Saturday, 15 September 2018

9x time-saving with new nIFTTTy Scheduler just released

I've just released the new nIFTTTy Scheduler, now at V3. The major enhancement, and it's massive, is that your schedules can now last up to 83 days - that's if you pin / share at the max of 12 per day.

Yes, that means you can set them going at full steam ahead and leave them to their own devices for almost 3 months! No more having to make a new one every 10 days and deleting the old. What a time-saver!

It works like that only when you're drawing your items from a store, not when you use a collection as the source.  When Zazzle fixes pulling from the marketplace, it should work there too.

As usual, you can mix and match store categories, departments and search terms when you're setting up to use the new scheduler.

Here's a feed url from the old nIFTTTy Scheduler V2

...and here it is for the new V3 one

Do you see the difference?

Great news: All your exisiting schedules (IFTTT applets) will carry on as normal and are not affected by this change.

Try it yourself - remember the only limit for the free version is you can only have 10 active IFTTT applets using schedules at any one time.

The usual referral commission sharing applies, if you don't pay the $3.50 subscription. By that I mean that your referral id is used half the time, mine the other half AND you'll always get the whole royalty amount, if it's your product design that sells.

Don't want to do it yourself? Let me do it for you when you make a donation to my tea jar. The suggested amount is $7.50 and all links will use your referral id meaning you keep ALL the referral commssion. When you make a donation, I'll be in touch for your store details and referral id so I can get it all set up and working away to promote on your behalf. Donate here - I'll be notified and I'll get in touch.


⚠️ Don't be a spammer

Nifty tools, especially the schedulers, are very powerful and easily let you share many, many products in very little time. But they're designed to be used in conjunction with a non-spammy approach - don't just share/pin/tweet and run. No, you must interact, interact and interact again.

Monday, 10 September 2018

More powerful nIFTTTy Scheduler announced

I'm working on a revamped nIFTTTy Scheduler. 

This major time-saving change will mean you'll be able to have schedules lasting up to 83 days, when running at the max of 12 per day. That's almost 3 month's of unattended pinning / sharing!
What are you going to do with that free time you'll gain? Create more! ✅ 

Watch this space to be the first to know when it's released.
Note that it'll only work when pulling from stores - collections will be dealt with as now.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Nifty - removing dependence on YQL

I'm slowly rewriting the nifty tools to remove their reliance on YQL (Yahoo query language). The reason is twofold:
  • it's been unreliable in the past, causing issues with Nifty and its tools
  • to gain a slight speed advantage (one less call across the internet to another service)
So far I've done the nIFTTTy Scheduler and the nIFTTTy Pid Scheduler. When time permits, I'll rewrite the rest that use YQL.

Edited to add: After further research I find I can't get rid of YQL in any of the javascript-based tools. This is because browsers automatically prevent "cross origin resource sharing". It's a fancy way of saying you can't access some forms of resource held on a different domain to the one the javascript is running on. YQL gets round that and I can't find a different way

Monday, 3 September 2018

Nifty now lets you see Zazzle product tags to help with filtering

There was a bit of an oversight with the recent addition of filtering to the Nifty suite of tools.

One of the places you can filter against is the product tags - but there was no way of actually seeing what tags were used on the products shown.

This is now fixed with the addition of a checkbox in the filter section. When checked, the product grid at the bottom of the Nifty Promo Control Panel shows the tags in use against each product.

When checking or unchecking it, you'll need to click the apply filter and recreate product grid button to referesh the product grid.

checkbox added to display each product's tags

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Zazzlers: More powerful nIFTTTy Pids Scheduler released

This is the relevant section of the new nIFTTTy Pids Scheduler set-up tool page - see how the pids (top list) have been converted (bottom list)?
click the image to get to the set-up page

😢 It's bugged me for some time that the nIFTTTy Pids Scheduler could only handle 72 pids (pid = product id). It's because of a character limit imposed by IFTTT (IfThisThenThat) on the length of a feed url.

I spent ages a while ago trying to convert a compression algorithm I found to be useful in this case but it was too much (or the algorithm was buggy).

