Some new things before the weekend

First off, if you haven’t seen it yet, check out Nic Williams‘ wicked Tumblr Syntax Highlighting hack. Nic, you’re our hero!

We are currently testing an integrated solution that doesn’t require client-side JavaScript or disabling Rich Text editing, but we’re not quite there yet. Hopefully, Nic’s solution will satisfy anyone itching to throw some pretty code snippets up on Tumblr.

Tumblr API

We’ve been happily surprised to find that one of the most requested feature additions is a Tumblr API. So in the spirit of being an open-platform (and because, frankly, we can’t wait to see what you guys do with it) we’re rapidly rolling out a simple-but-robust API (Application Programming Interface).

This will be implemented over standard HTTP requests, so just about any application that can connect to the web can interface with Tumblr.

We’re only launching the Read API today as we continue to test and polish the Write API. Look for an update and, hopefully, the live Write API early next week.

Please check out the Tumblr API documentation, and let us know what you’re building (or thinking about building) on top of Tumblr.


LitewireThe new theme, “Litewire“, went up yesterday. Waddaya think? We’ve also been tinkering with some designs that veer far from the single column blog layout we’re all used to. The tumblelog form is so interesting – we really want to accentuate its uniqueness.

On that note — we’re getting ready to start soliciting theme submissions. We’ve already received some interest from some terrifically talented people, and we’re just about ready to set up a formal (and public) submission process. If you’re interested, or you have any thoughts on this process, please drop us a comment.

Dynamic Quote sizes

A few users noticed something cool has been doing with their Quote posts. Depending on how long (or short) a quote is, the size of the font changes to display it nicely.

Totally cool. And something really unique to this format. So — as of today, depending on the length of your Quote, Tumblr now wraps the text in either:

  • <span class=”short”>…</span>
  • <span class=”medium”>…</span>
  • <span class=”long”>…</span>

This will let you use CSS to adjust the font size between Quotes of different lengths. You can see this in action in the new “Litewire” theme. If you integrate this into your custom theme, please drop a link in the comments.

Now previewing: Radar

The biggest hole in Tumblr at the moment is the inability to discover any of the incredible tumblelogs people are creating. There are a ton of ideas we’re incubating, and all sorts of things we want to do to spotlight the brilliant things people do with Tumblr.

One of our favorites (and one that’s hardly perfected yet) is called “Radar“. It grabs snippets of every post that goes up on Tumblr and drops it on one page for easy scanning.

As an early preview to our blog readers, you can now check out Radar at

This is barely tested cross-browser, and is only known to work in Firefox, Safari, and IE7. Please use your discretion in using this tool, as we have no content filtering in place.


Note: Radar will only feature posts by users that have “Promote me in the Tumblr directory” checked off on their Settings page.


  • We’ve started tinkering with our Mobile Upload processing. We’re getting closer to ignoring all the junk text that cell carriers attach to messages. This should start to prevent mobile posts from using default text in captions.
  • We think we’ve figured out Sprint, and will hopefully be accepting Sprint messages soon.
  • Text SMS is in the works.
  • Welcome Sarah Lane to Tumblr! (I’m a big fan =p)

Have a nice weekend, everyone!


63 responses to “Some new things before the weekend

  1. I love radar! I can’t wait to see more ways to explore tumblr tumblelogs!

  2. API !! I’m hugely excited about this. Thanks!

    I had just about finished up a script to scrape my site (eww) and create an RSS feed by day (would be a great standard feature), but now I can just use the API. Awesome!

    I can’t believe the speed at which you guys are managing to roll out features. *Great work*. Keep it up, guys.

  3. You guys are great.

    Thanks for doing the dynamic quote sizes!

  4. Dynamic quote sizes are sweet! May I suggest an improvement? Instead of starting it as:
    <div class=”quote”>
    <span class=”quote”>
    <big class=”quote”>“</big> <span class=”short”>Second Life is like L.A.</span>

    …which doesn’t let you resize the leading quotation mark, you could instead do:

    <div class=”quote”>
    <span class=”quote short”>
    <big class=”quote”>“</big> Second Life is like L.A.

    …which still gives you the short/medium/long hook, but would also let you style the quotation mark lead-in as well.

    Though I just looked at the source and saw how {Quote} and {Block:Quote} is set up, and that does make it kind of difficult. Doh.

  5. I’ve incorporated the sizable quote deal on but it’d be better if I could resize the pull quote too — haven’t figured out a way to do this eloquently enough yet, and I have wasted a boat load of time on the task…

    Another alternative would be floating an image to the left, but that seems clunky…

    …maybe some CSS magic with firstletter pseudo class…

    And it looks kind of borked on MSIE 6+ with the first line being squashed…

  6. I know exactly what you’re referring to, Naum. That’s actually the reason we went with a more basic layout for Quotes in “Litewire”.

