xe.com   Free Customization of the XE Currency Converter ®
  XE.com Home | Currency Services Site Map
  Espa´┐Żol | Français | Svenska

Advertisement - To advertise on this page, click here.

  Free Customization or Full Customization?
  Free Customization: What You Get
  Important Notes about the Customization Process
  Free Terms of Use
  Fast-Track Instructions for Customizing the Converter

    And now, the good news. As a reward for wading through all that legalese above -- believe me, we don't like it any more than you do -- you now get to "fast track" the customization of the converter.

    By popular demand, we have simplified the process of customizing the converter. We have prepared a standardized block of HTML code that you can simply drop into any of your pages. No HTML coding is necessary! Just follow the simple steps below.

    Fast Track Customization Steps
    Following these instructions, you can have a working customized converter on your site in less than ten minutes.

    1. Download the quick-start HTML code.

    2. Click on the link below and download the file to your hard drive.

      Click here to see the raw HTML. Click here to see what it looks like in your browser.

    3. Decompress the downloaded file.

    4. Decompress the downloaded file using standard methods. The result will be a file called:
      • samp-ucc.htm

    5. Insert the quick-start HTML code into your page.

    6. Cut and paste the contents of samp-ucc.htm into your Web page.

    7. Upload the page to your Website.

    8. Update your Website with the new page using your normal update method.

    That's all there is to it! You will now have a fully-functional version of the converter in your Web page.

    Most Webmasters stop here. However, advanced Webmasters may want to take advantage of some of the other features possible through customization. If you are one, then read on!

  OPTIONAL: Advanced Instructions for Customizing the Converter

    This section is intended for Webmasters with an advanced understanding of HTML who wish to further customize the XE Currency Converter ® beyond the level explained above.

    Proceed at your own risk! Although these instructions should be pretty straightforward to people familiar with HTML and forms, we cannot possibly support a free service whose primary components are off of our server and outside of our control. In short, if you need assistance, please do not contact our staff. This customization process has been tested and works perfectly, so any problems you experience are at your end. Again, we regret that we cannot support your development efforts.

    For information on HTML programming, use the Internet as a resource. You may wish to start with the following resources:

    • Creating Net Sites: Netscape's HTML author assistance resource page -- a good place to start finding information about Web page authoring.

    • Fill-Out Form Support: A clear, straightforward guide to writing HTML forms like the one used to pass currency input to the converter program. If you're having trouble getting your form to work with the converter, read this document carefully.

  1. Changing The Appearance of your Input Page
  2. Provided you do not affect form variables in the downloadable code, you are free to modify the "look and feel" of your input page in any way you desire. Or course, such modifications must be pursuant to the Terms of Use above, but other than that you're free to do whatever you want.

  3. Changing the Appearance of the Output Page
  4. We have made it possible to encode, on your converter's front page, special variables containing HTML output code that will appear on the results page. You don't have to customize the output page of the converter, but you can.

    If you don't customize the output page, we will just serve up our standard output page and it will look almost identical to what the user would see if they had used the main XE Currency Converter page. If you do customize the output page, then the results page will be stripped down to the banner ad and the table containing the currency results, which will be inserted between a header and a footer that you specify. This will give you the appearance to make the output page match the look and feel of your own site.

    This is accomplished by adding two hidden variables to your page that will control the output page's "header" (everything above the currency conversion results) and "footer" (everything below). These tags should contain all of the HTML you would normally use to build a web page.

    For example, the header variable should contain the <HTML>, <HEAD>, and <BODY> tags. In addition, the footer variable should contain the </BODY> and <HTML> tags. Stated another way, the header and footer tags taken together should comprise a valid HTML document.

    The use of the header and footer variables is detailed below.

    To reiterate, the only things on the output page that you will not be able to control are (a) the appearance of the table containing the conversion results and (b) the appearance of a banner advertisement. (How else could we give you all this wonderful functionality for free?)

    Further customization of the results page, including removal of the ad, is available through full customization. Click here for more information.

    How to use the Header and Footer Variables

    Start from the Fast-Track instructions above. Once you have the quick-start code incorporated into your page, look for the line that says:

      <FORM METHOD=POST ACTION="http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert.cgi">

    Beneath this line, cut and paste the following two lines:

      <INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="Header" VALUE="    ">

      <INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="Footer" VALUE="    ">

    Here's what you need to know to use these variables properly:

    1. The variable names "Header" and "Footer" are case-sensitive. Don't change this or the customization won't work.

    2. The blank spaces between the quotes in the VALUE="    "> tags are where you put your header and footer HTML code. However, make sure you read the next step before you start coding.

    3. Use square brackets instead of angle brackets inside the header and footer HTML code. The converter will automatically convert square brackets to angle brackets when generating output. If you don't replace the angle brackets in your form, you will your disrupt the hidden variable tags! (Right?)

    4. To intentionally produce square brackets in the output page (i.e. to override the program's square-bracket-to-angle-bracket translation), preface the bracket character with a backslash (e.g. \[ yields [ ).

    5. Don't use the " and ' characters in your HTML string. (They can cause problems as well.) For double quotes, use the sequence \DQ and use \SQ for the single quote character. The converter will automatically convert these codes to double and single quotes on the output page.

    6. Don't forget that if you're referencing graphics on the results page, you'll have to use their full Internet URL path -- remember, the results page is generated by our server, but your graphics don't live here. In fact, you may want to consider using full absolute URL references in all your converter-related pages, just so you don't forget.

