Sites

Sites > Chapter 8: Gadget gallery and development

Table of contents

Block and allow certain gadgets in Sites

Insert and play non-You Tube videos

Alternative video gadgets

Use a video embed code from another site

Useful gadgets for teachers and students

School appropriate gadgets

Whitelist gadgets for the school Apps directory

Block and allow certain gadgets in Sites

Google Apps administrators can use a open source project, the Feed Server Client Tool (FSCT) to control which gadgets appear in the Google Sites gadget directory for their domain. Before beginning, make sure you are running Java 1.6 (you can check your version by running the "java -version" command)

  1. Download and unzip FSCT from this page: http://code.google.com/p/google-feedserver/downloads/list
  2. In the FSCT directory:
  3. $ ./fsct shell // Runs the program in shell mode
  4. Next you will be prompted to login. Note: You must be a domain administrator to change the directory settings for you domain
  5. To see your options
  6. fsct> help // Shows a list of all available commands

If you want to specifically ban certain gadgets from your directory you should use the Blacklist option. If you want to explicitly authorize every gadget in the directory then use a Whitelist. Here are the commands you would run if you only wanted the What's Popular gadget to appear in your directory:

fsct> addWhiteListedGadget http://www.google.com/ig/modules/pop/pop.xml // The URL of the gadget spec fsct> setPublicGadgetDirFilter WHITE_LIST

Note: Because of caching, it can take a few hours for your changes to be reflected in the directory. During that time, you can use FSCT's dirPublicGadget command to get the up-to-date list of the gadgets that will show up in the directory. Or alternatively, you can add "?nocache=1" to the end of your Site URL to see an uncached version of the page.

Insert and play non-You Tube videos

Alternative video gadgets

The Video gadget available in Google Sites under the Insert menu may not function if your school or district has blocked YouTube. An alternative solution is also to upload a video to Google Docs and then embed it under the Insert menu.

There are a few other gadgets that can be used to play videos hosted by other services that you can add to your site. In order to view videos from these gadgets, your video must be uploaded to that service.

Some of the other popular, non-YouTube video gadgets available in the gadget directory include:

To find these gadgets to insert into your site, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are in editing mode on your page (if you see the Save or Cancel buttons, you are in editing mode, otherwise, click the Edit page button).
  2. Place your cursor at the point on the page you want to insert your video gadget.
  3. Click the Insert menu and select More gadgets... at the bottom of the drop down menu.
  4. In the search box, enter 'TeacherTube' or 'Vimeo Video' to access these alternative video gadgets.
  5. Click on the gadget, click the Select button to insert the video gadget into your page.
  6. Enter the appropriate settings for your gadget - including the 'size' or 'URL' of the video.
  7. Click Ok to add the gadget to your page or Preview gadget to view how it will look.
  8. The gadget will appear as a blank 'box' on your page. To see the gadget content, click the Save button in the top right.

To edit the properties of the gadget, including the URL or size, go into editing mode, click anywhere on the gadget box, and click the Properties link.

Use a video embed code from another site

You can also use another video upload/playback service that provides a snippet of code to embed the video, you can use the Sites embed gadget to include the video on your webpage.

To use the embed code for your video player, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you are in editing mode on your page (if you see the Save or Cancel buttons, you are in editing mode, otherwise, click the Edit page button).
  2. Place your cursor at the point on the page you want to insert your video gadget.
  3. Click the Insert menu and select More gadgets... at the bottom of the drop down menu.
  4. Click on the Featured category and scroll to click on the Embed gadget and then click the Select button.
  5. Set-up your gadget with your embed code. This is the snippet of code that your video provider will provide to embed a video on a webpage.
  6. Set-up the display options for your gadget including the dimensions.
  7. Click Ok to add the gadget to your page or Preview gadget to view how it will look.
  8. The gadget will appear as a blank 'box' on your page. To see the gadget content, click the Save button in the top right.

To edit the properties of the gadget, including the URL or size, go into editing mode, click anywhere on the gadget box, and click the Properties link.

Useful gadgets for teachers and students

School appropriate gadgets

There are thousands of gadgets available to use in Google Sites - it can be a bit daunting to find the ones that are useful when you're not even sure what to look for.

We've put together a list of 20 types of gadgets some of our Google Certified Teachers have recommended, broken down into a few categories. Search for these gadget names into the gadget directory to find them to insert on a page in your site.

Reference - these gadgets are appropriate for use on any web page in your site or as a gadget added by an individual on a customized start page.

Daily - these gadgets may be more appropriate for individual users to add on a 'Start' page in the customized gadget section, as some may require you to log-in to an account to view the content.

Teaching - these gadgets are appropriate for use on a web page or as a gadget added by an individual on a customized start page.

Whitelist gadgets for the school Apps directory

Google Apps administrators can use a open source project, the Feed Server Client Tool (FSCT) to control which gadgets appear in the Google Sites gadget directory for their domain. Before beginning, make sure you are running Java 1.6 (you can check your version by running the "java -version" command)

  1. Download and unzip FSCT from this page: http://code.google.com/p/google-feedserver/downloads/list
  2. In the FSCT directory:
  3. $ ./fsct shell // Runs the program in shell mode
  4. Next you will be prompted to login. Note: You must be a domain administrator to change the directory settings for you domain
  5. To see your options
  6. fsct> help // Shows a list of all available commands

Here are the commands you would run if you only wanted the What's Popular gadget to appear in your directory:

fsct> addWhiteListedGadget http://www.google.com/ig/modules/pop/pop.xml // The URL of the gadget spec fsct> setPublicGadgetDirFilter WHITE_LIST

Please note: Because of caching, it can take a few hours for your changes to be reflected in the directory. During that time, you can use FSCT's dirPublicGadget command to get the up-to-date list of the gadgets that will show up in the directory. Or alternatively, you can add "?nocache=1" to the end of your Site URL to see an uncached version of the page.