"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Monday, August 21, 2006

The New Blogger Beta

This post is all about my experience with the new blogger beta (that this blog is built in). I list some of the pros and new features, then I list the cons and things that I am having trouble with, then some hacks to help some other people and finally some Firefox extensions that can help bloggers work with the new blogger beta.

The Good

Very user friendly for newbies to the whole bogging thing. I was able to get a blog up and running in a few hours and that was with some custom javascript and flash animation that most new bogglers would not be using.

The dynamic rearrangement of contest is superb. If you want to move your profile up or down (for example) then it is just a drag-and-drop operation.

The color coding and layouts are also well done. Of course, right now you are limited to the templates that are provided in blogger but again, for most new bloggers that will not be an issue.

The Bad

Feeds! My god the Feeds! I have had nothing but grief trying to get an rss feed to work from this page. You still can’t auto-discover it properly (hence the stupid “XML” box to click over to the feed) I was either getting all my posts showing up as being on the same day (the current day) or in some cases showing up in 1969! (This would make me one of the oldest bloggers in history – which was kind of cool!)

After getting feedburner set up I managed to get a /xml.rss to appear with right dates on my site, but my feedburner feed is still wonky! If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix this (I spent all last night on google groups looking for answers) then please, for the love of God, let me know!

The Ugly


Arrrrg. Beta.blogger does not yet allow you to edit the html of your blog directly like you could in the classic.blogger. This is a severe handicap for the new beta and I can only hope it is their top priority fix. This has led to all sorts of hacks and fixes – some of which I am detailing below.

Uploading Images for use in the Page Elements

Without being able to edit the HTML code directly, I needed some workarounds to do what I wanted. I am indebted to this site for showing me how to upload my images so that I could then use them in my different page elements.

Firefox Extensions

Web Developer

This one will be even more useful after beta.blogger lets you directly edit the html. For now it lets you find the url of the pictures you are posting (useful for making test posts to upload pictures see) and for examining the css of the blog.

View Rendered Source

This has helped me track down some of the bugs/features/bugs of the layout and picture rendering aspects of beta.blogger For example, trying to line up all the applets and widgets in the sidebar was wuite the challenge!


Of course. The color templates and choosers in beta.blogger are pretty good, but there was a few times when I had to go in and find the exact hex code for a color to synchronize it correctly.


Standard plugin for all web page development.

Measure It

This gives you an on-screen ruler. Great Extension! Helped a lot with figuring out how bit to make some of my images.

HTML Valuator

Helped me catch a couple of quirks that I would have overlooked otherwise.