31 January 2007

New Blogger transition

New Blogger image

We got the royal summons a few days ago - change over to the New Blogger or you won't be able to log-in again until you do so!

So we did - and it was very painless. The email notification to say that all had been done arrived within 5 minutes.

I've been playing with the new features for a couple of days now, and here are some observations.

I like:
- that my existing template did not get screwed up
- that Publishing and Republishing is a thing of
the past - no more rotating triangles as the cogs whirr and the gears click and then sometimes jam!
- that the blogsite is now faster to load
- when composing posts, image loading is much quicker too
- the labels/categories/tags feature

I don't like:
- that I can't use my chosen html template from Caz with a lot of the new features. I would have to change over to one of the existing Blogger templates that have already been modified to take advantage of features such as label lists/clouds and the Layout page elements editing and composing
- in our profile, it now abbreviates UAE to AE, so I've now erased the <$BlogOwnerLocation$> code from my template and manually entered United Arab Emirates into my location - call me picky!

I wish that:
- the Blogger developers had made the Post Composer window bigger as it's annoyingly small when I use it to upload images into my posts
- images didn't always load at the top of the compose window and would load where the cursor was positioned within the compose window
- the action "New Label" in the "Label Actions" drop down menu would be at the top of the window and not at the bottom, so I don't have to scroll down to the end of my labels list to create a new label

To elaborate more on the template features:

New Blogger templates are written in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code to take advantage of features like Page Elements and Fonts and Colours when editing the template layout.

Just as I had come to terms with basic html adjustments, I am now attempting to learn CSS!

With CSS, coding for elements on the template page is written within "containers" which means there are different contai
ners for page elements like the Blog Post Body, the Blog Owner Profile, the Blog Heading, Categories, Archives etc. This allows for easy editing and customisation of the template in the "Adding and Arrange Page Elements" window under the Templates heading in your Blogger Blog interface.

For basic html-user people like me, it's a little nightmare! For instance, no longer can I use code like
within the CSS containers to create a space between my Post Title and the Post Body - I now have to add "bottom padding" to the Post Title code. I have enough bottom padding of my own without having to add more!

Anyway, it's a challenge, and I am having fun learning new stuff. I've created a test blogsite where I'm playing with new templates.

I'm hankering after a 3-column template because of the desire to add a labels list/cloud, and found a couple of websites that offer 3 column templates - Hoctro's Place and Hackosphere. I've now loaded one of Hoctro's designs and am using it to learn how to change it to my liking.

I'm also happy to read that Caz is also looking at the New Blogger to hopefully design some templates as I really like her styles.

Sites that I'm finding helpful are:
- Hoctro's Place
- Blogger Hacks
- Testing Blogger Beta
- Beta Blogger for Dummies
- Known issues for the New Blogger

If you know of any others, please post them in the Comments section.


Keefieboy said...

Learning CSS! Best of luck to you! Actually once you get used to its idiosyncracies and the differing levels of support for it offered by different browsers, it gives you tons of control over how your pages look. The 3-column layout is a haraminal though.

I've not made the move yet, mostly because of the Community Blog issue, but that's just been moved so I guess I can now.

But what I really really hate about New Blogger is that comments are on a secure server (https:) so you get this bloody annoying alert that says the page contains a mix of secure and non-secure items. Yuck.

nzm said...

Keefie: I don't know how serious I'm going to get about learning too much CSS - certainly not to the point where I'm writing my own code!

I'm also a member of Global Themes blog and it hasn't yet moved to the New Blogger.

It still shows on my Dashboard and I can still post to it, so I've no worries there.

I had real problems logging into some blogs to comment. Once you switch over, you have to use your Google account email address and password to log in to Comment. On a few occasions it would log me into Blogger instead, and lose my comment! Frustrating!

ياسمين حميد said...

I have no Idea what the new Blogger is good for- I won't change until I must

nzm said...

Yasmin: welcome to our blog! I would have been happy to stay on the old blogger platform, but in the end I had no choice - Blogger forced me to change over.

I suppose it's progress!

But the one thing I do enjoy is that it appears to be faster and there is no Publishing or Republishing - it's instantaneous.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I refuse to do what I'm told. I will stay put until I'm pushed over the line. I like the sound of help for dummies.
I also get annoyed with the the security alert when I'm posting comments on blogs that have gone to beta. Is it really so much better?
Anyway nzm good luck with your progress.

Lirun said...

wow - you are soo much more skilled than i am.. ;)

Sharron de Mol said...

here are some very useful links for blogging & CSS... some tutorials, tools, code etc.

Ive left one of my blogs in blogger classic and have transferred another to the new blogger. I also am greatful for the new easy publishing feature and don't mind the xtra security for comments, as it's really reduced the spammers Ive had. like nzm Ive had some confusion with my old identity and the new google ID - or rather blogger seems confused - I'll wait until that's solved until I move entirely. there were some bloggers who apaarantly lost all their old blog postings after moving, but that was a while ago...still: be sure to backup your entire blog before your transition!

A world of Symphony said...

One of these days I'm migrating my Blog to Lifelogger because off-late Blogger.com is acting up. Maybe they've got too many accounts that're not active, which makes maintenance difficult but whatever, it really pisses me off :)

Shout to Blogger; Guys, do a clean-up so that active bloggers can breath in peace :)

BuJ said...

i bypassed blogger.. i am still on the old one..
i moved back to my old pc and it gave me the ultimatum of choosing to go to the beta.. well well..

i went to a post with comments.. tried to delete the comment then hit back to blogger.com then went back to my dashboard without having to switch!!!


as long as i stay with my computer i will stay on the old blogger.. can't be bothered to switch coz like they say.. a bird in your hand is better than two birds on the tree :)

BuJ said...

PS: the main problem i have with the new blogger is that u have to log in using ur google account.. what happened to anonymous? what'll happen to my nick? it's all fudged..

i will duck and dive until the last byte!

BuJ said...

nzm.. i'm impressed .. can u read arabic? how did u translate yasmin's name?

nzm said...

Wendy: thanks. I can't see much reason to swap over, but was forced to do so. The main advantages for me was that it's now faster to publish and load images.

Lirun: nah! I stumbling along in the dark with the occasional flash of understanding!

Sha: thanks for the CSS links. I didn't mention any of those, although I have been visiting some, of course!

Louis: One of these days I'm going to start investigating other blog platforms too.

Buj: stay ducking and diving! No, unfortunately I can't read Arabic. I went onto Yasmin's site and found her name there in English!

Qatar Cat said...

Ouch it hasn't asked me to change over yet, and my template is not Blogger's template, so now I am afraid when I am forced to move - I'll lose my pretty template!!



BuJ said...

NZM this lazy sunday morning i wasn't bothered so i changed! I know.. didn't put up a proper fight.. but i won't have time during the week to investigate it. I read all the help file stuffs and seemed good.. plus i like the tags bit!

qatar cat.. don't think u will lose your template.. i moved my template to a non-blogger template last week and i move to the new blogger today and it seems fine..

if you want to customise your template then you might lose stuff, but just edit it after u change to the new blogger.. seems to work fine with me.

anyway give me 2 days and come back here, i might have changed my mind!