    That said, you are making me think that it would be worth us sending “{Size}” as a theme-variable along with the Quote. This would let you refer to the Quote’s length (short, medium, or long) anywhere in the Quote block. Example:

      <div class=”quote”>
        <big class=”{Size}”>“</big>

    Does it sound like this would do the trick?

  7. Is there a way to put a site meter on my tumbleog?

    thank you

  8. I’m really liking the api, I’m sure a lot of people (perhaps even myself :)) will create some great and innovative new interactions with tumblr. You guys rock, keep it up!

  9. @David:

    Yes, if the quote size is available as template variable, resizing is indeed possbile.

    The only issue is that there is sort of a dichotomy in the template processing then — the quote mark is handled by your CSS class setting of {Size} (short, medium, or long) but the {Quote} text is auto wrapped. Maybe not so much of a problem…

  10. I *love* the import feed feature, but could you guys please add an option to import as quote? I’m importing updates from Twitter, and since they’re so short, I’d like them displayed as quotes.


  11. I’ve got very similar syntax highlighting integration happenin on my custom-themed tumblog too. Works a treat!

    Thanks a lot for the work you’ve put into this guys. Fantastic little tool slash product.

  12. You guys are doing incredible work, but I think we could really use some basic tools to help promote our tumblelogs in the various other sites most of us probably already exist at. I’m sure I’m not the only Tumblrer who has at least a (WordPress) blog or two on which I could use a widget to help promote my Tumblr blog. What would be even cooler is a true-blue WordPress plugin that could turn a Tumblr blog into an asides section for the blog, truly incorporating the two.

    I know new services like you guys traditionally rely on the 3rd party community to provide stuff like this, but I think it’s time for web startups to begin providing these tools straight out the gate as a show of good faith to new users. How about it: want to set an example? I know your audience would really appreciate it.

  13. Naum:

    While I think part of the problem is the way we incorporated quote icons as inline text in previous themes, I agree that wrapping the Quote text with no consideration for the start/end quote characters seems wrong. We’ll look into this further.

    David Chartier:

    Really appreciate it, David. I’m afraid I have very little experience with WP Asides. I certainly agree it seems like a natural fit though. We’ll play with WP integration as we start rolling out some embeddable widgets. If there isn’t too much overhead, we’ll definitely try incorporating Asides.

  14. Well, I’ve implemented dynamic quote sizes on my tumblr, and so far it looks great… except for one issue. The last line of the quote (in red before the quote credit) hangs down oddly, as if only the last line has a different line height than the rest of the quote. I’ve tried a bunch of stuff and am still stumped. Any ideas?


  15. Ok, easiest solution in the world, if anyone is having the same problem as me customizing the fold theme…

    In the template body, move the right up next to the {Quote}, rather than leaving it on a separate line below. Worked like a dream.

    David, I want my three hours back.


  16. Cool! Are you guys planing on doing something like here at so i can create more than one tumblr without making another account?

    -Mark (nightakis)

  17. In case anyone could use it… here is some code to turn a Twitter feed into decent looking quotes. YMMV; I use the Litewire theme and import my Twitter feed as Regular posts without titles.

  18. I think I’m having the same problem as Sarah Lane. It’s caused by the fact that the source link is not resized along with the quote, and so is forcing the line height to increase.

    At the moment I’ve solved it by having the quotes in a slightly larger font size than I’d like, but the ideal solution would probably be the suggested {Size} theme variable.

    Also, it’d be nice if we could define for ourselves what was considered a short, medium or long quote. As average quote length will probably vary from user to user (and all my quotes currently fall into the “medium” category).

  19. Anyone else having problems with feed imports today? My flickr feed isn’t updating on tumblr correctly.

  20. Anyone else having problems with feed imports today? My flickr feed isn’t updating on tumblr.

  21. I put together a tiny ‘hack’ on how to tumbl via mobile phone:

  22. Dushan: That’s great! I never thought of using the bookmarklet as a mobile-friendly interface.

    Sarah Lane: I checked your feeds, and they all seem to be updating now without any errors. Are they working the way you expect?

    There’s sometimes a bit of a wait in the feed-updating queue for Flickr and feeds. To avoid being rude and killing other people’s servers, we implement a crawl-delay per host. Because so many Tumblr users have Flickr and feeds, they don’t update as quickly as most sites’ feeds would.

    To reduce this problem, we also don’t update them as frequently. Both Flickr and update only every 30-60 minutes, while most other feeds update every 15 minutes or less (depending on the feed’s TTL setting).

  23. Hi Marco, thanks for checking my feeds.

    I’m still having trouble importing my blog posts. Does tumblr have any problem importing Feedburner feeds? I tried to import my Typepad blog posts via Feedburner ( and got no luck, so I changed my tumblr settings to import as a regular blog with titles (at first I was hoping I could import as links). Still no luck.

