Category Archives: Changes

Weekend update

So sorry for the interruptions over the last few days! A bug surfaced in a new caching library we were using (APC) that was wreaking havoc across our servers. It wound up being extremely tedious to locate.

A HUGE thanks to Marco (and his fiance, Tiffany) for pulling some absurd hours over the weekend to get things sorted out. It was absolutely devastating watching the new Tumblr have trouble its first few days.

Another giant thank you to all of our friends who jumped up to help the moment they noticed something was awry. Marc Goldberg at Next New Networks, Benjamin Stein at Mobile Commons, Anthony Volodkin at Hype Machine, everyone at Vimeo, and anyone I’m forgetting — you’re our heroes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We’ve also gotten through most of the bug reports you’ve sent in. Please keep them coming if you see anything acting funny. Some updates and notes on your feedback:

  • Fixed: The Rich Text Editor was breaking certain post fields in Windows IE.
  • Fixed: The Rich Text Editor has been acting funny in Safari 3. We’ve tried to accommodate for most of its quirks. The guys at Moxiecode that make the editor have a new version coming out with much better Safari support — It’s just not quite stable enough for us to use yet. If it’s causing any trouble, consider turning off Rich Text on your Settings screen.
  • Fixed: A bug that was incorrectly adding Feeds as “link w/ descriptions”. Please delete and recreate any affected Feeds.
  • Fixed: The Theme editor was returning errors for some users.
  • The “Hide my friend’s posts” link on the Dashboard was replaced in favor of the new “Edit” button on your tumblelog’s permalink (post) pages. The “Show/hide my friends” button was always a major cause of confusion and support emails.
  • We’re working on a version of the Theme editor that lets you expand the HTML editing area.
  • When editing a post, we were using the post’s original editing method to determine whether we would show rich text, plain text, or markdown. This was confusing people, so we now override the editor with your current setting (except when the post was created using Markdown).
  • Radar is offline for quality control reasons while we build the new home page to replace it.
  • Please hit Refresh on any form with the Rich Text Editor if it’s not behaving.

It’s taking us some time to get through all the support emails from last week. Sorry if you haven’t heard back yet. is still the best way to reach us. Thanks for being patient.

Lastly, given just how large the Tumblr community has become (and how much interesting feedback we’re getting in our Inbox), we’d like to hurry up and get a Tumblr Forum online next week. Any thoughts or preferences on forum software?

Thanks everyone!

Third time’s a charm

Over 400 new features, fixes, and improvements. Introducing Tumblr 3.0

It’s been six months since we launched Tumblr 2.0. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the ways you’ve been using Tumblr, want to be using it, and could be using it. Today, we’re delighted to show you the culmination of all your feedback and support. The most powerful and simple application we’ve ever built.



Two things were clear as we were building the next version of Tumblr: Lots of new features would require a very refined interface so as not to be overwhelming. And mobile was going to become very important.

November’s Macworld called Tumblr “ideal for posting from a mobile phone“, and we’ve been thinking a lot about mobile interfaces since we first got ahold of our iPhones a few months ago. Elsewhere, “mobile” means a stripped down baby version of the real thing. But for the first time we’re starting to have the real internet in our pockets. And we’re taking advantage of it.

You can already post text and photos from any mobile phone, but the new Tumblr interface has considered the iPhone in every aspect. Not only is the new interface a pleasure to use, but there is something absolutely magical about using the real Tumblr on an iPhone.

A HUGE thanks to Bobby Andersen for crafting the great pixel work you’ll see through the new design. He was able to squeeze Tumblr into his schedule just before being snatched up by Apple where he’s now working on something he can’t tell us about.

Now let’s talk features.

Flawless Photos

Tumblr will already take just about any photo format and scale it to fit perfectly on your tumblelog. We’ve just upped the quality of those photos dramatically. We’re also now leaving GIF and PNG images in their original format.

Image quality

We heard you. Tumblr now does audio.

AudioPost up to one MP3 audio file per day. It will play back in a sleek Flash Audio Player. Nothing you don’t have permission to share, please.