😎 Anyway, as my redecorating / refurbsishment is coming to an end (yaay!) I revisited the problem and came up with a solution (technical details at end if you're interested).

So now the (new) version of the nIFTTTy Pids Scheduler can handle up to 120 pids. It means you can have automated pinning/sharing that lasts for 10 days instead of 6 - so less work for you.

I've removed the old version of the setup tool page and replaced it with the new one - but don't worry, any nIFTTTy schedules you've already got set up as applets in IFTTT will continue to work. Once they run out, simply set up and make a new one and it'll automatically use the new, more powerful version. 😇


🤓 The techy bit, if you're interested

I ended up splitting each pid - each is 18 digits long - in two and converting each resulting "number" into it's equivalent in base 64. I checked with this converter, adding *! to the end of the character list used in the conversion. I chose those because they're safe to use in url parameters.

Each two-part converted pid is separated with _ and one pid is separated from the next with -

The feed generator simply reverses that conversion, recombining the resulting "number"s back to 18 digit pids.
Everything then proceeds as before.

What's base 64?

Picture your car's odometer - that's the one in your dashboard that shows you the miles travelled. Each "dial" has the digits 0 to 9 on it. When a dial goes past 9 it returns to 0 and the next one along to the left clicks over one position.
That's a base 10 set of dials. Base 64 uses a total of 64 characters on each dial so by the time the rightmost dial clicks over, you'll have done 64 miles. When it goes all the way round again, you'll have done 128 miles.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Crimson Phoenix Rising T-Shirt

Testing the new Nifty's blog autoposter

Crimson Phoenix Rising T-Shirt

Motivational series: A gorgeous crimson graphic of a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Beautifully contoured to give a 3d effect, the phoenix seems to be lifting off the t-shirt! Image code: phnx

-- click/tap to personalize and buy --

posted using Nifty

Just released: Filters for the Nifty Promo Control Panel

I've just released the new Nifty Promo Control Panel - now with filters. At the moment they're only used with the nIFTTTy Share Scheduler and the widgets.  
Update 8th Aug 2018: Same for Individual product sharers now.

Those filters will really come into their own when Zazzle fixes pulling from the market place. When they do, you'll be able to exclude those "create your own" products that always seem to come up.

Until then, it's probably just a novelty. I can see one valid use for it though when pulling from stores / collections and that's to filter out stamps. It could make sense, seeing as they're all unavailable to buy right now (and for the foreseeable).

This is what the filters set-up section looks like:
Filters set-up section

⚠️ As was always the case with the nIFTTTy Share Scheduler, now the widgets (edited to add:) and individual product sharers also use my referral id half the time, with yours being used the other half. All other tools use your referral id 100% of the time (for now, may change later).
As you probably know, web servers have to be paid for and using this approach helps with the cost. It means you still get the tools for free while we both share the chances of getting referral commission. Of course, if they're your products that get purchased, then you'll get all of the royalty on any sales.

If you find you're getting regular referral commission, pay for a subscription and keep 100% of any referral commission earned. Many already do and they report that they earn far more in referrals than the subscription costs!

Try it for yourself
Each filter can use a word or phrase and you can choose where to apply them - any combination of product titles, descriptions and tags. When you've got them set as you want, hit the apply filter... button.


PS The grid underneath the control panel will always show the filtered results but do remember that the individual product sharers, the product grid sharer page and the slideshow sharer page all ignore any filtering.

----------------------- For the technically minded -----------------------
🤓 In behind the scenes there's a new feed mechanism. In principle, what it does is:
  • take the supplied parameters and use them with Zazzle's rss feed mechanism to get a bunch of results
  • apply any filters to remove matching product designs
  • increase the page number and pull from Zazzle's feed mechanism again
  • replace any products that got filtered out with the freshly pulled ones
  • repeat until the number of products requested is reached (or no more are returned)
Quite straightfoward but a pain to code ;)

If you need the feed url for any reason, have a look at the piccy below

Here's an example of what you can get by copying that link. It's from a set-up I was playing with:
If you click the above link, you'll see an actual filtered feed. If you use Firefox, it'll look sane. If you're using Chrome, it'll show it as XML, not really aimed at humans to read.

