This is True
bullet  Free Daily Content for Your Site

We're often asked by web site owners if they can put our stories on their site, but we've had to refuse such requests -- until now! We're very pleased to offer True-a-Day (TAD).

(Advanced Webmasters:True-a-Day is also available in a SSI-PHP version)

By adding a single line of code on any page on your site, you can automatically show your visitors a new story every day. What a great way to get return visitors! With the default settings (plus centering), it looks like this:

Here's all you have to do to get it on your site: add the following line to any page on your web site:

Make sure you have it all, and it's very important to copy it verbatim -- it's best to use cut and paste. (And thisistrue.net is correct, do not change it to thisistrue.com or it won't work!) It's best to have it all on one line, but you can break it into two if you wish. That is the simplest way to do it, but there are some optional parameters you can add if you want or need to -- see below. The above story was added simply by using that line -- which means when you come back later the story will be different. It changes every day.

Advanced Webmasters:True-a-Day is also available in a SSI-PHP version

For secure sites, which require that the call be done securely, replace the server call with https://secure.thisistrue.com/cgi-bin/tad.pl

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does this work? A: It's a program on our server that feeds the story to your site visitor's browser. It uses javascript to do it, so it only works if your site visitor's browser has javascript enabled. (Most browsers, including Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, etc., support javascript and it's enabled by default.)

Q: The color scheme doesn't match my site. Can I change the background color(s)?
A: Yes; see optional parameters below, which were used to create the second example to the right.

Q: The stories aren't the same as the ones I've gotten in my This is True e-mail subscription. Where are they from?
A: They're from our vast archive of thousands of stories -- True has been publishing since 1994, so even changing to a new story every day won't result in our running out of content for this program.

Q: I've missed some stories! Can I get copies of past days?
A: Not through this program, no. But all the stories (and more!) are in the This is True book collections, which you can order online. (Book info and orders.)

Q: Can I remove the subscribe box for This is True from the bottom?
A: No; that's the "price" of getting new content every day, for free, for your site.

Q: Can TAD be on a page with other content or ads?
A: Yes.

Q: What are the optional parameters I can use?
A: You don't need to use any of these, but they are available to customize TAD's look for your site:

ParameterUseExample
align= sets horizontal position TAD appears align=right
(can also use center or left)
width=the number of pixels you want the TAD box to be, or the percentage of your page width (default: 55%) width=500px or width=55%37
(Note: "%37" is correct in all cases -- it's the hex code for "percent". So width=60%37 makes the width 60%, width=75%37 makes it 75%, etc.)
headerbgcolor=  background color of the top and bottom cells (default: light blue -- ADD8E6) headerbgcolor=white or
headerbgcolor=FFFFFF (Note: the FFFFFF is the standard hexcode without the #)
bodybgcolor= background color of the middle cell (default: beige -- F5F5DC) bodybgcolor=FFFFFF or
bodybgcolor=white

How to add the parameters to the script call:

Include one or more, without spaces, after the tad.pl part. The first parameter must start with "?". Any additional parameters are separated with "&". Example:

The above option coding was used to create the second example above. Again, it should ideally be all on one line, even though it probably wraps for you here, in your browser.

Q: This is very, very cool! Did you create it yourself?
A: No; it's a custom application from Randy's friend Leo at Puget Sound Software.

10 Comments on This Entry

All comments on this site are reviewed prior to being published. Spammers: don't waste your time. The posting criteria are simple: if a comment is worth visitors' time to read, it's approved. If not, it's not.


Posted by Will in Little Rock, AR on February 24, 2009:

Is there any way to get TAD into a MySpace profile? Since MySpace blocks javascript, I can't use the code listed.

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Not so far as I know, no. Sorry! -rc

Posted by Will, Newcastle Australia on May 13, 2009:

Cool feature Randy! I've already bookmarked it on the iphone - definitely will be making use of it!

Leo's website looks pretty interesting too.

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Indeed it is. For others, the iPhone version of True-a-Day is at http://i.thisistrue.com -rc

Posted by Michal, Norway on July 24, 2010:

I want to edit the text color. Is that possible?

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I believe the body text color is inherited from the page it's on. -rc

Posted by Stefan, Germany on August 28, 2010:

charset="iso-8895-1" should be charset="iso-8859-1"

And FWIW, I had to use

echo system("wget -q -O - http://thisistrue.net/cgi-bin/tad.pl?ssi=1 | iconv -f WINDOWS-1251 -t UTF-8");

to make the typographic quotes work on my site.

Posted by Martin from NoVa on September 11, 2010:

I'd like to do this but I'm hopeless with HTML. I use blogspot and could add it easily if it were a gadget.

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You don't have to know HTML. Just copy and paste the snippet, and you're done.

Posted by rewinn, Mercer Island on September 11, 2010:

I use blogspot and added it here: http://rewinn.blogspot.com

(Actually I experimented with a couple of ways, it's just using the "html" gadget.)

Feel free to contact me offline if you want help. This Is True is worth supporting!!!

Posted by Jeni, OR on October 30, 2010:

I just wanted to say thank you for adding the "True-a-Day" for your site. I just started my site and was looking for some really different and interesting content to keep my viewers entertained. This is perfect. Best Wishes to you and thanks again.

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I'm glad you find it useful! -rc

Posted by David in Boulder, CO on November 6, 2010:

I think this is a great idea. By adding something like this to by website, visitors can look forward to getting something new every time they come back. Very cool. Thanks.

Posted by m nemzow on November 15, 2014:

What do I do to embed code into wordpress page?

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If you use the default "Visual" editor, WordPress will try to interpret what's there as characters (e.g., the < character) rather than leave commands there to be executed by visitors' browsers. So you have to use the "Text" editor to insert the code. Another way is to use the "text" widget. -rc

Posted by Tom in Paradise, Utah on February 21, 2016:

I'm in the process of switching my blog over to HTTPS (lots of reasons for that!), but in the process I ran into a unexpected difficulty: your widget is being blocked by most browsers because it will only load with HTTP (not HTTPS as the browser is expecting). I tried changing the URL to HTTPS, but that didn't work either -- it seems your SSL certificate is thisistrue.com and not thisistrue.net. If that's something you can fix, it would be GREAT to be able to continue using the widget on my new site!

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Definitely a good idea, Tom, and done! See update just before the FAQ, above. -rc

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