About a week after WP announced the rollout of the Snap Preview utility across all WP Blogs, I came across this Firefox plugin called Cooliris (mebbe itz cool iris). I’ve been using both of them since then on my blog and have had enough time to evaluate their pros and cons. For the uninitiated, both of these utilities are plugins that enable users to see a ‘preview’ of the site when they hover over a link. They provide a snapshot of the site to which you will be taken to when you click on that link.
Let’s take a look at Snap preview first. It is a global wordpress plugin with an option available to turn it off. When activated, if a user hovers over a link on his WP Blog, a baloon popup opens alongside. Something like this:
Not only is the Preview window small and too-cramped to read whatz there on the site. And sometimes it throws up a blank preview with a bland message saying that it doesn’t have the preview and urges you to check back later!
CoolIris is a browser-plugin unlike Snap, and is not a WP-only-plugin. It is available for almost all the widely used browsers – Firefox, IE, Safari & Flock. Once installed, a neat little checkbox resides on the browser bottom-bar which can be checked or unchecked to enable or disable the cooliris preview on the page you are viewing. IF enabled, whenever you hover over a link, you’ll see a small blue icon which will tell you that there’s a preview to be viewed. Once you take your mouse over that blue square, the preview will open in a wide-enough window for you to view.
The preview window has a menu-bar at the top which has buttons for Going back, opening the link in a new tab, emailing the link to a friend, closing the preview window and to lock the frame in position. And what’s more, the preview window is resizeable too….so one can read the text on the linked site without much ado.
Pros: Small and compact Preview.
Cons: WP-Only, Annoying when you move the mouse over links, Non-captured previews, Unreadable text
Pros: Resizable Window, Watch preview when you want and not automatically, features to open preview in new tab, send link to friend, lock preview window in place, works for all websites you visit on the Browser, available for multiple browsers.
Cons: Large and ungainly window size initially, have to install the plugin.
So at the end of the day, which one I’m gonna choose? Well since cooliris is a browser plugin, visitors to my blog may or may not have it and hence can’t see the previews! If Snap Preview is enabled on my blog, visitors can preview the links I carry in my posts. So if I have both…its a win-win situation for everybody