Hopefully you can see that I've used two filters terms (lilac, red) and I'm filtering only on the titles.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

New filtered Zazzle rss feed tool, pin-for-pin compatible

Edit: See next post for one you can use for real

Yaay! Happy dance - I've got the pin-for-pin compatible filtered Zazzle rss feed working without resorting to YQL at all. I am using YQL to in the widget to actually get the feed but the feed itself doesn't use it.

As an example, here it is in use.

This is a Nifty live product grid widget using it. It's filtering out all product designs with any of lawyer, red or crimson in their titles.

⚠️ NB For now, the filtered feed is limited to 10 product designs, so it's ok for playing with but can't be used for live websites.

For now, there's no set-up mechanism for it, so what I did was to use the Nifty Control Panel to set up things initially, selecting in Step 2 to make a new nIFTTTy scheduler. Here's the important part from the scheduler set-up page:

You can see I've selected a part of feed - it's the part needed to get everything for the widget's feed thingy. The whole thing looks like thi (note the s:

And I've pasted it into the relevant part of the widget's html code as shown here, replacing what was put there by the Nifty Promo Control Panel when I generated the widget.

click to see larger

Don't worry if none of this makes any sense, I'll be changing the Nifty Promo Control Panel to do it all for you with a few clicks.

Edit to add: I also had to take out the tracking code that was being added by the widget, as that's now done within the feed mechanism.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Nifty Filtered ZFeed Tool - major rewrite planned

Since my last post, I've been testing the Nifty Filtered ZFeed tool.

What I found:

Trying to use it on  a web page on:
  • blocked by browser due to mixed http and https
  • blocked due to CORS (cross origin resource sharing)
  • a blog post on Blogger, a blog post on niftytoolz and on jmarshall's html testbed and all experienced one or other of the above

Just to check, I used the existing live product grid nifty tool widget as is (it uses a different feed-pull method) and it was fine on all the above.


Using YQL to pull a feed that uses the new Nifty Zfeed tool solves the CORS and mixed http/https problems

Other insights: Also, I need to not create an Atom feed but to duplicate the Zazzle feed XML structure. Then it will be a near pin-for-pin replacement that can be used in the existing widgets.

I think the reason why my NiftyGridZ WordPress plugin works ok is because it doesn't use YQL at all. In using the new tool I tried to do it by using NiftyGridZ method but because YQL is used deep within the new tool's belly to do the intital pulls of the zazzle feed, it didn't work, I still got the CORS problem.

Possible ways forward

  • CORS & mixed http/https issues:
    • Use YQL to pull from my new tool's feed. Rubbish idea because it would mean anyone wanting to use it would need to do the same. 
    • Rewrite the tool so it uses CURL (the same method used by NiftyGridZ)
      Yes, do this.
  • Change it from producing an ATOM feed to one identical to the one Zazzle's feed mechanism produces.
    Yes, do this.
Don't hold your breath for this to be done!

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Filter Zazzle rss feeds with this new Nifty tool

EDIT: Major re-write planned - see next post 

In English: You can now exclude product designs from Zazzle feeds using filter terms.

In brief: I've stripped out the scheduler parts from the nIFTTTy Scheduler tool to make a filtered version of any Zazzle feed.

Summary: I've created a filterable version of Zazzle's rss feed mechanism (it's basically the nIFTTTy scheduler with the scheduling part stripped out). The feed it produces is identical in every respect to Zazzle's EXCEPT that it produces a valid Atom feed. This is for maximum interoperability.

You see, feeds produced by Zazzle don't validate and that can cause issues with some online services.

Feel free to play with it as per the below but note that I've limited the number of items it produces to a maximum of 10. This is so that peeps don't start using it for real!

Perfect for when Zazzle fixes pulling from the market place!

Because of a bug with Zazzle's feed mechanism when pulling from the marketplace, just like Zazzle, this new Nifty tool won't work properly.

