Bugs squashed, some new toys, and some very creative users

Lots of stuff happening this week, and your feedback has been overwhelming! Please keep it coming.

Today we’re pushing some bug fixes, and a new Beta feature for you to play with.


  • Permalinks are now incorporated in all stock themes.
  • Timezones are now being correctly reflected.
  • Feed importing is now MUCH faster thanks to Marco’s brilliant parallel RSS crawler. Note: We are still respecting each feed’s individual TTL. Del.icio.us feeds are being updated on 30-minute intervals per their request.
  • Newly added feeds are now crawled as quickly as possible for instant feedback.
  • We’re no longer adding line-breaks to imported posts that are already HTML-formatted. This is retroactive and should make some imported Regular Posts look nicer.
  • The {Permalink} tag can now be used much more flexibly in custom themes. This is a fix for users that were having trouble putting Permalinks in the “date” block.
  • The “Dreamscape” theme now displays the tumblelog’s description.

Now in Beta

We’re ready to start testing a new feature that should make it even easier to post to Tumblr. You’ll now see a section on your Settings page labeled “Mobile Uploads“. This will give you an address to send photos (text posts coming soon!) to your tumblelog directly from you phone.

Each address is unique, so don’t share it. Just add it to your address book and use your phone’s built-in messaging to send a photo to Tumblr. If you want to send a caption along with the photo, just type it in the Subject line.


A reminder that this feature is still in beta. We’re hoping to work out any remaining kinks this week. So please pass along any bugs to support@tumblr.com.

For more information on sending photos from you phone, please visit your cellular provider’s support page.

Interesting Tumblings

Nothing’s been more exciting to us than seeing all of the incredibly clever ways you guys are using Tumblr. We’ll try and feature the cool things we find as often as we can.

If there’s anything cool you’d like to show off, please drop it in the comments!

Also, we wanted to let you know that we’ve heard your requests for importing feed excerpts and Link Post descriptions. We’re playing with some things.


38 responses to “Bugs squashed, some new toys, and some very creative users

  1. Thanks for the link! I feel like I need to do some more customization now!

  2. Ah thanks for the {Permalink} hook.

  3. Thanks for the link as well! :)

    Tumblr makes what is entertaining and creative in blogging frictionless and either does away with or automates the less engaging parts of the process.

    Great fun!

  4. Quick note on the feed syndication:

    As David mentioned, we’re imposing a 30-minute minimum refresh time on Del.icio.us to respect their resources. We’re also imposing a 30-minute minimum on Flickr, since the vast majority of feeds so far are Flickr feeds (so we have a lot of them to update constantly).

    This doesn’t mean that you have to wait 30 minutes to see the first photo after adding your Flickr feed to your tumblelog – that should happen almost immediately the first time. The delay only applies to subsequent crawls of the feed, so you may have to wait up to 30 minutes for newly added Flickr or Del.icio.us photos to show up in your tumblelog after the first one.

  5. And by “Flickr or Del.icio.us photos”, I of course mean Flickr photos and Del.icio.us links. I’m unfortunately not privy to top-secret information on Del.icio.us’ upcoming features. :)

  6. If, like me, you were having some trouble getting the permalinks to appear on your log, you may have to go into settings, choose (and save) another template, then switch it back to your preferred theme.

    Big fan of the service. I’ll have to crack the spine of this CSS book I bought a little while back and see if I can’t gussy it up just a little.

  7. Great upgrade keep up the good work. Such a cool tool!

  8. Loving this… Never blogged before… this might have me hooked…. Thanks !

  9. Within minutes of finding Tumblr, I went and bought a domain for it. Truly groundbreaking.

    The mobile photo posting via email feature ROCKS. I would love other email-based posting options. I can definitely see myself wanting to post a quote or conversation I hear out and about in NYC directly from my phone.

  10. We’re having an issue with Sprint’s photo messages, since they don’t actually include them in the email message: they only include a link to the Javascript-heavy Sprint Picture Mail website that only shows the image in an AJAX slideshow at miniscule size.

    We’re looking into possible ways to reliably extract their photos, but at the moment, our photo-email feature does NOT work with messages sent by Sprint Picture Mail. Sorry!

    crackhead: We’re working on text-posting methods as well. It’s actually a bit harder than photos. Stay tuned.

