Saturday, January 15

On blogger.com

Here's an easy one for the Friday night.

A few people have been asking about blogger.com, I thought that I could briefly cover my experiences here.

Things I like most are the fact that there is no hassle with setting up software on a local server, and that design is a matter of choosing a template. The former has a few drawbacks - I can not have trackbacks as they are not yet supported by blogger.com, and backups are not trivial. I do not care much about either of these. As for design, I can make things look neat, but not attractive and beautiful. Preset templates saved a whole lot of time, although I did spend almost an hour picking one as they are all quite nice.

My absolute worst complaint about blogger.com is that it treats paragraphs in a completely braindead way. There are two modes: either no paragraph breaks are inserted (you have to write <p> and <br> tags yourself), or each line break is replaced with an <br> tag. That means that you can not have normal paragraphs in <p> tags. Even if you leave an empty line, two breaks are inserted and that's it. I decided to stick with the manual markup option. The developers of blogger.com really ought to address this problem, it does not look hard to fix.

I was a bit appalled by customisation of links to other blogs. Let me tell how templates work: you choose one from a list (previews are available) and then you can further fine-tune the HTML source. Well, you have to edit the source to add links, which means that if you decide to change the template, they will be lost. I had hoped for a more generic method - links are just a collection of titles and hyperlinks, how hard can it be to implement a page to deal with them?

Today Marius Gedminas brought my attention to gnome-blog, a small GTK app for posting to blogs, written in Python. It looks a bit unpolished, but seems to be quite functional. And judging from the code it should insert those dreaded <p> tags to form paragraphs. This is my first post through this nice program, I will soon find out if publishing works correctly.

In conclusion, I could recommend blogger.com as a way to publish blogs without hassle. It may not have the latest features, but there should be more than enough for most people.

gnome-blog report: it did handle the paragraph tags correctly (yay!), but the title I entered was put as the first line of the post, and the real title of the post was left empty. Well, since it's Python, such a minor problem should be easy to fix.

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