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2010/03/01 - Do You Think That's Air You're Breathing Now?

posted Mar 1, 2010, 7:13 PM by Rick Anderson   [ updated Oct 14, 2010, 9:31 PM ]
My favorite scene from the Matrix movie is the
program scene - so many great lines from Neo's first statement, "I know Kung Fu" to Morpheus' explanation about rules, "....What you must learn is that these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent, others can be broken. Understand?" and finally he drills his point after giving Neo a whooping when he rhetorically asks, "Do you think that's air you're breathing now?".

I received an e-mail today from a Google Sites webmaster asking how to insert an animated GIF within Google Sites.  Animated GIF files are picture files that have some sort of animation - in this case it was a set of advertisements that display for a couple of seconds and then change over on a continual basis giving equal time to each advert (in this case a sponsor).

According to Google's documentation, animated GIFs are not possible unless they are hosted outside of Sites.  Hmmm.... not quite true.  Some rules were meant to be broken.

An animated GIF can be displayed as long as the hosting website is different than the displaying website.  Since Google Sites allows an unlimited number of websites, then the solution is possible within a hosted Google Sites account.

Here's the core of the work-around - create a new website within your hosted domain and call the new website gif.  Upload the animated GIF file to the website and copy the url.  Paste the copied url into the insert image dialog box and enjoy your animated GIF!

Here's the step by step process (it looks much longer than it is - this is a 3 minute solution)...

1) from your mail webpage - select the Sites link
2) select the create new site page (depending on your browser settings this may create a template in a new tab)
3) name your site: call it gif - open up the More Options and check the box to Also let anyone in the world view this site (make it public) - select Create site button
4) select More actions button --> manage site
5) select Attachments
6) select Upload button
7) select your file in the dialog box and upload
8) select the View link to view the animated gif (the animated gif will work)
9) copy the browser url - it will be something like...
10) go back to original website and edit the page
11) select Insert --> Image --> Web address and paste the copied url (the animated gif will display in the dialog box) - select ok
12) save your page and admire the results!

Having trouble?

If you are having trouble getting the animated GIF to display, it may be that Google's new SSL security policy and system rights is getting in the way.  If all viewers log into the website - it's a non-issue and everything works as above.  If your viewers are the general public - Google locks them out and the animated GIF shows up as a big fat X - not exactly what you were hoping for when using the above work-around.  So you'll need to use a second work-around and that's to display the animated GIF in an iframe.

At step 11 - select Insert --> More gadgets --> Featured --> Include Gadget (iframe) - paste the url and configure the gadget

Here's the bonus to this method - you don't need a separate website!!!  You can skip steps 1, 2, and 3.  Simply upload the image to your existing website by starting at step 4!  At step 10 you will go back to the page where the animated GIF should be placed. Then use the new Step 11. 

This is the same animated GIF - but it's coming from the zingodia site and not the gif site: