit HTML" mode in your post editor. The rest of the instructions should be the same. Keep us posted about your progress.

 
author Anonymous
authorUrl 
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Anonymous said...

This is good stuff... I will try to find time to try it... I recently started some experiment along this lines... here is some alternative ... it's in Spanish...
http://eduardo-misc.blogspot.com/

 
author Nick
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
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Nick said...

Well done, Eduardo
Chess Publishing Test
I see you’re trying several different chess publishing methods on your test blog.
Let us know when you draw conclusions about their pros and cons.
What’s your preferred method as a blogger?

 
author Randall Shane
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/04495515623248530328
adminClass blog-admin pid-1502047103
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Randall Shane said...

This is fantastic!

Thank you!

My test page

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

You’re very welcome, Mr. Shane.
I love your blog’s layout and I find it quite stylish.
I have no doubt that you will soon have a matching color-schema for the chess viewer.

I’m curious to see it.

 
author Chess Publishing
authorUrl http://chessteaching.blogspot.com/
adminClass blog-admin pid-1712815458
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Chess Publishing said...

Thanks for your comment which enabled me to find your blog and chess publishing method.
I have added this method to publish chess games to my blog that gives an overview of the different methods to accomplish this.

Because I consider this an important alternative I also have added a link in the side bar.

Two suggestions:
1. Consider offering an alternative with a smaller sized board, because otherwise it will not fit within all templates as you can see when you look at my blog in Internet Explorer. (In FireFox is turns out to be OK.)

2. Make it possible to select the starting postion, because even if you want to publish the whole game, most of the time the most interesting postion isn't the starting postion.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Well done, Chess Teacher!
I do appreciate the time you spent on trying all the available chess publishing methods on your site. I much liked your original wish list and I find it quite complete and very helpful. Here are some short answers to your suggestions:

Re: 1) Smaller board isn’t such an easy solution as it seems. Developing the product it that direction will definitely increase the download size and negatively affect the startup time. Luckily there is win-win solution with no downsides. Little fine-tuning of the blog’s template (or layout) will do the miracle. It is indeed a pity that many of the preset layouts are designed with 800x600 screen resolution in mind. Here is a post that explains the issue: Fitting CVD on a blog's page.

The good news for you is that you’re almost there and the “Harbor” template is really easy to modify. I’ve done it before and if you need help I’d be glad to share my experience. (my e-mail is at the bottom of CVD’s home page).

Re: 2) Such a feature does make sense and I did consider it for a while. After a closer look it turned out that it is somewhat redundant because a very similar effect is already possible. Here is why.
As you may know CVD has a “GameToSelect” parameter that allows a specific game in a big PGN to be pre-selected. (see for example, Using the Chess Viewer Applet ). If I’m getting your request right, you just need one extra game in the PGN (with only a FEN description) that will act more or less like a chess diagram (you may or may not include the moves to the end of the game). Doing so comes with a nice freebee – if your position is on Black’s move the board will be automatically inverted.

Shortly, the PGN standard was designed with lots of powerful features and we should make use of them as much as we can.

Hope I’m helping

 
author Chess Teacher
authorUrl http://chessteaching.blogspot.com/
adminClass blog-admin pid-1364949503
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Chess Teacher said...

Thanks for the answers

Regarding 2
I feel that this solution makes it very different for the visitor of the blog. I like to show all the moves, because it may be interesting how we can reach such a position, but moving back feels different from selecting another game.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Chess Teacher,
Here is an example that uses my suggestion above: A mid-game position example

 
author Chess Teacher
authorUrl http://chessteaching.blogspot.com
adminClass blog-admin pid-617048420
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Chess Teacher said...

Yes, but I want to show something like I have done in Some traps in the Sicilian game for some of my lessons.

I think that the method you propose works very well for puzzles and exercises.

 
author Anonymous
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Anonymous said...

Hi Nick-
Great job! I've used nearly all chess publishing options out there, and this is the best. All the others lack something, whether it's the ability to add annotations, play through variations, move the pieces on the board to create new variations, publish multiple games on one page w/ one viewer, etc..this has all of them. It's also very flexible and easy to use once the initial code is added to the template. Thanks for making this possible. Here's my blog: http://greennmonster.blogspot.com/

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Well done, Gmonster!
I’m glad you liked it. I appreciate your “easy to use” observation because that was one of my main goals. The claim is so easy to abuse, nowadays, that I prefer to avoid using it. I’ve never seen a software title that would claim: “Our solution is NOT easy to use”.

Besides, I have more good news for you. I’m now experimenting with a nice addition to this publishing method that will make use of some internal features specific to blogs on blogger.com. Believe it or not but it will make the publishing process even easier by solving the “permalink URL” nuisance. Of course, the method will remain fully compatible with other blogging software and all the current entries. As usual, I like the implementation details out of my face so it will be a nice piece of cake.

Stay tuned!

 
author Anonymous
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Anonymous said...

Hi, I have Chess Assistant ( the Convekta/CHessOK product ) that also has a a publish to HTML option.

It works perfectly when used locally, but would you have any idea if I could use it with a blog as I was going to start one up ?

In my currently limited HTML experience it appears to create folders on my local drive with the image files and scripts it requires.

Do I guess correctly that these woudl need to be hosted on the server where the blog is ? Can you do that with Blogger ?

Any info appreciated.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi Anon,
I’m not familiar with CA Web publishing and I can’t help you on that. Out of my other experience I can tell you that if they don’t specifically provide (and talk about) Blogging support most likely they don’t understand the environment and its limitations. In that case you will end up doing a lot of extra adjustments (or fine-tuning) which were mostly the developer’s responsibility in first place. Yes, general HTML knowledge will help but the whole purpose of blogging is to minimize on such requirement.

No, I don’t think Blogger.Com will let you create folders but you, sure, can manually upload individual images as part of your posts. Again, with some extra work you might find a workaround. The question to ask is whether that’s acceptable to you.

 
author Johanna
authorUrl http://www.skframat.blogg.se
adminClass blog-admin pid-1386037847
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Johanna said...

Sadly, I can't make it work! I thought it would be easy, but it really wasn't! When I put the text on "body" my whole background disappears. Maybe this doesn't work on my system? You're free to look in to my blog, but it's in swedish. Thank you anyway and good luck!

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi, Johanna
It shouldn’t be that difficult but the variety of Blogging solutions is huge and there might be unknown to me obstacles.
1) Have you inserted the “deployChessViewer.js” script just before the </head> tag? (step one). That should be easy since I don’t see too much in your <head> section. I’d put it just after the “script_blogg.js” and “script.js” scripts of yours.
2) Using the form “HTML Code Generator for Blogs” (step two) prepare a CV section and make a post containing it.
3) Leave that post for a while (even if it doesn’t work) so that I can take a look.

Do you have the background problem on step 1, step 2 or all the time?
I’m sure we should be able to figure it out.

 
author Nigel Hanrahan
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Nigel Hanrahan said...

Wow. Well done Nikolai! I remember, a few years back, chatting with you on Susan Polgar's Discussion Board in regard to the viewer. Congrats on your efforts!

The only real difficulty I had was to be sure that I stripped all the non-pgn annotations from the game file before posting it. I've managed to post a complete game and an endgame so far. I really appreciate the ability to post variations.

My blog is over at
http://gwyddbwyll.blogspot.com/

I get the impression that it might be a good idea to limit the number of times Chess Viewer Deluxe is used per blog entry. 2? 3? Or am I mistaken in that regard?

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hey Nigel, it’s a small world indeed. Nice to meet you again.
Good job to you too publishing games on your new blog.

The only real difficulty I had was to be sure that I stripped all the non-pgn annotations from the game file before posting it.
The PGN validation is almost fun, now, using the “PGN Validator” application. It is part of the “HTML Code Generator for Blogs” and gives us a nice playground where we can gradually improve our PGNs until we have them completely valid.

No, there is no technical limitation on the number of CV sections in a single post. The CVD applet can handle as many as you want. It’s more of a design issue similar to the number of videos we want to have in a single post.

 
author Wayne
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Wayne said...

Thanks Nikolai this really worked well for me! I am extremely grateful to you for all of your work you have put into this for those of us who love chess and want to share our love of chess with the World!

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Welcome aboard, Wayne
Looking at your blog MY WORLD:WELCOME TO IT I can only enjoy the way you put PGN to work. I've always preferred as many annotations and as deep variations as possible to be able to even start understanding the key concepts. Luckily PGN was designed to accommodate for all that and making full use of it is all we need.

Your great experience with various chess publishing methods tells me that you must have appreciated to have your original PGN data intact and available for future editing as you wish, anytime and anywhere on the Web. I felt that such a feature complimented the original ideas behind the PGN and helped it grow into a true chess-language of the Web. On the contrary, it never made sense to me when PGN is misused as "a mere intermediate format" that only gets "transformed" (or translated) into something else which we (humans) cannot read/write.

Good job! I'll be your regular visitor.

 
author Mandarin
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/02539784436543161856
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Mandarin said...

Hi Nikolai. I've used CVD twice now. The first time it worked fine. The second time it generated an error message "java.lang.nullpointerexception" and there was no PGN input showing. Strangely enough the code was identical for the first and second time. I've taken down the second game for the moment. How do I get round this?
http://mandarin-chess.blogspot.com

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi, Mandarin
From what you’re giving me I can’t tell you much. Most likely it is PGN related so I suggest you use the “HTML Code Generator” and see what happens before you post it. Then take the generated output and try posting it on your blog. If the problem persists send me a link where I can see it for myself.

 
author Mandarin
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Mandarin said...

Nikolai - the output in the HTML Code Generator is fine. I've taken that and posted it on my blog but I still get the error message. I've left the finished product on the blog for you to see. The code is here: http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=759884655461231494&postID=8582660167468863771

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Mandarin,
I can see two examples on your blog:
1) “No fairy-tale ending” with Shirov-Carlsen game
2) “2009 US Championships” with Nakamura-Friedel game
There’s nothing wrong with the CV sections of both games and both are working well on my PC (using FF or IE). I see no error messages.
Have you tried another PC?
Try looking at puzzles/games on my blog and see if they work for you.
If they don’t, your next step is troubleshooting your Java installation.
I might be able to help you on that but it isn’t relevant here so we should use e-mail.

 
author Mandarin
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Mandarin said...

Nikolai, I've looked at CVD diagrams on two different Macs (not a PC) and the results are the same. With FireFox 3.0 I get the error message "java.lang.NullPointerException". With Safari I get the error message "netscape.Javascript.JSException". This happens on my blog, on your blog, and on the John Saunders blog bcmchess.blogspot.com.
To make things worse, I changed the template for my blog to "Harbor" and back again, and the diagrams would not publish at all even though the code is still there in the post.
Have you come across these problems before or am I and my Macs unique?

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

I’m sorry to hear that, Mandarin
No, you’re not the first Mac user who’s experiencing this kind of problems.
I’m afraid Mac isn’t one of my platforms and there’s nothing I can do to fix the issue.
It is impossible for me to know if that applies to every Mac user or just particular JREs.
As a final effort I’ve put together a small test which will help you pinpoint the core problem.
Java to Javascript
Please, e-mail me your further feedback and/or suggestion. I’m very curious to know which of your postings worked fine initially on your platform and how. (You said so above)

BTW: When switching your blog’s layouts back and forth you forgot to re-install the "deployChessViewer.js" piece.

 
author Carbon Celt
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Carbon Celt said...

@Nigel: I got the nullexception error as well, and my way around it was to publish but one game per page, so I limited my blog to one entry per page as well.
It's the only downside so far, I got from this nice applet.
Nice job, guys (and gals)!
I wonder if a simple pgn code like for wordprss woud work on Blogger too.
I'll let you know as soon as I find out.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
adminClass blog-admin pid-8567400
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Welcome aboard, Carbon Celt
I’m not sure if Nigel’s getting those “nullexception” so maybe you meant Mandarin...
Is your platform Mac?
Be aware that I and Mandarin are in the middle of some troubleshooting for Mac.
So far we found that LiveConnect isn’t supported the way it should be.
Please, try the test on this page: Testing LiveConnect object functionality
Feel free to send me an e-mail with your results and complete JRE/browser versions.

BTW, don’t waste your time trying the “pgn code” which is used in the WP plug-in on blogger. I would’ve done it that way (or better) if it was possible in first place.

 
author Carbon Celt
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Carbon Celt said...

Hi Nikolai, my platform is Mac, yes, but the Nullexceptionerror occured on blogger. It is solved when I only post one entry pe rpage, with only one board.
I followed the directions ( putting the call for the viewer in the html template ) but it wouldn't allow for several boards on a single page or post.
Thanks for this service though, it really is a great help ( and lookig good ) for publishing games.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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adminClass blog-admin pid-8567400
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Carbon Celt,
Unfortunately, Java on Mac turns out to be rather handicapped. Feel free to re-visited the test page and take a closer look at the results. If you see error messages than you know one reason the functionality of your system is restricted. I’m nicely surprised that individual pages are handled correctly under those conditions. If Java was fully supported then we would’ve been in position to ask for more.

 
author Harish Srinivasan
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/03861123209292894750
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Harish Srinivasan said...

