Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beta Blogger

Recently, I decided to make the switch from Blogger to Beta Blogger. The lure was the ability to add labels to posts. This is a feature that I've been mimicking by having a drop-down menu in my sidebar called "Series Archive" but this has been far from ideal.

Unfortunately, once you've made the move to Beta Blogger, there's no going back.

To be able to use the labelling feature of Beta Blogger, one has to "customize" one's template (i.e. choose a template, then re-customize it to resemble what you had before). I don't mind doing this, but the problem was that the line height of the text varied between paragraphs for no reason that I could make out.

Problem with Beta Blogger Screenshot
Here's what Blogger have to say about it:

There are general formatting issues in various places throughout the application. These are mostly just cosmetic and nothing to worry about in terms of functionality. — latest update on Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Blogger: Known Issues

I gather from this that "just cosmetic" issues are not top priority.

I resorted to reverting to my old template. (Although one can't revert to the tried and tested alpha version of blogger, one can upload the old template). Unfortunately, though, all of the old template's functionality is not available in Beta Blogger. The "Previous Posts" section only lists the twelve most recent posts. Previously, one could click on a post and the twelve "Previous Posts" listed would be relative to the post being viewed. The search box also fails to find older posts.

Now that I'm using my old template on Beta Blogger, the only way to access older posts is via the "Main Archive" drop-down menu. This only shows posts by month, without the option of viewing individual entries.

Beta Blogger does have better archiving options -- one can have a list, a drop-down box or a hierarchical structure. Although nice, it is not very customizable, so they need to work on that a bit more too.

So, if you're wondering what's wrong with my blog at the moment, it's teething problems with Beta Blogger. Hopefully, the problems will get ironed out eventually. I apologise for this and if I could go back, I would.

By the way, if you have any input into my Beta Blogger problems (i.e. if there's something I can do to sort out the text line spacing without having to wait for Blogger's support team), please let me know.

October 10.2006

I'm outlining the problem with the line spacing and possible solutions for posterity, in the hope that it may be of help to anyone else who has had this same problem. This problem and solution is specific to the various incarnations of the Minima template only.

The problem is that when one types one's post into blogger, carriage returns are interpreted as breaks, not paragraphs. This means that the entire post is treated by the browser as one big paragraph. My problem was that I had been using div tags to float images with their captions underneath. This use of div tags within the mega-paragraph that forms the post would break the mega-paragraph and the styles would no longer apply.

The style for the post body is defined by a div tag with "class='post-body'". The line spacing for the mega-paragraph is defined in the style sheet by "'post p'".

Solutions are:
  1. Go to each div tag and change it to "span" (very time-consuming and boring)
  2. Encase each paragraph in p tags (also very time-consuming and boring)
  3. Make the "post p" style apply to "post-body" by changing the style sheet line ".post p {" to read something like ".post-body, .post p {".
There are also lots of things with beta blogger templates that do my head in, so I'll have to have a bit of a think before I decide to ditch my "classic" template.


Ren said...

When you say you can add labels to post, is that when you can categorize each post so that if someone wants to look at posts related to a particular category/subject, they can click on that category?
Do I make any sense? I have no knowledge of this blogging lingo.
The reason I am asking is that I have been considering starting a blog, but I want to use the categories feature I see on some other blogs.
Maybe you can enlighten me :-)

Viola said...

Yes, that is exactly what I mean. I can assign each post to a category. The categories are listed as links in the blog's sidebar (or wherever). When someone clicks on a category, all the blog posts in that category are shown.

Ren said...

Thanks! I'll have to look into it. I also need to come up with a catchy name...

Angel said...

I have beta blogger. Can you please explain to me HOW TO ASSIGN the category? Once you label posts, where do you go to assign the category to show on your sidebar?

Viola said...


I'm not sure, but I took a look at your blogs and it seems like you've been trying to display tags in your blogs. I'm afraid that this is something that I know very little about.

Nevertheless, I had a look at the tutorial that you've been following and it seems that it was written for the old blogger, not beta blogger (take a look at the update to the tutorials.

You've already given your posts labels, so to add them to your sidebar, just go to the "Template" tab on your blogger interface and select "Page Elements". Click on "Add a Page Element", then "Labels>>>Add to Blog".

Hope this helps.

Viola said...

Angel -- you might also want to check out d2b in Beta - It's Alive!

Lucy said...

A big big thank you for what you said about the line spacing. I found this post after Google searching in a desperate attempt to sort the line spacing out. I've just tried putting the paragraphs of my latest post into p tags and it's worked fine. Bit of a pain but looks so much better. Cheers!