Two major updates to Video

Tumblr used to recognize embed code from the major video sites and scaled it down to fit your theme. Tumblr will now take any video or Flash embed code and scale it down proportionally.

Tumblr + Vimeo

“Partnerships” and “collaborations” have become such a lame stereotype of corporate culture. For us, teaming up with the guys down the street at Vimeo wasn’t just a natural fit. We realized there was a chance to build something truly meaningful for both our users.

As of this morning, Vimeo users can connect their account to Tumblr. And for the first time ever, via phone or browser, Tumblr now takes Video Uploads. Our deepest thanks to Jakob Lodwick, Ted Roden, and the rest of the Vimeo Staff for making it happen.

Click to play

Lodwick adds, “This is the best thing to happen on the web in 2007.”


We’re REALLY excited about this.

Imagine using all of Tumblr’s posting tools to share and collaborate with a group of people. Imagine a hybrid of email, instant messaging, chat, and blogging.

ChannelsChannels are the perfect way to share things with a group of people. They’re private, archived, and feature all the power of Tumblr. Just name your channel, and invite friends, family, or colleagues to join. Once they join, they can invite people too.

You’ll see the “Channels” link right up next to “Dashboard” tab. When someone posts something new to one of your Channels, the icon will glow.

The obvious next step for Channels is the ability to open them up as public, multi-author tumblelogs. It’s in the works.


There are some new “Advanced options” when posting to Tumblr. One is an option to hide posts from other users. This is a great way to post things you want to keep, but don’t necessarily want to share.

Date posts

Another advanced option: Change the date and order of posts on your tumblelog. By default it’s set to “now”. Just type in the date or time (“yesterday 10am“, “5/10/2006“, etc.) and you’re good. No forward dating yet.

Advanced options

Tags … almost there

We’re about to start indexing all of the content on Tumblr. Aside from search, this will power lots of new functionality like browsing by tags.

In the meantime, we wanted to let you start adding these tags to your posts. They’re not visible or searchable in the Tumblr themes just yet. Though we did add one neat thing for any webheads that want to experiment:

The theme variable {TagsAsClasses} will output an HTML Class-attribute friendly string of the post’s tags. Example output might look like “office humor new_york_city”. In addition, we automatically insert the originating domain for imported posts. So it would be set to something like “twitter_com” or “digg_com“. You can use this tag to add special styling to posts based on their tags or feed.


The Settings screen has a new option to use Markdown syntax when editing posts. Markdown is a great HTML alternative for web writers.


The guys over at Projectionist just won’t stop. They recently added this unbelievably inspired Archive view to their tumblelog.

Projectionist archive

We’ve added a page to all Tumblr tumblelogs that generates a similar microfiche view of all your Tumblr posts. Just add “/archive” to your Tumblr URL. It’s a seriously cool way to see everything you’ve been doing.

Tumblr archive

New Themes

Tumblr now includes four new brilliant themes by the pixel-gurus Cameron Hunt and Bill Israel.

New themes

Have a theme you want to get included? Please send them over!

New Theme Tools

We’ve added a bunch of new tags to Tumblr’s theme engine to enable things like favicons, post titles in the page title, click-through photos, and more.

For information on customizing themes, check out their documentation.

Integrating Tumblr

The Tumblr API has been greatly expanded, and now includes JSON support.

We’ve also added a really neat tool: Your Extras page now has a line of Javascript code to embed your posts anywhere. The posts are easily styled with CSS, letting you incorporate your tumblelog on any web site. See an example on the front page of Fast Lane Daily.

Tumblr integrated

Since enabling the API, we’ve been seeing some very cool applications being built on Tumblr. Today, nearly 10% of all Tumblr posts are coming from apps built on Tumblr. If you have a Tumblr app or integration you’d like us to feature, please pass it along.

Jott One of our favorites we wanted to show you today: Jott lets you call up 1-866-JOTT-123 and leave a message to appear on your tumblelog as text, so you can finally post to Tumblr safely while driving. Just visit to get started.