So right now this new tool is little more than a novelty. That's because the filter feature only really comes into its own when pulling from the market place - you know, to remove create your own results, things like that.

But there might be other ways you can think of using it where pulling from the market place isn't needed. If that's you, you can get a licensed copy of the php code to put on your own server - just get in touch using highton.ridley @ g mail .com


Use is much like for a Zazzle feed request with these additions:

  • Set the store or the collection id using the additional parameter &storeid= like this:
    •  &storeid=hightonridley or &storeid=collections/119287424146492479
  • Another additional parameter: 
    • &uprn=1 means the Zazzle-supplied product name will appear in the product title
    • &uprn=0 means it won't.
  • The new filter parameters - they filter out, ie remove, matching product designs:
    • &trm1=trump
      Note that these terms (trm1, 2 & 3) can use either a word or phrase; use + to separate words in a phrase, like this:
      • &trm1=santa+claus
    • &trm2=
    • &trm3=
    • &lttls=
      • eg lttls=1 means look in titles when filtering
      • ltts=0 (or leaving it blank or leaving it out altogether) means don't look in titles
    • &ldscs= look in description - its use is as per lttls
    • &ltags= look in tags - its use is as per lttls

A full example

Go on, copy that and paste it into the address bar of a new browser tab. Firefox will show the feed output as intended for humans to read.

If you take out the filter term lawyer, you'll see some lawyer designs appear. Same for taking out the filter term red.

Nifty filtered feed output in Firefox
Click the image to see the feed in your browser

Chrome will display the feed's source as almost-unreadable XML.

See the available data for each item in a friendly display by visiting
and then hit the Load Url button and paste in:

⚠️ That viewer breaks if you include any parameters that don't have values, that's why I've taken any like that out of the url
🤓 Note that this feed mechanism uses YQL, an online service provided by Yahoo for retrieving feeds and standardising them. It's been around for years and is expected to be around for many more to come.

Even so, I'm going to work on a version that does away with using YQL, if there's enough interest.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

New nIFTTTy scheduler released - with filters!

As promised, I've updated the nIFTTTy scheduler so you can filter out designs you don't want to share / pin automatically. There's also a side-effect bonus - keep reading to find out about it.

Try it here

click to see larger

Using the filters

Here's the lowdown:
  • Remember, the filters remove items from your results
  • You can use one or more words for each filter term
  • You can have the filters apply to any combination of
    • Titles
    • Descriptions
    • Tags
Behind the scenes, nIFTTTy will keep pulling a 'page' of results from Zazzle and applying the filters until it's got the number of products you want. It'll give up and work with what it's got if:
  • it's tried a total of 9 pages to get them and it fell short
  • the last page tried gave 0 products
Once you've set the filter terms you want and where to look to do the filtering, hit the apply filter and recreate product grid button and you'll see the product grid update in line with your choices.

When you're happy, hit the make feed url for IFTTT button and use it in the normal way to make your IFTTT applet.

⚠️ As you probably know, all the Nifty tools rely on Zazzle's rss feed mechanism and right now, one aspect of that mechanism is broken - pulling designs straight from Zazzle's market place. For this reason I've specifically prevented this V2 release of the nIFTTTy scheduler from doing pulls directly from the market place. You'll get an error message if you try.

🙃 Bonus side effect of new version

In the old version of the nIFTTTy Scheduler, when you were pulling from a store, the maximum number of products you could get was 120. If you were pulling from a collection, that limit was 240.

In the new version, you can now get 240 from a store as well.

What does this side effect this mean to you?

It means your IFTTT applets using a nIFTTTy schedule can last twice as long before running out of items. How cool is that? 😎
⚠️ A side note about the side effect: it works because the method used is to keep pulling, advancing the page number each time until enough products are obtained. Zazzle's feed mechanism can only deliver a max of 120 at a time and so this has an effect on the page number you need to give it.
To get the first 240 designs, use a page number of 1. When they run out in your IFTTT applet and you need to get the second lot of 240 for your new applet, use a page number of 3. When it's time to get the third lot of 240, use a page number of 5 and so on.
Do remember that the most you can pull using Zazzle's feed mechanism is 1080 (9 pages at 120 per page).

