11/27/2006

Things I Do and Don't Like
About the New Blogger

If you know nothing at all about coding and designing a website, you will probably love the new Blogger template system. You don't have to look at Blogger tags, you can pick a number of nice templates and you can simply click and add in whatever new element you like.
Depending on your level of experience with HTML and CSS, while you may like the new Blogger template format, there are some new features that may be quite frustrating for you. On the one hand, separation of form and content has been done beautifully with widgets. The widgets are defined as divs. All widgets have an id and an assortment of other properties and all widgets must be contained in a section tag. (For more on the specifics of the new Blogger tag names, see their help.) On the other hand, widgets that are of the same type must all look the same. So, take my sidebar for example. Suppose I wanted to change the look of my profile and Technorati boxes, but not my label or blogroll boxes. Too bad! So sad! They are all sidebar widgets. I cannot surround each sidebar widget in a div and restyle that div, because all widgets must be in a section. What I have not figured out yet is if I am limited to the number of sections I can have or not. A possible fix would be to put each and every widget in its own section, give each section a different id and then refer to it as section_id.widget in my CSS. I cannot change the widget type however, and I cannot rename the widget to be widget1 as Blogger uses that for their internal workings.
Also, I cannot do little things like change the look of my arrows in my archive list. The arrow look is not kept in the stylesheet (unless I am blind; I have looked all morning.) That sort of fiddly inconsistency is annoying. (I also need to figure out how to keep my line on the right connected to the bottom part of the page, but that is a problem with my stylesheet and not Blogger's fault.)
The worst and most annoying new feature is that you MUST have a header title. While this may sound like a dumb complaint, imagine you are me with a graphic header that has the name of your blog already in it. Now imagine that no matter what you do, when you put up your new graphic header, Blogger willfully inserts the name of your blog in text over top of your graphic. Please note, you may not leave the header field blank and you may not delete the header. So, as you can see, I ended up taking the name of my blog off my graphic header and worked with Blogger's enforced text instead. Allow me to assure you that the entire ordeal caused me much frustration.
On the upside, Blogger has finally incorporated tags. This is a very useful sorting feature. Despite some of the frustrations caused by the new format, which I am sure I will deal with as I learn how to more effectively use it, I do prefer the new Blogger template style to the old one. I also prefer Blogger's new spell checker.

2 comments:

Danté said...

I'm still waiting to get an invite to the new blogger. They aren't sending me one, to my chagrin.

Ruth said...

You should not need an invite.
When I logged into blogger, there was a link/button instructing me to convert to the new format. Don't you see anything when you log in?

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