Post via AIM (beta)

AIMThe TumblrBot is now live! AIM users, add TumblrBot to your buddy list for quick and easy posting to Tumblr.

Some other changes

  • Mobile posting now supports more carriers, and will accept text, photos, audio, and video (if you’ve set up Vimeo).
  • The Bookmarklet now supports Chat posts.
  • You can now be logged in simultaneously from more than one location.
  • After looking very carefully at Feed Importing on Tumblr (a feature which is very easily abused), we’ve made some adjustments: Accounts are limited to importing five feeds, but can request more. Because recycling entire posts was wreaking havoc on Google rankings and opening the door to too many copyright complaints, we’ve converted all “Import as Text w/ Title” feeds to “Link w/ Description” feeds. All imported posts are now truncated to 500 characters.
  • “404 Not Found” pages on tumblelogs now render your theme instead of the standard Tumblr error page.
  • The Tumblet Dashboard Widget now supports international characters. You can download and re-install it from the Extras page.
  • And a few hundred more tweaks and additions. Can you spot them all?

Okay, a couple things aren’t here today

Most obviously, something like comments.

This is an area we’re fascinated with. You’ve made it very clear that you’re not satisfied with comments, but not always satisfied without them.

We’re cooking something up. It’s taking some time, but we think it has the potential to be something hugely significant to the web. Thanks for your patience.

Now that said — It just got a lot easier to have comments on Tumblr if you’re comfortable editing your theme.

Go sign up with our friends over at Disqus, and add the code they give you somewhere in your theme, like this:

<div id=”disqus_thread”></div><script type=”text/javascript”

Lastly, some big news!

Last month, something huge happened at Davidville. Something totally exciting (and a little terrifying).

We shut down our services shop, changed our name to Tumblr, Inc., and went into business with some extraordinary people.

For the first time, our pride-and-joy is now our one-and-only. And 110% of our time gets to be spent making Tumblr the best it can be.

Welcoming on board:

  • Bijan Sabet
    Spark Capital. None of this would have come together without him.
  • Brad Burnham & Fred Wilson
    Union Square Ventures.
  • John Borthwick
    Former CEO of Fotolog.
  • Fred Seibert
    Producer of most of the cartoons you’ve seen on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Founder of Next New Networks. Former president of Hanna-Barbera, and creative director of MTV Networks. My mentor.
  • Albert Wenger
    Former president of On the board of Etsy. Creator of Daily Lit.
  • Jakob Lodwick
    Founder of Vimeo and College Humor.
  • Michael Karp
    My dad.
  • Martin Varsavsky
    Too many accolades to list.

Of course, this would all be nowhere it weren’t for the 110,000 users that have taken Tumblr so much further than we ever imagined. It’s been a privilege building this with you, and we have some awesome things to come.

Tumbling towards 2.0

So sorry for the quiet month! We’ve been hard at work on the next iteration of Tumblr, and today we’re ready to pull back the curtain and let you play with some new features we’re totally excited about.

Snappy new interface

The first thing you’ll notice is the slick new Dashboard screen. There’s a ton of new functionality coming to Tumblr, and we’ve been meticulous in keeping the interface focused and dead-simple.
Tumblr Dashboard

Follow your friends

One of our favorite things about the tumblelog form is just how easy it makes keeping up with the people around us. We’ve streamlined this process even more by letting you follow all your friends on your Dashboard.

More mobile

We’ve been thrilled with the amount of mobile activity Tumblr has been seeing since we turned on mobile photo uploads. As of today, you can send text messages to the same address, letting you update Tumblr from anywhere.

ReBlog stuff you love

Tumblelogs are already the easiest way to share stuff you find or create. But next time you want to share something you find on another tumblelog, just ReBlog it. ReBlogging let’s you quickly share content you discover on other tumblelogs, and even add or change the commentary.


When you’re logged into Tumblr, the ReBlog button is displayed on permalink pages and friends’ posts on your Dashboard.

What’s still missing?

