Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Headline Animator in Gmail

If you’ve been following the ongoing saga that is Headline Animator (more sequels than Friday the 13th!), you’ll know that it’s been receiving a lot of attention over at FeedBurner world headquarters. For those that don’t know, Headline Animator turns your feed into an animated GIF. We’ve long recommended using Headline Animator as part of an e-mail signature: without any effort, you can share your most recent posts with your e-mail correspondents.

One problem: if you (like me) have switched to Gmail as your mail client, you’ll note that Gmail doesn’t support HTML signatures.

Last month, Garett Rogers posted over at ZDNet a great Greasemonkey extension that makes it easy to overcome this limitation. First, you need to install Greasemonkey, then you need to install the script (note that this is a slightly modified version of the script which includes support for replies; the original script as written by Garett is here). Finally, in Greasemonkey, click on ‘manage user scripts’ and edit the text of the script to replace this string:

<br><b>Edit the script to change this signature</b>

With the code from FeedBurner under “Headline Animator”. Note: By default, the output that FeedBurner gives you good HTML, but it includes quotes and other characters that will cause the Greasemonkey script to fail. So you need to edit out the quotes from the code; for reference purposes, here’s what I used:

<br /><br /><a href=http://feeds.feedburner.com/tins><img src=http://feeds.feedburner.com/tins.gif border=0></a>

End result? When I click on ‘compose message’ or reply to a message, here’s what shows up by default:

FeedBurner Headline Animator in Gmail


  1. Hi Rick,

    I was also looking for a greasemonkey script and found this link: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/20887

    but on this page they are saying that this script is no longer supported :(

    but the good news is that its been replaced by a stand-alone Firefox add-on: http://blankcanvasweb.com/pages/detail/id_9/n_gmail_signatures/
    (its an experimental addon)
    i just tried it and it works great :)
    managed to use my headline animator in gmail signature ..


  2. I need a bit more instruction. Once I've edited the code (in notepad), I hit save and closed the GM editor. Nothing happened, so what next? Should I be pasting something into the Signature box within Gmail? What am I missing? Thanks.