Wavatars: Deprecated

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Apr 22, 2008

Filed under: Projects 24 comments


I read on the Gravatar blog that several popular icon systems have been simply built in to the Gravatar system. This means my Wavatars plugin is now superfluous. Instead of installing Wavatars on your blog, you can just use the built-in support for Gravatars and set the default code to “&default=wavatar”. This means that Gravatars.com will handle the storage and CPU load of all those icons. This also means that WordPress.com blogs will be able to use wavatars, as well as people who just don’t like mucking about with downloading and installing plugins. Good deal all around.

The existing Wavatars plugin will remain, but I have no plans to update it in the future. I’m glad to see that the plugin was popular enough to merit inclusion in the Gravatar system. Always nice to see an idea you nurtured grow to the point where it goes and lives on without you. (Not that I was the first to think of procedurally generated avatars, just this particular set of cute little faces.)


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24 thoughts on “Wavatars: Deprecated

  1. JFargo says:

    Nice to see it was widely enough liked to be added in permanently. Very cool.

  2. Samrobb says:

    Indeed – very cool, Shamus. Congratulations.

    Of course, in the classic Open Source tradition, people over on the Gravatar blog are already complaining about the new features.

    No matter how often it happens, it still surprises me that people given something for free – in fact, something that they don’t even have to use! – will complain loudly that your gift to them isn’t good enough.

  3. Matt Algren says:

    Wait, so you’re saying that I spent two hours this morning getting your awesome plugin to work (not your fault, I’m php stupid) when all I had to do was amend that one line?

    I–I think I need to lie down.

    This is what I get for not reading the whole thing.

  4. Dev Null says:

    Maybe I’m missing something obvious here; did they credit you for the invention? I mean, I realise that you’d chucked it out there for the public use, but I’d hope you’d at least warrant a heads-up before they just made it a standard option on what is – as far as I knew – an ad-driven commercial site. But you don’t sound pissed off, so I’m guessing I missed some part of the interaction.

    Of course, if they credit you then some of Samrobb’s complainers may track you down and hassle you for upgrades, so there is something to be said for vague anonymity…

  5. Matt Algren says:

    Good question, Dev. I wondered the same thing.

    Also weird that the generated images are different when I switch methods. That is, when I use the plug-in I get angry upside-down triangle guy, but when I switch to the new gravatar default method, I get curvy box/big eye lady.

  6. Shamus says:

    Dev: Yeah,I didn’t hear about it until I noticed the link coming from the gravatar blog. I haven’t had any contact with them.

    If what Matt Algren is seeing is true, then I AM disappointed that they broke the universal nature of the avs. Having the same email give two different wavatars sort of undermines my goal for the project in the first place.

    I’d still be willing to do work on wavatars, but I don’t want to put any more time into the stand-alone plugin, since it’s now a dead end. If Automattic wanted me to make some sort of changes I’d be willing to get involved if they asked.

  7. Doug Brown says:

    Great, Shamus. Now that you’ve conquered the world of contextually generated avatars, weep not! for there are yet worlds to conquer. You can now begin work on the code for procedurally generated content.

    It’ll replace all the Internets!

  8. Lanthanide says:

    Depreciated may refer to:

    * Depreciation, in finance, a reference to the fact that assets with finite lives lose value over time
    * Depreciated is often confused or used as a stand-in for “deprecated”; see deprecation for the use of depreciation in computer software

    Sorry, just a personal bugbear of mine.

  9. Steve says:

    That is pretty nifty.

  10. Micah says:

    I’m with Lanthanide on this one. I see “depreciated” all the time when people are talking about old code, and it bugs the hell out of me. The code has not gone down in value, it’s just not recommended to use anymore.

  11. Joe says:

    Interesting… I don’t believe I’ve ever seen depreciated and deprecated mixed up before, although the words are quite similar and the meanings are conceptually related. I assumed that Shamus was making a pun – the plugin itself is deprecated, while the wavatars themselves should, from an economic perspective, be depreciated. By that I mean that one would assume that the demand for them remains constant, but the supply, by inclusion in the gravatar plugin, has increased significantly. Thus, their market value should decrease, and therefore the wavatars themselves have depreciated.

    OK, it’s a stretch there. But come on, all he did is add an ‘i’, and all i is is an imaginary number, so just imagine it’s not there….


  12. Shamus says:

    Depreciated vs. deprecated: I make errors like this ALL THE TIME. It is only through the rigorous use of a spell checker that this site remains at all readable.

    I’m one of those people who reads what he thought, not what he actually wrote. I just don’t see my own typos and spelling errors, even seemingly flagrant ones.

    So when I make a mistake that the spell checker doesn’t care about, it is likely to get posted and stand until someone points it out.

    Just be glad it didn’t say “decimated” or “defecated”.

    Also: Fixed. :)

  13. Dave says:

    This is going to keep bothering me, so I have to say something…

    I felt that Shamus’s use of depreciate was valid in this case… The plugin’s value has been decreased because it has been replaced by something (presumably) better. I don’t think anyone has really expressed disapproval of it.


    I guess, to me, deprecate is too harsh a term for it. Of course, it doesn’t help that they both refer to each other.

  14. Lanthanide says:

    Deprecate is the standard term used in software/computing to indicate that something is old or obsolete, or has been surpassed by a newer method or product that is the preferred way of doing things now (ie, something that is replaced by something newer may not be deprecated if the new system doesn’t work properly, or doesn’t do the same job as the old thing).

    In this case, the wavatar plugin that Shamus originally wrote is now obsolete due to it being incorporated directly into the gravatar system. Therefore deprecate is the most correct word to use.

  15. Zaghadka says:

    I hate my wavatar. How do I go about changing it?

  16. Lanthanide says:

    Make up a new email address. It seems the email addresses I use are cached at home and at work, resulting in the two different wavatars you see here.

  17. Zaghadka says:

    So, I just do this? And it changes? Wow! Now I look pissed.

  18. Zaghadka says:

    And now I look thoughtful, yet retarded. I think I’ll stick with this one.

  19. Alex says:

    I bet you’re proud of your work. :)

  20. The wavatar code used at Gravatar is based on the md5 hash of the lower-case e-mail address. (It has to be, or you’d be revealing everyone’s e-mail address in your HTML.)

    When wavatar is working as an in-built plugin, it’s probably based on the e-mail address directly. (I haven’t actually checked that.)

    This would explain why the Gravatar method produces different wavatars to the plugin method.


  21. Jaffasoft says:

    These things are brilliantly simple and brilliantly clever, very VERY well done! Thanks very much they add personality, brightness and color to my site.

    I only just discovered them and followed a text trail back here!

    I’ve noticed that there is no plugin that will pull a page full of Wavatars,Gravatars,Avartas associated with WordPress usernames & subscribers etc.

    I’d like to be able to make such a page to feature all my user community in a display that would show there wavatar,gravatar,avartar (whatever that users have)… and there username along side but not the email addresses! Maybe in columns selectable with one, two three,four ,five,six,senven wide? I guess it would go in a sidebar if anyone wanted as well.

    I just think it would look great to have a page that displays 50-100 Wavatars and usernames in a colourful community display page. An ARMY of Wavatars :).

    I depend on good programs that are able to do such things so I’m at the mercy of good programmers to do such things. I hope you can find the idea good enough to take it on for not only me but unselfishly others that others that might want to also display stuff with your brilliant Wavatars :)?

    And or if I’m going on about something already made then please direct to such a plugin.

    jaffasoft at gmail dot com

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