Friday, August 03, 2007

A Template For Virginia USA

I've been telling jokes about Virginians, and their need to cling to the past needlessly, for too many years - both here, and in my networking blog.

I used to live in Virginia, so I'm entitled to joke a bit. Some blog owners must think that they're still living there.
How do i add an 'Older Posts' link?
or
How do I get a menu of my Labels in the sidebar?
or
How do I change my fonts and colors without having to edit the template?
The answer for those folks is simple. Move to a Layout (or Designer) template. You can stay with a Classic template, if you wish, but you will find less and less support by the month.

There are lots of places where Layout, Designer, and Dynamic class templates can be improved.

That's where the template experts are right now. Not developing workarounds so you can stay with a Classic template.

Move on - we have already done so.

Fortunately, moving on isn't hard to do. Just plan the move ever so slightly.

Go to the dashboard Template wizard, and select any of the exciting new Designer class templates, that you see beneath the "Live on Blog" (which probably shows you the boring HTML layout that you have, right now).

You might want to wait a while, before you try any of the "Dynamic Views" selections - until you're used to Designer class templates. Other than that suggestion, you now have 27 choices, which will let you start using all of the exciting new accessories, for your "new" blog.

Pick a new template, as similar to what you have (if you wish). Then go to Layout, and start adding ("Add a Page Element") and re positioning page elements.

When you find an essential template feature missing, that can't be added as a standard page element, see if it's written in well defined, standard HTML / JavaScript.

Go back to Template - Edit HTML, select "View Classic Template" at the very bottom of the screen, and find the code for your missing feature, that you added some time ago.

If the "View Classic Template" option isn't available, for your blog, just click on "Edit HTML", and copy the contents of the "Edit HTML" window - and paste into a text file, or maybe a Google Docs document.

If the "View Classic Template" option is available, copy the code needed, return to the Layout wizard, create a new HTML / JavaScript gadget, and paste the copied HTML from the old template.

If your current template contains a lot of custom HTML, upgrade to Designer / Layout and use the HTML in the template body. That's not as difficult as you might think.

If you have a very custom template, and aren't comfortable with finishing the upgrade using a live blog, use a two stage migration strategy. For 99% of you, this won't be necessary. For the remaining 1%, it may be - and using a two stage migration strategy may make it possible for you to make less mistakes, and have a stress free migration. And that's what planning is all about.

And when you move ahead, you can do so with confidence that you'll be able to revert to the Classic template, saved when you moved ahead. And that's what proper fallback planning is all about.

For a more pictorial description of this process, see Roberto's Upgrading your Classic Template to a Layouts Template.

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5 comments:

Rob said...

Hey Chuck, my blog is Classic Blogger-based and hosted on my own space with my own domain name. Can I still make the move over to Layouts? And what (if anything) do I stand to lose in the process?

Chuck said...

Rob,

If you want a Layouts blog, with a non-BlogSpot URL, you'll have to use a Custom Domain.

The one loss in a Custom Domain IMHO is the inability to use both "www.yourcustomdomain.com" and "yourcustomdomain.com".

Just move from FTP to Custom Domain with some preparation.

Here's some general reading:
http://bloggerstatusforrealbeta.blogspot.com/
search/label/Custom%20Domains?
max-results=100

and
http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/
search/label/Custom%20Domains?
max-results=100

Paulina said...

so if I publish to an FTP there is no hope at all of getting that handy "older posts" link? Isn't there something I can write into the template?

Chuck said...

Paulina,

The handy "older posts" link requires dynamic access to the Blogger server, because, at any time, what page you're looking at and how you're looking at it, will affect what the next "older post" will be.

When you publish by FTP, you're copying static pages to the host server. You can't get dynamic pages from distant host servers, so the handy "older posts" link is useless there.

So no, there's nothing that you can write into the template.

"Mua Sultan" said...

Hey Chuck, thank you so much for a great help.

Keep up the good work.