No More Two-Faced Behavior: Dealing with profiles and avatars on a number of popular sites like Facebook, MySpace, Windows Live, and Twitter can be tricky. Incarnate is a service built by the Mix Online team at Microsoft to make managing avatars easy. Incarnate searches the web to find and reuse your avatars, so you don’t have to upload a new one every time you join a new service or want to leave a comment. However, it wasn't integrated with WordPress, one of the biggest blog publishing platforms in the world. Knowing we had WordPress expertise, Mix Online called on us to help them build the WordPress plug-in.
Easy On The Eyes: We wanted to make it easy for users to add the Incarnate plug-in, and make it easy to update photos in one place and have it populate everywhere else. We used the latest jQuery and AJAX functionality to provide a seamless user experience.
Behind the Mask: To allow the user to select an avatar, we used a tidy AJAX GUI. The user simply enters his or her handle in the box and selects an avatar from the graphic list. We wrote a quick jQuery script that injects our GUI into the document right at the top of the comments form. We also used WordPress' API validation hook to store the avatar URL in a database table for easy retrieval. Any time an avatar would normally be displayed, we told it to override with the URL from our own database record.
More Beautiful with Age: With help from the Plexipixel team, MIX Online was able to resolve issues that emerged in the earlier versions of the Incarnate plug-in and is now offering a version 1.2, which works with more WordPress themes with no adjustments needed.