    7. Important: If you customize the header variable, take note. To incorporate multi-language characters, our output page is served up in UTF-8 format, which means that your header needs to contain the correct CHARSET reference. At the minimum, be sure your Header variable contains:
      • [html][head][META HTTP-EQUIV=\DQContent-Type\DQ CONTENT=\DQtext/html; CHARSET=utf-8\DQ][/head][body]

    That's all you need to know to make the output page look just about any way you want it to.

  5. Changing the Order of Currencies in your Lists
  6. You are free to reorder the currencies in the lists on your converter. However, you must move entire currency lines, including the <OPTION> and </OPTION> tags.

  7. Preselecting Variables in Your Converter
  8. You may want to set different default value for your converter. This is very easy to do.

    Presetting the "Amount" field: Just change the number in the VALUE="" portion of the INPUT tag. For example, to start with a default value of 50 currency units, your "Amount" input tag would look like this (the green text indicates where you preset the desired amount):

      <INPUT TYPE="text" NAME="Amount" VALUE="50" SIZE=10>

    Presetting the "To" or "From" currency field: Just move the word SELECTED to the currency of your choice. (Hint: It helps if this currency is near enough to the top of the list to be displayed in the selection window; otherwise, the user might not be aware that a selection has been preset.) The resulting preselected currency will look like this:

      <OPTION SELECTED>CHF Switzerland Francs</OPTION>

    Currencies that are not preselected (i.e. all the others in the list) will look like this:

      <OPTION>NLG Netherlands Guilders</OPTION>

    Remember, you can only identify one currency per list as SELCTED: one in the "From" SELECT list, and one in the "To" SELECT list.

  9. Hard-Coding Variables in Your Converter
  10. Sometimes it's not enough to preselect a currency: sometimes you want to give the user no choice in the matter and force the use of a certain currency. This is done by removing the selection areas and replacing them with hidden variables. Remember, for each variable that you "hard code" with a hidden variable, you must remove the corresponding input section.

    Place your hidden variables immediately after the following line in your front end:

      <FORM METHOD=POST ACTION="http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert.cgi">

    Now, here are some examples of how to create "hard coded" hidden variables:

    Hard coding the "Amount" variable: Here is an example of how to hard code the "Amount" variable to be exactly 100.00:

      <INPUT TYPE="HIDDEN" NAME="Amount" VALUE="100.00">

    Hard coding the "From" currency variable: Here is an example of how to hard code the "From" variable to be U.S. Dollars (USD):


    Hard coding the "From" currency variable: Here is an example of how to hard code the "To" variable to be Euro (EUR):


  11. Adding Currencies to Your Converter
  12. Your version of the service is not limited to the "default" set of currencies that we provide. You are free to add as many other currencies as you wish. (Our services do support every world currency unit!) You can obtain extra desired currencies by "cutting and pasting" from the "Full" XE Currency Converter.

    For example, let's say you wanted to add the Guatemala Quetzal to your converter, in your "From" currency list. All you would have to do is add the following line in the desired spot between the <SELECT NAME="From"> tag, and the corresponding </SELECT> tag:

      <OPTION>GTQ Guatemala Quetzal</OPTION>

    You would probably want to add a similar entry in the "To" currency list, so that people could perform conversions either way.

    However, if you are adding more than a few extra currencies, it might be easier just to customize the full version instead. (Instructions currently under development.)

    Please keep in mind that we have two versions of the converter, "regular" and "full", for a good reason. Most people never use any more than the top 70 currencies in the regular converter -- in fact, the vast majority (85%) use just the top 10 currencies! The more currencies you have, the harder it is for people to find their desired currency, and the longer it takes the page to load. You are of course free to list as many currencies as you want, but we recommend that -- for the sake of your users -- you carefully consider the list of currencies you will need. Sometimes, as they say, less is more. You are also free to remove currencies from your converter, as outlined below.

  13. Removing Currencies from Your Converter
  14. Just as you are free to add currencies to your converter, you are free to remove currencies from either the "To" and "From" fields of your converter. More often than not, this is actually a very good thing to do.

    Why would you want to remove currencies? As we have already mentioned, 85% of the people using our services are served by the top 10 currencies alone! Every currency you add to this list increases the time it takes for a user to find their currency. You should try to tailor the currencies you support to the actual needs of your users. While "listing them all" may seem like a good idea, your users may not agree.

    In fact, there are circumstances where you might want to remove all currencies except for one, as outlined below.

  15. Setting the Time Zone of Your Converter
  16. By default, your converter will display date and time information in Universal Coordinated Time ("UTC"), also known as Greenwich Mean Time ("GMT"); or Zulu Time ("Zulu"). All of the these refer to the same thing: the time of day at the "prime meridian", which is 0°rees; longitude. UTC is widely used as a reference timezone.

    However, if you suspect that your converter will be used primarily by people in a specific time zone, then you can set the converter to display any date and time information in that timezone. This is done by passing a hidden variable to the converter. For example, let's say you lived in Toronto, Canada and wanted to set the timezone for your converter appropriately. You would include the following code in you FORM:


    Both the variable name "timezone" and the timezone value itself are case-sensitive. "EST5EDT" is the time zone for New York City and much of the eastern United States. For other locations, replace this code with the appropriate timezone. The following is a list of time zone codes than can be passed to the converter. Codes with both "ST" and "DT" suffixes, such as the "EST5EDT" in the above example, will automatically respect daylight savings time in your area.


  17. Other Requirements
  18. While we cannot support development of free customizations, we can provide modifications to the standard service for a fee. For more information, please see our Full Customization page.

  TOP Copyright © 2004 XE.com | Terms of Use