Blather Logo

Because Lorem Ipsum is so last millennium.

NOTE: Blather is temporarily unavailable while we move it to the cloud.


Blather is a jQuery plugin and service for web designers. Blather replaces the tedium of cut-and-paste operations web designers use to fill a page with Lorem Ipsum placeholder text, and provides dynamically generated, pseudo-random text from a variety of sources the web designer may specify.


Blather FAQ

This is not what I thought Blather was. Take me home.

How do I use Blather?

Are there restrictions on the use of Blather?

At the current time, the Blather text is being generated by a little grid of Intel and G4 Mac minis running Fedora Linux. The computational load is spread over them using Node.js, so even heavy use is unlikely to cause a problem.

Do I need a licence to Blather?

You may use Blather as you see [un]fit. The license for the jQuery plugin will essentially be GPL2+. Look around you. The world is filled with blather. Now, cyberspace can be filled with Blather.

I would like to see my (company's) docs in the Blather-base. Can I send them to you?

You may, although please do not send anything confidential. Just send them to me at georgeflanagin dot com. If you would like to host your own copy of the Blather engine, you may write me about that, too.

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Product History

Why not Lorem Ipsum?

For many testing purposes, Lorem Ipsum is of limited use; after all, how many web pages are written in Latin, and how many native Latin speakers are left alive? Each language has a different distribution of characters, different rules for hyphenation, differing average sentence lengths, and different average word lengths. If you are trying to determine if text will flow correctly, you should use your own language.

I discovered two critical cases while working at HP Labs: Finnish, with its very long words and frequent double letters, and corporate jargon documents filled with TLAs. Blather solves these problems nicely because it reproduces the statistical properties of your input.

How did this come to be?

In 2003, I was teaching C++ at VCU, and George W. Bush was President. You may recall that he often had interesting things to say, and he sometimes said them in an interesting way. The term for the neologism resulting from his facility with language is commonly called a malapropism, although if Mr. Bush had been aware of the correct term, he likely would have called it something else, perhaps a Malaysian Tropism. During this period I needed quite a bit of test text in English, so I wrote Blather to see if I could come close to generating random rhetoric of my own. This program was called Ishtar because it was a travesty generator, and Ishtar was a travesty.

Then came 2011. I got interested in hadoop, Node.js, and V8 just before Scott Lewis suggested the idea of running Ishtar via a service. Daemons are something I know a bit about, the rest was easy, and I got to learn-by-example on hadoop and Node.js.

I queried my friends for a better name than Ishtar, and David Janszen suggested Blather.

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Blather, the demo.

IMPORTANT: As of 10 July 2012, I'm making some changes. So no demo until I do so. I have been inspired by the charge that Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts wrote both the for and against sections of the recent ruling in the Affordable Care Act. I am trying to determine by statistical methods if it is true. Much of the code is related to Lexímeter, so I'm cranking on it.

The following is a live use of the production Blather code.

  1. Choose source material for the text from the drop down menu.
  2. Choose number of characters. The default is 2000. That's about enough to fill a regular column of text on a web page.
  3. Choose depth. The default is 6. (For the statistically inclined, this is the degree to which the n-tuples of bytes in the source are distributed in the same proportions in the output. For more information, see the documentation.)
  4. Press the button that says "Blatherize me now!" (It is the only button on the page; it is overly large; the button is orange to help you find it.)
  5. You will see your jQuery request formatted in the smaller/first text area, and your completely customized, pseudo-random, n-distributed blather in the larger/second region. If you are not using IE 6, it will overflow gracefully, and you may copy the fresh blather to your résumé directly if you want to get a feel for how it will look.
  6. Note: If you get an error, it is probably because I am actively working on it at the moment. Try again in a few days.
What kind of blather would you like?
How much blather can you handle? chars.
How deep should we blather? Bigger numbers, more realism.

 <<== This is the overly large orange button.

The invocation:

Your jQuery request for Blather will appear here.


Your customized Blather will appear here.

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Why Bother with Blather?

When your web page needs to say something, artificial intelligence is better than none at all, right?

If you would like to discuss your own customized Blather content (i.e., Blather, the corporate edition), please contact me at georgeflanagin.com

The Merits of Blather

Blather generated text can serve as a worthwhile substitute for that Lorem Ipsum nonsense. If you are going to have nonsense, you may as well have statistically relevant nonsense. Using Blather, you can tune the output text to have any statistical properties you like, as long as you like properties 4 through 8.