Plenty. This is still only a tiny bit of the vision, and we still have lots more to launch over the next few weeks. A few pieces that are noticeably absent:

  • More ways to find friends – It seems like a no-brainer to show friends of your friends, but we have some interesting tools for this that aren’t quite ready uncover. More ways to discover tumblelogs are right around the corner.
  • Two-way communication – We hear you! And believe me, this feature is just as important to us. It’s been a lot of work to build an innovative system that doesn’t fall into the same trap that blog comments have. We’re on to something really cool, and we promise you’ll be playing with it soon!
  • More ReBlog feedback – ReBlogging gets really cool when we start tracking the life of stuff you post on Tumblr. Imagine following your photo as it’s shared across thousands of users, always pointing back to the creator, while mapping the web of users along the way.

And some bugs fixed


  • The Write API is no longer failing to create photos in certain instances.
  • PRE tags should no longer be seeing extra new-line entities in their markup. (Thanks Tim Lucas!)

So what do you like? What don’t you like? What are you excited about? And what do you absolutely need to see make it into the next update?

As always, your support has been immeasurable. The feedback from this rapidly growing community has been absolutely inspiring, and we are so excited to continue developing Tumblr with you. Thank you!

Changes a brewin’

Sorry for the slow week, everyone. We’ve been hard at work finishing updates to Worldwide Fido. We’ve also been polishing up the core Tumblr functionality, so we can spend April focusing on the what I’ll loosely describe as Tumblr’s upcoming “community” features — codenamed “Andean Mountain Cat“.

Mobile Text (beta)

We’re gearing up to launch Mobile Text posting next week. We just need a little help to make sure everyone’s carriers are supported. So please grab your phone and shoot an SMS message to If your carrier supports “Subject” lines, please try sending one with, and one without. Thanks everyone!


TumbletHere we thought we would quietly launch the Tumblr Write API before the weekend. Little did we know the excellent folks at Download Squad would use that very API in a feature on building Dashboard widgets with Apple’s Dashcode.

The apps we’ve started to receive are already looking slick. A few of the stable ones are linked to below. Everything we’re seeing so far is OS X flavored. Where the Windows developers at?

  • Tumblet – The first toy we whipped together to test the Tumblr API. This Dashboard Widget lets you quickly post short text blurbs to Tumblr.
  • Tumble on Quicksilver – A great add-on to the OS X app, Quicksilver. Released impossibly quickly by Andrew Lilja.
  • Tumblr Widget – A great Dashboard Widget for posting Regular Posts to Tumblr.

Automated Support for Custom Domains

One feature that’s proven very difficult to support is Custom Domains. Letting you bring your own domains to Tumblr really offers an amazing level of integration and personalization, and we’re thrilled to already be hosting more than 2500 of your domains!

The problem surfaces when users who aren’t experienced with the tricky process of setting up a domain buy their first domain for use on Tumblr. Although certainly doable, this can be a very confusing process for the uninitiated. And even worse, it’s a very tricky problem to support, as most domain registrars have proprietary configuration tools.

Check Domain

To help with this process, we’ve built a simple domain test to help users who are having trouble getting their domain working. Now, just enter your domain to see its current status, along with an explanation that should help when contacting your domain registrar’s support.

Please give it a spin and let us know how it does.

“Pro” features, and other flattery

I’m not sure everyone realizes just how flattered and honored we are to be receiving questions and feedback on Tumblr’s “Pro” features. Outside of a few email responses, I don’t believe we’ve made a public announcement regarding Pro accounts. And yet we’re getting several emails and blog comments each day, asking for a hint of the new Pro features to come.

It means so much to us that you guys are not only excited about what we’re doing, but excited to support our projects going forward. It’s really a privilege. And we’re incredibly grateful.

So let me just say officially that Pro accounts are on their way. We won’t be divulging any specifics yet, but we do want to announce our promise to use “Pro” as more than just a chance to capitalize on what we’re already offering.

We’ve been very frustrated with services treating their free accounts like baby users. We want to look at Pro accounts as a chance to offer features that would otherwise be too expensive to develop, and as our opportunity to invent features that are truly unique to this form. We also want to recognize that these will be some of our most engaged users, and with perks, like early access to new features, we’ll try and significantly enhance the Pro experience without impeding the rest of you.