This is great. I was able to successfully use it at our blog
http://buffalochess.blogspot.com/2009/07/best-game-of-last-decade.html
The only issue with this is that the annotations (comments) are visible only after the variation is made. For some comments like 5.Qe2 ({better than} 5.Nc3). Viewing such comments in this viewer can be confusing since after we make the 5.Nc3 move, the annotations says "better than". Do you have a suggestion to make such comments nicer.

Thanks

 
author Harish Srinivasan
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Harish Srinivasan said...

Similarly with comments such as below

5.Qe2 A novelty. Previously 5.Nc3 has been tried.

So here, it is not clear where to insert the pgn comment - curly brackets {} and where to start the variation with angle brackets ()

one solutions is

5.Qe2 {A novelty} ( {Previously} 5.Nc3 {has been tried} )
But again, we see here, that the comment appearing after the move is made makes it slightly confusing. Is it possible to have the pgn with comments and analysis on the side, and then the moves can be clicked around.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Yes, Harish, that was an amazing game indeed!
And what an excellent example of instructive annotations!
Thank you.

A possible solution to your first question is to replace “{better than}” with “{worse is}”.

Your PGN contains many variations some of which are nested several levels deep. Presenting such a game is challenging enough even without bringing the annotations to the table. The innovative GUI design of CVD introduced a powerful variation navigator which allowed a clear game flow to be maintained. Stepping in and out of variations is very smooth and the branching points are handled quite intuitively. I hope that part of the interface doesn’t need further explanations.

On the other hand, some special PGN annotations (or comments) do complicate the interface. Especially tricky are the pre-move comments, as in your examples. For the record, several chess viewers don’t even support those and I’ve seen very funny results. In CVD all type of comments are supported including multiple ones (e.g. more than one “{}” pair following a move). You’re right that displaying a pre-move comment in variations might seem odd but the rule is pretty simple.

a) If the preceding move has no comment the variation’s pre-move comment is displayed immediately after its branch is selected. Please, note that this is actually before stepping inside the variation (i.e. the diagram on the chessboard remains the same). For example, select black’s move 23…Bc5 in the game and try down-arrow to select a branch point. The look-ahead comment will appear with a special graphics indicating so.

b) If the preceding move already has comment(s) of its own no look-ahead comment will be displayed. The idea is that mixing such non-related comments is not likely to be of value.

 
author Harish Srinivasan
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Harish Srinivasan said...

Thank you so much. I had not realized that with the down arrow key, the board remains same, but the comments are displayed. Great. And another nice aspect with this realization, is that people completely just use arrow keys to navigate the variations. Its great not to be having to reach for the mouse every now and then. And yes I agree if the previous move already has comments, then it is more appropriate to have them separate. I really appreciate the parsing logic that has gone behind the development of this (coming from a csc background myself).

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

You’re very welcome, Harish!
With your CS background you’re sure to appreciate the following.

There are some really peculiar details about the pre-move comments in variations.
Let’s say we have a mainline move with it own comment and a variation that starts on the next move (ply) which has a pre-move comment. For example (from the game above):
10... b4 {A topical line.} 11.Nce2 ({The alternative} 11.Na4)

Now, let’s say we promote that variation to the mainline.
Finally we want to export the game’s PGN and send it to a friend.

How should the original pre-move comment be treated?

It seems obvious that if we are to preserve the pre-move comment we should create a separate second comment, like this:
10... b4 {A topical line.} {The alternative} 11.Na4 (11.Nce2)

Curiously, not many people realize that such multiple comments are perfectly allowed and valid as per PGN specification. I hope my simple example illustrates why they are also inevitable.

In other words, if a PGN chess viewer cares about compliance it must support multiple comments.

 
author Chess Manitoba
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Chess Manitoba said...

Hi,
I had a few moments while getting my car serviced (wifi) to try your viewer on my blog. http://chessmanitoba.blogspot.com.
Nice job on the viewer !

I also think the viewer is too large for most blog templates, although I may use it for our club's web page.
(Is there a way to supress the display of the scoresheet? That would solve my immediate concern.
I may just go with link to a regular web page.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Welcome aboard, Chess Manitoba
Excuse my curiosity but your car isn’t a Hummer or another huge SUV, is it.
I practice and encourage more efficient use of resources and that includes the blog’s layouts. Please, follow the link I provided in my first answer to Chess Teacher above.

 
author Chess Manitoba
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Chess Manitoba said...

