Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Guess What?

The Real Blogger Status Beta joined the ranks of the unhappy Bloggers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Lost Blog

Converted one or more blogs, and was using them happily as Beta. Then tried to convert others, and previously converted ones have disappeared.
Only solution, per Blogger Employee, is to contact Blogger Support, and wait.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blogger Beta Design Deficiencies

This list will very likely get very long, very quickly.
  • The title bar, which has always been clickable to return the viewer from article view to main page view, is not provided that way. The title can be made clickable, but not totally cleanly so.
Watch this space.

Blogger Beta Problems

This is where it starts. I know this list will get longer soon.
  • Lost Blog Some blogs convert successfully, others disappear from existence.
  • Template Corruption aka "We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.".
Watch this list.

Restore The Main Page Link To The Title

For every seasoned Blogger, whenever you setup a Blogger Alpha blog, and go to view an individual article, selecting the title of the blog would always get you back to main page view. That is one of the most standard features in any Alpha blog.

Not so with Beta. And since you can't edit the template, you're stuck. Right?

Wrong. You can't edit the template itself - raw template access isn't provided. But you can edit the individual page elements.

Go into Template - Page Elements, and edit the element with the title in it. In my case, I find
The Real Blogger Status Beta
and I select the Edit link. I see the Configure Header window. It has the Blog Title
The Real Blogger Status Beta
I add a hypertext link, and make it
<a href="">The Real Blogger Status Beta</a>
select SAVE CHANGES then SAVE. When I select View Blog, I see my blog now as before, but with one difference - clicking on the title now takes me to main page view.

Having said that, I note several exceptions.
  • The title is now clickable from every view (no more distinction between main page view, article view, and archive view).
  • The length of the title is critical. See the above setup for my title? Try adding just 2 more characters. One more may add, but a second won't. You won't get an error - unless the necessary character is a control character that affects the syntax, as mine was. Here's a hint: the title of this blog used to be
    The Real Blogger Status - Beta
    Do you see the difference?
  • Look at the entry in the dashboard. Not too neat now. I can live with that, though, to have a clickable title. Can you?
All in all, it's a workaround. But, until BS gives us raw template access, or puts back what should be there in the first place, we're stuck. But this still beats Blogger Alpha.

Know Your Visitors - Beta

This is dead easy.

Adding the code is simple. Go to Template - Page Elements. You can add a separate page element with the code for each meter, or you can arrange the meters (and other miscellaneous objects) side by side in one page element. Look at the bottom of the page on The Real Blogger Status - Beta2, and on Googolians - The Blog. See the SiteMeter and StatCounter objects?

Well, a single object, say SiteMeter, could be dropped right into a new HTML / JavaScript page element, as is, right from SiteMeter. OK, I blanked out a few personal details, with "********", in my example.

<!-- Site Meter --><script src="********" type="text/javascript"></script><noscript><a href="********" target="_top"><img border="0" alt="Site Meter" src="********"/></a></noscript><!-- Copyright (c)2006 Site Meter -->
But, if I want to get fancy, I use nested tables, and put the SiteMeter and StatCounter code side by side.

<table border="0" align="center"><tr><td><table><tr><td width="33%"><!-- Site Meter --><script src="********" type="text/javascript"></script><noscript><a href="********" target="_top"><img border="0" alt="Site Meter" src="********"/></a></noscript><!-- Copyright (c)2006 Site Meter --></td><td width="33%"><script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">var sc_project=********; var sc_invisible=0; var sc_partition=16; var sc_security="********"; </script><script language="javascript" src="" type="text/javascript"></script><noscript><a href="" target="_blank"><img border="0" alt="website hit counter" src="********&java=0&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;security=********&invisible=0"/></a> </noscript><!-- End of StatCounter Code --><br/><a href="********&guest=1">View My Stats</a></td></tr></table></td></tr></table>
Here's how to make a 3 object page element, in the footer, like the one in Googolians - The Blog.
<table border="0" align="center"><tr><td width="90%"><table><tr>
<td width="33%">(whatever you want, in the left cell)</td>
<td width="33%">(whatever you want, in the centre cell)</td>
<td width="33%">(whatever you want, in the right cell)</td>
I know there are other possibilities. Try them. Have fun.

I Want To Try It

My friend Dirty Butter says, in one of her comments
Where can we get a copy to download? I want to play, too!!
Well, you don't download anything. But here's what I did.
  • Setup a Google account - I had my GMail account already. We'll discuss how to get a GMail account separately.
  • Go to Blogger Beta. Sign in with your Google account.
  • Create a new blog. Pick any template, and post a stub.
  • View the blog, copy the URL, and make links to your new blog from your other blogs, forums, wherever. The more inlinks the better.
  • Play with templates, the layout editor (essentially a GUI replacement for the template editor), and have fun. But since you have inlinks, and you know folks are now checking it out (since YOU are leading the way for them), be sure and put content in there that will keep them coming back. Make your visitors happy that they found your blog! Lead the way!!

Next, consider carefully what you want to really do.
  • In my case, I decided to setup a new blog, as The Real Blogger Status - Beta, and keep The Real Blogger Status - Alpha, until it can be safely migrated to a Beta template.
  • I setup static links between each blog and the other, in the sidebar.
  • I setup feeds, to provide a dynamic list of most recent articles, and put the feeds from each into the other.
  • Blogger Alpha can't handle feeds easily, so I created a feed, using Feed Digest, from The Real Blogger Status - Beta, and installed that into the footer in The Real Blogger Status - Alpha.
  • Blogger Beta will let you define a page element and source it directly from a feed. I simply added the native feed from The Real Blogger Status - Alpha, into the sidebar in this case.
Now you can read both my Alpha and Beta blogs, and see a digest of the latest content in the other. And I will continue to liberally link posts in each, to other posts.