Many new things to come as we continue exploring the very cool tumblelog form. Thank you for your support along the way.


IridescentYou guys continue to blow us away with some incredible custom themes. Just a few here:

And some bugs have been squashed:

  • A formatting bug has been fixed that was causing inline links in Link posts’ descriptions to look wacky.
  • We’re also now sending the variable {PostID} in every post block. Its value is the integer that appears at the end of the post’s permalink (“/post/123456”).
  • One oversight on our part: because the HREF tag for Link posts is being defined in the theme, it is not respecting the “Open links in new window option”. To fix this, all stock themes now incorporate a variable, {Target}, in the Link block. It either renders nothing, or the full string: target=”_blank”

Also, I just wanted to apologize to anyone who’s gotten a slow response, or is still waiting on a response to an email. We’re now receiving over one-hundred emails every day, many of which take 5-10 minutes to thoroughly answer. This is, of course, a tremendous privilege, and we really appreciate your understanding while we continue to grow. Hopefully, we’ll be shifting some of the questions we receive into a Tumblr Forum in the very near future.

We almost had nice weather

Hey folks! Sorry for the slow week. I’ve been battling the flu. But Marco’s been holding down the fort and we did get a few cool things out the door today.

Link Descriptions

Add a description

Probably our second most requested feature. You’ll now see a link to “Add a description” when adding a new Link Post from either the publisher or bookmarklet. This will pop open a field to edit the link’s description.

To anyone using custom themes, you can add the descriptions by putting this inside the Link-block:


Quote Size Tweaks

After some great feedback, you guys steered us to thinking that explicitly applying a span-class to Quotes is pretty inflexible behavior. It also doesn’t account for things like adding quote-characters (“) to the beginning/end.

So instead, we now send a variable {Length} inside the Quote-block. It uses the same values we had been sending as the Quote’s span-class. So {Length} will be set to either “short”, “medium”, or “long”, depending on the length of the Quote.

If you’ve already applied dynamic quote sizes in your custom theme, the easiest way restore them is to wrap the variable {Quote} in a span like: <span class=”{Length}”>{Quote}</span>

Sorry to waffle on you. We hate making operating changes to theme rendering, but we wanted to nip this in the bud and implement quote sizes gracefully.

New Import TypesNew Ways To Import Feeds

If you check out the Import Feeds panel, you’ll now see two more ways to import posts.

Links with descriptions” imports RSS posts as Links with the new description field set to their body contents. Works great with Delicious feeds.

YouTube Videos” will grab tagged YouTube videos, or videos belonging to a YouTube user, and import them as embedded videos for playback on your tumblelog. You can learn more about YouTube RSS feeds here.

Bookmarklet V3

Thanks to tons of great feedback and suggestions, today we were able to make the Tumblr Bookmarklet a whole lot cooler.

Bookmarklet V3

The most apparent difference is the ability to change which type of post you’re creating. Now if you want to link to a photo instead of posting it, you can click the “Link” tab. Or, if you want to use the selected text inside a Regular Post instead of a Quote, just click “Regular”. This also lets you do things like enter Photos or Video embeds from any site on the web. Auto-detect still works the same, and the bookmarklet will automatically grab Flickr photos, YouTube videos, Quotes, etc.

There’s also a really nifty new interface on the “Photo” tab. Now, if you click “Photo” on any page where we’re not sure which image you want, the bookmarklet displays a thumbnail of EVERY image on the page. Just click the one you want and save.

Some of the new things you can do:

  • Post a video embed from any site on the web
  • Select text on a page to appear inside a Regular Post
  • Add a description to Link posts
  • Link to a photo or video instead of posting it directly
  • Post a photo from any page on the web (no need to open it in its own window)

We’ve also added auto-detect support for Metacafe videos.

Have a great weekend everyone! Marco’s headed to Long Island, and I’m snowed-in watching Casino Royale.

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!

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. 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

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.