Hi Nick,
No the vehicle in question is a 95 Honda Accord - still in very fine shape.
Now I checked your other post before (even though it is posted at Polgar site - less said about that, the better). My blog uses the 'Thisaway' theme, which uses fixed width columns.
I don't want to fiddle too much with it, so I will likely use a different solution I have in mind.
However, I may use the ChessViewer Deluxe for a non-blog site.
Thanks for your time.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Chess Manitoba,
I’d be happy to see CVD put to any good use that you have in mind.
Speaking about 'Thisaway' theme I can assure you it isn’t that difficult to adjust.
I did it before on one of Susan’s blogs here uschess.blogspot.com
If you don’t care too much about the rounded corners you should be able to modify yours pretty easily. Probably, next time while you’re waiting to get your nice car serviced.
Drop me an e-mail if you need some hints.

 
author Chess Manitoba
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Chess Manitoba said...

Thanks for your reply. I had experimented with some of the width parameters in the HTML, but it is very touchy - miss one and the result is ?!.
I looked at your code, but there does not appear to be a one to one match - the result on my blog had the same defect that many who have tried have; the ride column slides down.
It is not so important to me to use 3 hours or so to troubleshoot, so I did not save my changes.

 
author Chessiq
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Chessiq said...

Thanks for the wonderful job you have done. It is really much easier to publish games.
I don't know much about HTML or CSC or any programming for that matter ;-) so I have a couple of questions which may be complicated for me but are probably very easy for you.
First, is there a way for a use to get the PGN file from the game? For example, http://chessiq.blogspot.com/2009/08/painful-loss-was-sacrifice-mistake.html here is this game
that I posted using chess.com app, and there is an option to click and view pgn data.
Second, I was wondering if one still needs to the "permalink URL" - step 3 of the publishing. I http://chessiq.blogspot.com/2009/08/17th-annual-chicago-open-round-5-fourth.html posted several games without changing any URLs, and I wonder if I am missing something or I am at risk of losing my posts in case something happens.
Third, I didn't format anything... I guess this was done correctly once I had the PGN file ready for submission?
I may have more "helpful" questions once I become more familiar with the apps.
Once again, thanks for all your contribution and help.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Welcome aboard, Chessiq (Steve)
The fact that you already published so many games using this method is the best evidence of how easy to use it is. I also like your games and annotations which is something I’m grateful about.

…to get the PGN file from the game?
Once you spend more time with CVD (the viewer) you will find how loaded with features it is. Most likely you already figured it out but getting PGN out is not only supported but the PGN output is nicely formatted for human use (try some deep variations). The section about Copy/Paste in the documentation (CVD’s home page) is a good starting point.

I was wondering if one still needs to the "permalink URL" - step 3 of the publishing.
That’s an excellent question which I should’ve answered a while ago. The thing is that I kept improving this method and the current version will perfectly work with both approaches – whether you supply the “permalink URL” or not. Of course, it’s much easier to skip the step altogether and I should probably modify the documentation to reflect that. Don’t worry your posts will keep working exactly the way all of the posts on my blog do.

… I didn't format anything
Sure, you did – the first time you used the “HTML Code Generator for Blogs” application. After that, once you get used to the idea, formatting becomes obvious, it won’t look as a big deal and you might even prefer to copy/paste from your previous postings. Again, that’s just another testimony how easy to use the approach is.

 
author Chessiq
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Chessiq said...

Nick,
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. I will definitely play with the viewer (CVD) some more.
Again, thanks for the wonderful job and contribution to Chess (publishing).

 
author Chessthinking
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Chessthinking said...

I exported my blog from blogger to wordpress, but it appears I lost the games... I am wondering if I missed something. Does one have recreate the games to have the chess viewer applet export?

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Blogger and Wordpress are quite different internally and present different challenges. You can use either for chess publishing but they aren’t that compatible and a simple export wouldn’t do the trick. To answer your direct question, no, your games aren’t lost but there is some extra work to be done to adjust them to WP’s format.

As you can see in my article Publishing with WordPress WP requires a plug-in to be installed on the server. When you’re done with that and after testing the plug-in you will be more familiar with CV section format for WP. In fact the CV section format in WP is very natural and much friendlier than the one used in Blogger. After that you’ll be in position to transform the posts by editing the HTML and putting the new PGN tags.

 
author chessthinking
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chessthinking said...

