A Bloglines clippings bug, and a hack to fix it

Filed under: — 4:46 pm

I use Bloglines as my RSS aggregator. I rely on it to follow over a hundred weblogs and news sites. I used to rely on its Clippings feature, but for the last few months a bug in their system has made the Clippings system less useful. I used to be able to quickly clip an item and have its title show up in the Clippings window, like this:

More recently, when I clip the same item, it would appear like this in the Clippings list:

Needless to say, this isn’t an improvement. I verified that it’s a Bloglines bug by trying it with a different username and a different computer. So I reported it as a bug. I also found another user talking about it in the Bloglines forum, so they know about it. (Did you know they had a forum? Try to find a link to it on their site.)

I’m sure Bloglines will fix the problem soon, but in the meantime I just want the feature to work, so I tried to fix it myself. I noticed that the problem appears first in the “Clip/Blog This” pop-up form. You can edit it there manually, but I want clipping to be a quick two-click process.

To make a long story short, I found a solution. There’s a Firefox extension, greasemonkey, that lets you add JavaScript extensions to pages to change their behavior. I wrote a quick one-line script, installed it with the plug-in, and now it works!

I love the idea of being able to fix broken web sites without waiting for their developers to do so. Greasemonkey was inspired by this extension that Adrian Holovaty made to solve problems he was having with a specific site, AllMusic. Now anyone can do it with a simple script rather than writing a whole browser extension. Excellent!

I wrote up a detailed article on how to do this at The JavaScript Weblog. If you have Greasemonkey installed and just want to fix the Bloglines bug, here’s a link to my script, just click on it and select Tools | Install User Script and you’re done.

Update 1/17/2005: This is no longer necessary, as Bloglines has fixed the clippings bug.

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(c) 2001-2007 Michael Moncur. All rights reserved, but feel free to quote me.
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