  11. I’m amazed at how quickly you guys are rolling out updates! Keep it up!

  12. I love the idea of mobile tumbling! and thanks so much for feature my tumblelog!

  13. Please add Metro PCS to the mobile carriers list. Pretty please?

    Thanks :-)

  14. Thanks for the site mention! I’m mostly happy with the design, it’s just the header that I’m not 100% satisfied with now. I’m open to suggestions..

    Just tested out mobile uploads – seems to more or less work, which is excellent! The only issue I found is that my particular provider (Vodafone NZ) fills the “subject” string of the e-mail with “You have received a PXT from (mobile number)” – obviously I don’t really want to display my mobile number for all to see… is it possible to add some configuration options to mobile uploads to customise how it’s displayed, so that I can hide the subject line?

    Keep up with the fantastic work!

  15. Hey! tumblr is amazing, thought provoking and stimulating. And it’s pretty.

    Quick suggestion, even if I know zilch in forming RSS XML: Is it possible to push an option to have day-by-day RSS feeds, updated at the end of each day (like Anarchaia), rather than post by post, which can get a little tiring?


  16. Thanks a lot for the link!
    The new features and updates are great.

    My only issue is with how the settings page sends you back to the publisher page when you save. I’d love a ‘save and continue editing’ button or a separate theme editing page to fix that.

    gozinko – I don’t know very much about RSS either, but I think you could set the ttl (time to live) tag, which goes inside the channel element, as a large amount like 720 (12 hours). If you don’t have control over the feed, you could send it through FeedBurner and add the ttl element to the xml source that way.
    That’s kind of a pain, though, I know.

  17. I sign up for tumblr and within two days it is updated with more sweet features. I love tumblr.

  18. Karrde: “The only issue I found is that my particular provider (Vodafone NZ) fills the “subject” string of the e-mail with “You have received a PXT from (mobile number)” – obviously I don’t really want to display my mobile number for all to see…”

    And this is why we’re calling it “beta”. :)

    Thanks for letting us know – we’re probably going to implement carrier-specific variations, since we’ve already had issues with Sprint not including the photo in the email at all, and T-Mobile filling up the message with many other layout images in addition to the real photo. (You can tell that our office is full of Verizon and Cingular users.)

    gozkino: “Is it possible to push an option to have day-by-day RSS feeds, updated at the end of each day (like Anarchaia), rather than post by post, which can get a little tiring?”

    Do you mean having one RSS item per day that includes every post that day, instead of having one RSS item per post updated continuously? That’s a very good idea. It’s certainly possible, and I’ll look into how we can implement it well. Many people prefer the normal way, though, so we’d have to implement this as an alternate feed.

  19. Marco:

    Yeah, figured as much. I’ve been in your position with developing features before, so I know what it’s like. If you need me (or other mobile users on other networks) to send you guys example mobile e-mails so that you can work out formatting, I’d be more than happy to do so (as I’m sure other users would!)

    Just out of curiosity: what framework is the site built on? PHP, Ruby on Rails, other?

  20. We use PHP 5 with an MVC framework we developed in-house. I love this combination, and recommend it highly. The best MVC framework is the one you write. (Unless you’re a terrible programmer, in which case you can safely pick someone else’s.)

    But don’t tell anyone that we use PHP. People assume that we use Rails since we have pretty URLs and rounded corners, so the Rails community sometimes links to us. :)

  21. Marco: Yeah, I was thinking one RSS item per day. It helps to clean up the RSS inbox of subscribers. It would be really cool as an option.

    Wow, you have some real clean URLs for PHP! I thought it was Rails for a while there, seeing the method calls in the URLs (or so I thought).

    Ah, drop me a line (I presume you have my email with this comment system) if you ever project localisations into Spanish, French or Serbo-Croat.

  22. By the way, does anyone else think these default smileys are awful?

  23. Thanks for the azspot.net plug!

    I had thought too, that tumblr was a Rails application…

    Silly me. Especially considering that I am the author of a custom PHP5 MVC framework also… …see it in action here.


  24. In the TinyMCE for a Photo, I can’t click on Insert/Edit Link…

  25. Marco: Agreed, a custom MVC framework is the way to go – we built Yamji from the ground up under PHP5. That way I know exactly how everything is achieved because I coded it. My partner in Yamji has recently “converted” to Rails and is pushing me to do the same, but at this stage I really can’t be bothered learning a new system when I can do what I need to within pure PHP.