Nikolai,
Thanks for the quick response. I downloaded the plugin to my desktop and then ftp'ed it to the server in the plugin folder. It is still not working. That was a couple of hours of tweaking and changing and re-doing stuff yesterday. I will play with it some more - I may be missing something. I will check in later. I just wanted to drop a note to say thanks.

 
author Chessiq
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Chessiq said...

Hi Nick,

I was wondering if there is a way I could send you a screenshot of the download directory and you can check it out to see if I am doing something wrong. I was not able to locate a "contact" form, that is why I am going through here. If you don't mind going to my blog - and shoot me an email via the contact form, I will reply to that. Sorry for all the trouble you have to go through to help me. I prefer to use your app compared to the others out there. Thanks.

 
author T. Hansen
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T. Hansen said...

Hi! I've recently made my own chess blog site, tho I'm a total newbie to creating blogsites :) I found your chess viewer pretty interesting, and checked it out, and it works fine :)
But with the layout I'm now using (http://patzerville.blogspot.com/) the viewer doesn't really fit in. Is there any way to customize the size and colors of it?
TIA
T. Hansen

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi T. Hansen,
Yes, color customizations are possible and very easy to do – just visit “HTML Code Generator for Blogs” page. Size customizations aren’t available but you can find the reason (and some relevant ideas) in my replies here or in the comments on “HTML Code Generator for Blogs” page.

 
author Anonymous
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Anonymous said...

Hi Nik...your blog is a blessing for me really...as I would like to impress my friends with regards to chess game viewer on blogspot...but then I can't really make a headway except for the STEP 1 copy/paste: that's it. Frankly am not that good at html or something and I even openned several blog accounts to really make a start of it but then whooa!! nothing!...It's not a eureka for me right now!! What went wrong?...Thanks for your time. emai: allanpelias@hotmail.com

 
author 17ChessClub
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17ChessClub said...

Hello Nick,I think you know me before.I used to post under 17chessclub(now http://centralchessclub.blogspot.com/ )a.k.a Sam.Ok,I'm trying new method other than blogger.com to post PGN games using your excellent Chess Viewer Deluxe and I managed to do it very well.Thanks again for the help and hints.I really look forward to using this viewer in future.Take a look at my new site posting it: http://modernscraptrading.weebly.com/

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

You nailed it, Sam
That’s a perfect example of how to use this publishing method on a built-it-from-scratch type of Web site of your own. There’re not only numerous hosting providers like those but also many are free. Thanks to your effort now chess loving publishers will know of an easy and very comfortable way of putting chess content on their sites.

Some very similar question was asked by a Hugo in this HTML Code Generator for Blogs thread where I gave him my suggestions. Yours are more valuable because “seeing is believing”.

Very well done!

 
author Skákfélagið Goðinn
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Skákfélagið Goðinn said...

Hi Nick and thanks for your help. I have a chess-blogsite http://www.godinn.blog.is (icelandic) and I was thinking if It´s possible to make the chess viewer work there also ?

(the same way as on blogspot.com ?)

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi Mr. Goðinn (I have no idea how to pronounce your first name :-)
Sure, it’s quite possible that the method will just work. Have you tried it?
I’ve seen it work with different blogging software but we wouldn’t know until you try it.
Follow the same instructions and send me a link where I can see the result.

How well do you know your blogging software?

 
author Skákfélagið Goðinn
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Skákfélagið Goðinn said...

Ok. I going to try It.. I will send you the results. Many chess-clubs in Iceland use the same bloggin-method as I do. So if I can make it work I expect many others to follow.
Best regards Hermann.

 
author Nostromo
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Nostromo said...

Very Big Thank You, Very Big Thank You, Nikolai!Nikolai!

 
author Jack
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Jack said...

Nick thans for your help, I posted mi first post on my blog http://ajedrezganador.blogspot.com/
your are great, sorry for my encglish
many thanks

 
author Eliza
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Eliza said...

I love this chess publishing solution! Very lovely, and far more sophisticated than other options I've tried so far.

The only change that I would really love to see is something that will make copying and pasting the pgn of the game easier from browsers besides IE. When I try to use the copy feature from firefox, it pops up a tiny, off-center window that is small and awkward to do anything with. I'd rather see either a huge window come up or maybe just a "display pgn" option that will show it in a copy & pastable form.

