Friday, March 18, 2011

Welcome to the Blunderdome

Blog migrated? Yes! YAY!!!!!

Okay, here's the deal:

My blog is "officially" migrated to Blogger. This was a financial decision as well as an ease of use decision. Now I don't have to waste time on CMS updates and double-checking plug-ins (then searching out new plug-ins when my favorites have depreciated), and I don't have to pay for server space or worry that this site would be toast if, god forbid, I ever post anything that gets really popular.

I've got the favicon sorted. I've got AND working. Google, of course, doesn't seem to be aware of the change yet so Google searches of my site bring up dead links (Blogger uses a different url creation scheme than my Wordpress install did).

My feeds are being weird. My old feed link that shouldn't work does work, and my new feed link that should work, doesn't. I think. I'll get it sorted out eventually.

Images in older posts are broken now, because I'm stupid. I can probably fix them, but will I? Will I? Doubtful. They are old posts, after all Also some internal links will be broken, for the same reason Google's links don't. Internal structure has changed.

Those things aside, I'm liking Blogger. One benefit I cannot stress enough is the theme editor. I haven't tweaked my theme yet, I'm using one out of the box at the moment, but one problem I had with Wordpress is how boringly deep you had to get into html and css in order to mess with a theme. You'd think they could at least come up with a simple program to design and edit themes, kind of like Blogger has in it's dashboard. I haven't messed with it too much, but you get access to a visual theme editor (somewhat limited but all I'll need) as well as the actual code that you can muck about in and insert hidden tags or whatever. ANYWAY...

There are a few problems I have with Blogger:

  • The lack of the ability to change a post's author. The easiest way to do this is to delete the post and have the right author re-post it (copy and paste the text), but every other multi-user blog I know of has a simple drop-down menu so the author of any given post can be changed. Why one would need to do this: a contributor wants to fire off a post but can't remember their password, or have gotten locked out, or this site is blocked by their business' network. There's a hundred reasons they could lose access to this particular site. They could simply email the post to me (the admin), then I could post it and make sure that they are credited as the author. As it is whatever I post is credited to me and there's no way to change it. Another example--a friend, on a whim, wants to write a post while at my place. He's on my computer, which is probably already logged in, so he forgets to sign me out and sign himself in. He posts the piece, credited to me. See the problem, Blogger? One more example: I want to write a post under a pseudonym, or under a fake character as part of a concept piece. Bit of a chore doing that now--sign up for new email address, add myself, sign out of my account, sign in as fake dude, etc. It's for comedy's sake, damn it!
  • Only 10 static pages (the "About" page, or a contact page, copyright page, or site map are examples of static pages). Not that big of a deal, and I can already see a potential workaround by creating past-dated blog posts (so hopefully they won't show up in feeds) and just treating them like static pages (linked from other posts or static pages). I don't yet have a need for more than 10 static pages, but I soon might, and 10 seems like an arbitrary and low limit. What are they trying to prevent from happening?
  • No ability to set the URL for static pages. This is a pretty big one. What if I want to have a page about puppies, and set it up so people can go to to access that page? Makes sense, no? I'm not going to have a page about puppies, but you get the gist.
  • No Sub-Pages. This one's not a big deal, especially with a limit of 10 static pages, but there's no ability to have sub-pages. I mean, you can see links to my pages under the header. Just "Home" and "About" at this particular moment. What if I wanted 2 sub pages, "About me" and "About this site?" on a sub-menu that popped up when you roll the mouse over "About"? Once again, I don't want to do that, but there are things I'd like that functionality for. I don't even care about a proper hierarchy like Wordpress has, just the ability to organize multiple pages under one menu item (to save horizontal space).
  • Tags, but no categories. (except Blogger calls them "labels", not tags) Tags are metadata for reasons of search engine optimization. They're supposed to list the subjects or point of a particular post. Categories, on the other hand, are an organizational tool that allow you to keep similar posts together. For example, I used to have categories about "Technology" and "Open Source" (and so on). They're generally broader than tags, and if someone likes a few posts I've written about, say, open source software, they can click that category's link and read everything I've written about it. Tags generally work in the same way, you can click on a tag and see all posts with that same tag, but it's not as clean. Not a big deal, but categories would be nice.
  • No rollover text for pictures and stuff. What? Why not? I could have used rollover text to attribute the photo above to it's source, but now I'll have to hide a link at the bottom of this post. Ew. Seriously Blogger, what's the deal with that? Are you afraid of rollover text? Coward! I could do it, but I'm not too keen on learning javascript at the moment. Kind of why I'm not using Wordpress anymore. No time for code.
I think that's it for now. All I can think of anyway. I'm sure as I try to do more I'll find more problems, but I'm pretty easy at the moment. If Blogger keeps improving, with any luck it'll continue to be what I want it to be when I want it.

Till then,


(Thumbs up image from Wikimedia Commons.)
(Just under 1200 words. Learn to shut up, David)

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