    In better news, my flickr feed seems fine now. Maybe just a blip yesterday.


  24. It took a couple hours, but that feedburner feed eventually showed. Question- can we import blog posts as links showing just the title?


  25. Sarah: I fixed your Feedburner feed issue this morning. It wasn’t a problem with all Feedburner feeds – it was a special case with that particular feed that our parser hadn’t considered (specifically the handling of xml-stylesheet nodes in different places). Thanks for letting us know about it.

    If you import feeds as Links, they’ll show up as Tumblr Link posts with each blog post’s title as the link text. Is that what you’re looking for?

  26. The new theme rocks as does Radar. Just getting my feet wet.

    and that hack for Twitter quotes. Can’t wait to try it out

  27. Marco,

    Re: feeds as links for blog posts, yes that’s definitely better than importing the entire post (mine are too long to be tumblr-friendly). Looking forward to importing blog posts excerpts in the future!


  28. Thanks for the API and the new theme.

    I’ve shifted to Litewire but discovered a problem with quotes. If you put in a long word (actually words with dashes), it will flow out.

    Here’s an example:

    Thanks and more power!

  29. There is the same wrapping issue with long links, like if you’re not naming it something, but just using the massive http address – they don’t wrap, they just flow out of the center column and onto the background.

  30. Just a clarification, the wrapping issue I posted two posts back only happen with Camino, Firefox, and Flock. It does not happen with Safari and Opera.

  31. Hi, just dropping by to say that a friend of mine recently suggested I get a Tumblr, and although I usually sign up for services and never actually use them… wow. Your guys’ tumblelog setup is so tidy, clean, and easy to use, (which nicely facilitates the feeling of it being for just dropping whatever is on one’s mind rather than traditional blog-essays), and I’ve been using mine like crazy! I’ve been recommending the service to all my friends, and many of them are excited by the refreshing new approach to blogging as well.

    Anyway, sorry to sound overly effusive, but really, you guys have done an awesome job, and I’ll enjoy seeing the project grow. Thanks so much!

  32. Hey… …nice work on the bookmarklet (tabs now for different post types…) but I really would love it if the popup form was resizable… …especially on a big monitor, it really would be nice…

  33. Also, just noticed dynamic quote sizes seems to be broken… …no short/medium/long wrapping anymore… …at least in my custom template (based on minimal)

  34. My custom template isn’t resizing quotes either, based on fold.

  35. Just adding that photo sharing (from Flickr) does not work (this is on Camino, not sure with other browsers).

    I’ve also noticed tabs for posting? I don’t think those tabs are necessary. I like tumblr to automatically detect what kind of link I’m sharing… like what it used to do :)

    Instead, I suggest a new bookmarklet (probably called “Post to Tumblr”) that would have those tabs in there.

  36. Hmm, looks like photo posting via bookmarklet is borked too… …posting on a MBP (Macintel Firefox)… …photo link gets blank post form, but yet changing tabs back and forth reveals it, but it not formatted…

  37. Pingback: We almost had nice weather « Davidville

  38. Hi Naum – There was an issue with the Photo tab coming up empty. That should be fixed. Let me know if it gives you any more trouble.

    Sarah – Check out the latest blog post for info on the changes to Quote Sizes.


  39. Thanks David… …the Quote posting is broken though – it doesn’t format the Source part… …and especially without resizeable form, it is awkward – and silly to see buttons for “bold”, “italic”, etc… when what’s displayed to me is HTML…

  40. David and Marco – Tumblr is exactly what I wanted to build an online presence – friggin love it. The LiteWire template you mention in this post is my personal fav – I have customized the heck out of it and are interested in building some custom themes for Tumblr. Let me know if and when you create a way to share custom themes.

  41. I’d love to submit a custom theme to tumblr. I have so many ideas …

  42. Communications
    In a rapidly moving news environment, FDF operates a 24/7 press office and provides communications support to members FDF is the voice of the UK food and drink manufacturing industry. We work hard to promote the interests of the UK’s most important manufacturing sector.

  43. Hi, there!..d461e05c015f62d70a010b20811dd94a

  44. Hi :)
    Well It seems the server at your end is really struggling to keep up with all of the new tweaks that you good people have been furiously working over!

    Slow load times, slow posting and some serious crashing and link errors! …I signed up with tumblr because I like to be a little different and would really like to keep my visitors feeling as though the new bandwagon is reliable and a not so bumpy ride …although a few people that I recently recommended Tumblr to through my blog have now gone back to WordPress and myspace! aaarggghh!
    Im trying guys, I really am.
    Hope the following weeks will iron out the changes.
    Kind regards

  45. Hey! Is it possible to change the size of photo posts in the Litewire theme? How would I do this? Thanks!

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