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi Eliza,
That’s correct -- unfortunately Copy/Paste isn’t cross browser compatible as I tried to explain on CVD’s home page. I gave up on this topic a while ago after I failed to find objective discussions free from the “love-hate” attitude. In my mind there shouldn’t be difference between “my printer” and “my clipboard”. I want to be able to decide if to allow (or disallow) access to it. Am I asking for too much?

Speaking of Firefox, the small pop-up window wasn’t meant to be a solution. It just replaced a warning saying “Copy/Paste is not supported by your browser”.

In fact, I came across an interesting way of changing Firefox’s local configuration so that similar Copy/Paste support becomes possible. It doesn’t look easy to implement but, if you’re interested, we can renew the effort. Let me know.

 
author Wayne
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Wayne said...

Congratulations are in order for you Nikolai! I have discovered that the Continental Chess Association is using Chessviewer Deluxe to publish games from their tournaments at their website. The latest use of Chessviewer Deluxe is for the 2011 World Open Chess tournament which you can see at the following link:

http://chesstournamentservices.com/cca/2011/07/world-open-2011-games-viewer/ Nikolai I hope you have a great summer!
sincerely, and always grateful to you, Wayne Mendryk

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi Wayne,
That’s very good news indeed. Obviously, I’m glad to see more people using this publishing method. Maybe I should start a page where I can provide back links to Web-sites “powered by CVD”. It looks like a good idea.

 
author Thomas V
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Thomas V said...

Hi Nikolai! This is really a great game viewer, but i do have some problems with it. On my blog I'm using the new templates and sometimes the game viewer is shown, sometimes not. I simply don't know why. I've followed all the steps in your instructions, but still the problem occurs.

When I'm on your blog, everything works fine, but as soone as i try to post a game with the chess viewer deluxe on my blog it doesn't. Maybe it's because of the new templates?!

 
author Thomas V
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Thomas V said...

I found a solution for the problem this morning! I had to delete the following part in the html editor of the blog:
script type='text/javascript'>
window.setTimeout(function() {
document.body.className = document.body.className.replace('loading', '');
}, 10);
</script

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Well done, Thomas V,
Your experience is very helpful for those bloggers who might be having similar problems. Occasionally I would get an e-mail or a comment here from users who have tried to publish with CVD on their blog and aren’t fully satisfied with the results.

We all know how tricky troubleshooting can be at times and that a universal advice does not exist. Probably the best thing to do is to simplify. Create a new blog for testing purposes and keep the template as simple as possible. Make sure that the main content area is wide enough to show the viewer’s GUI in full. I have never heard of situation where CVD wouldn’t work on such a blog (provided you have Java installed, of course).

Then you can start with appending various gadgets. Many of them are great and provide excellent functionality. Let’s just say that gadgets aren’t created equal. A good amount of testing and time have to be spent until we know how a specific gadget works and if what we’re getting out of it is worth the effort. Unfortunately, average blogger might not be capable of handling most compatibility issues (eg cross browser ones). Anyway, it is always a good start if we could narrow the problem down like – eg, a gadget “XYZ” isn’t working well on the same page together with CVD.

Finally, if you are in doubt or just curious if your Java installation is working well, visit my Testing LiveConnect object functionality page

 
author ballynafeighchess
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ballynafeighchess said...

Hi Nick,

Can you help me out with the wordpress layout... there doesn't seem to be layout option to find the edit HTML tag.
Stumped at first hurdle i'm afraid and need help because you have what i need

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi ballynafeighchess,
Have you tried logging as Admin. You can do that at Admin page. Then you will be able to find it. I don’t think editing of posts depends on the layout you’re using. And don’t forget to install and activate the plug-in first.

Also, if you don’t mind, these questions belong better on my Publishing with WordPress pages.

 
author ateixeira
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ateixeira said...

Hello Nikolai,

I've been trying to use your wonderful script and I love it except for a small detail: I have a three column blog and my text area doesn't allow for the full board to be displayed. Is it possible for me to change the width so that the full board is shown or will I have to chnge to a 2 column template?

Once again thanks for the script.

 
author ateixeira
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ateixeira said...

Hello again!

I forgot to link to the blog in question: http://consultoria-e-estrategia.blogspot.com/

Thanks again

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi ateixeira,
The question about size customizations have been answered many time already. Few arguments can be found in the comments here or on “HTML Code Generator for Blogs” page. Your blog looks very nice but, unfortunately, I can’t read it. You can avoid the warning about “Seven Tag Roaster” by providing more tags in the PGN header (e.g. Event, EventDate, etc.)