  26. I always thought it was Rails… doesn’t really matter though. Tumblr works beautifully either way!

  27. I don’t know enough about Rails to give a well-informed final opinion, but I dabbled in it briefly last summer. My initial impression is that Ruby is a great dynamic language and MVC frameworks can learn (and have learned) a lot from Rails, but it’s so young and changes so frequently that I don’t want to be responsible for administering a high-availability Rails deployment quite yet.

    I do think, though, that a big chunk of web development is headed toward Rails. I hope that in a few years, deploying and maintaining an insanely fast, stable Rails app is as easy and realistic as doing the same with PHP today.

    I’m more than happy with PHP for now. It’s an excellent language with an amazing standard library and very mature deployment. It’s far more dynamic and productive than many pundits give it credit for. And despite the stigma of being an amateur language (only because so many people use it, so it’s been used badly a lot), it can be extremely stable, secure, robust, and scalable when used correctly.

    Plus, as you pointed out, we know it already. We’ve been using PHP for years, and we know it inside and out. (And for people who write their own frameworks and libraries, that applies especially strongly.) We know everything that happens and doesn’t happen on every level and behind every function. We know every language construct and every API function.

    It takes a lot to drag me away from that, and while Ruby and Rails are very interesting, I’ve (at least for now) chosen to apply lessons learned from them to my PHP work rather than abandoning PHP for an entirely different and unfamiliar platform.

  28. I love Ruby language, a lot more than PHP.

    /agree, however, on RoR and applying lessons to PHP work.

    I chose to develop my framework in PHP because (a) as you pointed out, Rails is young and changing or at least was a year ago when I embarked on my effort (b) it is what I knew well and had been doing 6+ years, dating back to PHP3 days, (c) PHP5 introduced some really useful features like autoload, static attributes/methods, built in SOAP, etc.… and (d) RoR seems to shoehorn developer in to certain opinionated ways, which make a lot of sense for most sites, but not all…

    Now, we (which is a small team of me + intern + volunteers?) are considering rewriting in RoR.


    Well, RoR is maturing for one, but there are a couple of things that stand out (beyond the belief that the dynamic nature of Ruby > PHP):

    1. Database migrations – this is a big hassle right now, syncing different versions of the software where tables are slightly modded and/or added/deleted.

    2. RJS – JS libraries are sweet, but even sweeter is one liner RJS snippets that generate all that JS, making for painless AJAXy features…

    Deployment still an issue, but I do think that Rails has more of an upside than PHP (though it has a long way before it dethrones PHP from being the most ubiquitous scripting platform on the web)

  29. The only thing I’d like to see is allowing a tumblr to be written by multiple users. That’d be ginchy. I dream of the day I could get my non-bloggy friends of doing some sort of *log with me. Tumblelogging might be the thing.

    Also, if I may, I wrote a post on why I’m really digging Tumblr. Well done, Davidville!

  30. I use stuff.ericrice.com (my personal tumblr) for miscellaney; but more importantly, am able to make a podcast on my music.tumblr.com site, which is rights cleared for me to podcast. It’s a multi-genre music stream… I’m working on issues that prevent the feed from working in iTunes, but in other RSS/enclosure aggregators it works fine.

    I’m using this also as a review ground for the music albums I’m compiling for my project on Pontiac’s islands in Second Life.

    Thanks for being better than twitter and not as good as wordpress. :D

  31. Any plans for a text post-by-email function? Photo-posting from my phone works wonderfully, btw — love it.

  32. It isn’t that Tumblr is better/worse than wordpress…it serves a whole different purpose. Tumblelogs help create context that supports the rest of the internet experience. (I reflected a bit more on this here)

    I have a friend who wrote his own cameraphone gallery, and I’m pretty sure he figured out how to snatch Sprint pictures. I’ll ping him on it to see how he got around the way Sprint does MMS messages.

    :: Lisa
    :: adora [at] techslut [.] net

  33. Would be great to be able to permalink to a “date” to see all the tumbl’s for a particular day.

  34. You guys are fantastic. Thanks so much for doing this!

  35. count me in for the blog-by-email feature.

    adding to my tumblr via cellphone would be great.
    btw, you’re doing an amazing job.

  36. Pingback: TruckingAccident.org Articles » Blog Archive » Travel Blogging: 100 Resources To Help You Post on The Road

  37. Thank you for adding me to the interesting tumblings section. I really enjoy being able to use your service. I have been looking for this kind of blog host for a long time.

    Best wishes in the future.

  38. I noticed that several of you have talked about the usefulness of the MVC model with PHP 5. I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of some good tutorials online or some good books on the subject.


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