What about the other Nifty tools - will they use filters?

Not yet - if at all. My reasoning is this. For the individual product sharers, where you pin/post/share using their streamlined processes, you can simply choose not to share what you don't want to.

Until Zazzle fixes pulling from the market place, all the other tools just don't need the filter capability. You'll be pulling from a store or category, perhaps with a search term, or from a collection - and that should be enough to get just what you're after without the need for filters.

For this reason I haven't updated the Nifty Promo Control Panel to use filters (besides, it's hard!😳).

Once Zazzle fixes pulling from the market place, I'll reconsider all options.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Zazzlers: Exciting new Nifty pulling approach - filtering!

This really is exciting news for Zazzlers who use Nifty to help them promote their or other's designs.

The new approach will let you filter out results you don't want and still get the number of products you want. It goes like this:

  • You get up to three filter terms, each can use one or more words
  • You get three places you can tell nIFTTTy where to look to do the filtering
    • Titles
    • Descriptions
    • Tags
The special part is that once all filtered items are removed, the next page of results are requested from Zazzle and, after filtering, the remaining ones are added to your results. This repeats until you have the number you want.

It'll try pulling up to 9 pages of Zazzle results to get the number of products you want.

Next project is to update the Nifty Promo Control Panel - initially filtering will be just for the nIFTTTy scheduler

The first one I've converted to use the new approach is the nIFTTTy scheduler but I haven't yet decided which of the other various Nifty tools should use this approach - hopefully I'll be able to do all of them given enough time!

Although I've done the scheduler now (to see if I could do it in php, the programming language the scheduler is written in), there's not much use for it until Zazzle fixes their rss feed mechanism when it's pulling from the market place.

I haven't yet updated Nifty itself to allow for filtering when you use it to set up the scheduling, so only the brave can use it (see end).

The reason I say that is when you're pulling from your own store, you can easily arrange to get just the products you want - by using a category and / or department or a collection.

The one use for it right now could be pulling from someone else's store, where you love some of their designs but others aren't what your after. With the ability to filter out products, you could find it easy to only get what you're after and not what you're not!

There's one other additional feature that could prove to be really useful - the ability to see the entire feed of items the scheduler is working with - sort of like a sense-check before you use it for real in an IFTTT (If This Then That) applet.

If you want to see the entire feed it's working with (this works right now):
  1. Copy the feed url as usual (ready for pasting into a new IFTTT applet)
  2. Instead, paste it into the address bar of a new browser tab /window
  3. Put &sef=1 immediately after your referral id in the address bar
  4. Hit return to see the entire feed it will be working with
🔺 Don't ever use &sef=1 in an IFTTT applet because it could end up sharing / posting / pinning the lot and you won't be popular or could get rate-limited!

⚠️ Oh, one last thing - you'll only see the entire feed when one of your chosen time slots is active.

Coming next

Don't hold your breath but next on the cards is:
  • Update the Nifty Promo Control Panel to allow the filtering parameters to be set up - just for the nIFTTTy scheduler, initially
  • Possibly some of the widgets after that?


Technical bits

🤓 For the curious, the new parameters that nIFTTTy uses for filtering purposes are:
  • &trm1= - the first filter term (single or multiple words - if multiple, use + between words)
  • &trm2= - the second filtering terms (single or multiple words - if multiple, use + between words)
  • &trm3= - the third filtering terms (single or multiple words - if multiple, use + between words)
  • &lttls=1 - apply the filter term(s) to each product title
  • &ldscs=1 - apply the filter term(s) to each product description
  • &ltags=1 - apply the filter term(s) to each product's tags 
If you don't want to use any parameters, either don't mention them or put nothing after the = sign.

An example

To get a feed of items while filtering out any postage stamps and any nebula designs, add the following, just after your referral id in the feed url the nIFTTTy scheduler gives.