The layout of your own blog is you choice to make. With the two column layouts CVD can be easily fit inside the main content. I think this is possible even for three column but with some effort and going for somewhat wider format (like in HD TVs). Take a look at the “The Blogger Template Designer” link in the sidebar. These layout can be resized as you wish but I’m not sure if they support three columns.

 
author ateixeira
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ateixeira said...

Hello again!

Some time after posting my two comments I read all the comments and saw that this was dealt with before. Sorry about my laziness...

I've already tried your suggestion and yes unfortunately I cant expand the post area.

I'll try to find a three column template with a larger post area because I feel that three columns is the way to go in my blog, but if I cant find one I'll have to find a nice two column template.

Thanks again

 
author JLaz
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JLaz said...

Hi Nikolai,
First I want to commend you for the fantastic improvements you have made with the Game Viewer. I have included it in our local chess club website to display some of our tournament games, which leads me to the following question: How can I pass a parameter to the applet param using perhaps JavaScript so that the viewer can change the collections of games in the dropdown. Your input would be very much appreciated, thanks.

 
author Jack
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Jack said...

HOW I CAN VIEW THE VISOR ON THE NEW VERSION OF BLOGGER(2011 VERSION)?I DONT KNOW HOW TO PUBLISH GAMES.
IN THE OLDEST VERSIONS I CAN VIEW THIS, BUT IN THE NEW VERSION I CAN´T VIEW THIS.
THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

H Jack,
I’m not sure what you mean by “New Version” of blogger. There’s a new post editor and blogger supports new layouts but these work fine with CVD. The important point is to use “Edit HTML” mode. Also you can switch to the old editor if you can’t figure out how to do it in the new one. It will only take one post that works and then you’d be comfortable with it.

Please, provide a link where I can see what’s not working. If you don’t mind -- follow my previous suggestions (in comments above) and start with a simple layout first.

 
author Jack Fernando
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Jack Fernando said...

I am speak about bloger buzz, now bloger have a dinamic views template (clasic, flipcard,sidebar,etc) but the html editor for dinamics view template in not disponible, in this post you explain how to copy and paste de code in this html editor, but this option is not disponible.
in this new version how i can publish games? wiht chess flash pgn viewer is posible publish games copying and paste code in the tickets html.
In adittion i dont know if this version of blogger suport java script.
http://ajedrezganador.blogspot.com

Nick, thanks for your help!!

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi Jack,
The post editor is really easy to use so if you need help you should find some in blogger’s help. The new templates are a different story. Most of those that I tried work just fine with CVD including “Picture Window”. You made me curious about “Dynamic Views” and I gave it a try. Strangely enough, I’m not able to edit the template to complete “Step One” above. When I try saving it I’m getting:

Please correct the error below, and submit your template again.
More than one widget was found with id: Navbar1. Widget IDs should be unique.

The same error is generated even if I do a very minor change. Clearly something isn’t right about this template. If you believe that “chess flash” is doing a better job, please, provide some working links where we can see it.

 
author Jack Fernando
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Jack Fernando said...

in my blog there is a example, flash chessviewer is good for the new of blogger(dinamics views templates) but is not the solution for publish several games at the same time, your program is the best for publish games beside cvd have many others advantage.

 
author Paul
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/17436247144235033164
adminClass blog-admin pid-1545154261
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Paul said...

Can this be done on a google site?

I can't seem to edit the HTML of the site layout...

 
author Aggelos Kesaris
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/16064398249243043027
adminClass blog-admin pid-110891221
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Aggelos Kesaris said...

Hello,
I would like to contact the administrator. What is his mail?

 
author Norbert Thomas
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/16375996057121929872
adminClass blog-admin pid-900638217
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Norbert Thomas said...

Hello,
how are things?

just wondering when your new flash chess viewer will be released.

Cheers
Norbert

 
author Nikolai Pilafov
authorUrl https://www.blogger.com/profile/00695284688005658187
adminClass blog-admin pid-8567400
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Nikolai Pilafov said...

Hi Norbert,
Good to see you back and thanks for your thought. Honestly, I have been asking myself similar questions for over a year now. On the other hand the future of flash is only a little brighter than Java’s. If I manage to justify the time, I may consider HTML5 Canvas as CVD’s next platform.

That way the viewer will also work on most Mobile platforms and won’t depend on proprietary technologies. Unfortunately, I can’t make any promises at this time.