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Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Like the New Blogger Beta (added to)

The Google company owns Blogger. Many of us out here in cyberspace use this program for our blogs. Blogger is an on-line program for creating and managing blog posts. One of its advantages is that it is free. Another is that, being on-line, you can use any computer with web access to post. Recently, one of the bloggers I subscribe to said that she was going to change her blog. Soon after, Blogger asked me, when I logged in to the site, if I would like to switch to the new version. Thinking that Grasshopper had done so, and that if it was good enough for her, it would be for me, I said yes. (Actually, she hasn't changed over yet. Oh, well.)

So what does the new version do for me (and for you, the hypothetical reader)?

Several things I have noticed. Probably some I haven't. This page gives a summary of the new features.

1) I can now enter labels for each post. This one has only one such, namely "Blogging." What's a label? A label is a category. If you, the reader, want to, you can click on the label, and you should quickly see the other posts I have marked with the same label. (Other blogging software has similar capability, and has for a long time.) That's great!

There's a downside -- I have posted roughly 500 posts, and there isn't any easy way to go back and label all the previous ones. I've labelled some of them, but not nearly all. Sorry.

2) There's a lot less need to fiddle with the internal workings of the HTML. There's a page for me where I can just drag and drop to establish the locations of various common features of a blog. I can change fonts and colors easily. In fact, I just changed my default text font to Verdana, which, I believe, is more legible on screen than Arial. Sorry, both of you faithful readers, if all these changes are making you dizzy!

3) I used to rely on another web site to generate my blogroll/list of the subscriptions I want to mention. I no longer have to do that. Blogger does that for me, and does it more easily. I can also name it anything I want to.

4) I can now choose whether to edit drafts (not yet posted musings), posts, or a mixture of the two, and there is more flexibility in getting to earlier posts. In fact, as I recall, I was not able to access more than the last 300 posts at all, in the previous version.

5) The archives now work better. If you really want to know what I was posting about in, say, July 2005, click on the little triangle beside the 2005. The months of 2005 drop down. Then click on the little triangle beside the July. There you are.

6) I can see (you can't) in my list of published posts, how many comments (if any) each received. This is helpful in, for example, deciding whether to delete a post entirely.

7) Added August 31, 2006: I have finally discovered that I no longer have to dig into the past to find the URLs of my old posts, when I want to link to them. The Edit Posts option includes a View, as well as Edit. If I View the post, the URL appears up there in a status bar (or something like that).

It's great! Now if I could just figure out what I should post, and when to write it . . .

Thanks for reading! Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Julana said...

Wow, that sounds great. I never wanted to pay $80/yr to those features.
Wonder if I can get into that.

Julana said...

Haven't you changed your template? Your photo used to be higher?

Tap said...

Here's a bug report: Clicking the down arrow next to the archive months doesn't display a list of past posts for any months before June, at least for me in Firefox. (In Konqueror it seems to load a different page which does work, instead of just expanding the list using JavaScript.)

It would be nice if there was a way to access a table of contents for a month or a year or the whole blog, or expand all the archive dropdowns at once. Possibly I should be addressing this to the Blogger staff instead of you, though.

It does look like a definite improvement. Does it let you include a real list of recent comments on the front page, as seen in some other blogging software? You may have seen the list on my blog but it's a hack with some limitations that I care about (doesn't list comments for posts that aren't on the front page, doesn't sort them newest-to-oldest or oldest-to-newest.)

Martin LaBar said...

You can get Blogger, Julana, but you would probably lose all your previous posts, unless you manually copy them into Blogger. You could sign up for a Blogger account and try various things, for free. I should have said that free also means no e-mail spam. I am not aware of any unwanted e-mail I've ever gotten because of being a Blogger member.

Yes, I changed my template in the process, and that was easy, also. As I understand it, I can also easily modify, say, the color of a template, but I haven't done that yet.

Hmm, Tap. That's interesting. I use Firefox, too, and I'm seeing (I think -- I haven't tried them all) all previous months.

You can access the entire table of contents by opening up each month, and not closing (by clicking on the little triangle to close the drop-down list) any of the ones already opened, or at least I can.

I haven't been able to show the comments on the main post page. If there's a way, I haven't found it yet. You are right, that would be helpful.

Thanks to both of you! Now that my two regular readers have identified themselves, I'm accepting comments from irregular readers.