Thursday, September 06, 2007

FTP Publishing: OK For Small Blogs, Not So OK For Larger Blogs

Does anybody remember the greatest (one of the greatest) features of New Blogger?
No more spinner of death.
With dynamic HTML, blogs are published as the reader reads them, and in small portions, selectively. When you update your blog - add a post, change the template, etc - all that changes is the source code. The source code is rendered into actual web site pages as the readers read the blog.

Since most readers will be reading the same portion of the blog - the main page - this makes sense. Publish what's needed, as needed. The larger the blog gets, the more that this makes sense. The older posts, that nobody reads but occasionally, publish later.

This requires web servers that can access the blog code, and publish on the fly, which is simple for blogs published on BlogSpot. For blogs published to non-BlogSpot servers, ie by FTP publishing, this won't be so simple. Blogger has to allow for old fashioned static publishing, for blogs published to other web servers.

Which brings back the old Spinner of Death, now repackaged as a simple advisory message
Your publishing is taking longer than expected. To continue waiting for it to finish, click here.
And the larger the blog, the longer the publishing takes, and the more this message is being seen. It's also possible that less servers are being made available to handle FTP publishing, or maybe more blogs are being published by FTP, which means that more sharing of servers is done during FTP publishing. This will make everybody's FTP publishing take longer.

Then too, it's possible that people who publish externally tend to have larger blogs. The older (and larger) blogs may be owned by more experienced bloggers. Publishing externally isn't something done by those with less experience.

Maybe you, the owner of a blog published by FTP, would benefit from watching how the publishing takes place. Short of examining FTP publishing logs on Blogger.Com (right), you'll have to settle for looking at the logs provided by the owner of the server that hosts your blog, if anything is available there.

Or maybe you can simulate the publishing process. When you backup your blog, you're effectively publishing it to your local server. HTTrack, and similar mirroring products, effectively publish your blog locally, though as a client side process.

With your blog published once to your external server, and your readers able to access it there, try republishing it back to BlogSpot, under any URL that's available. Once you have it published back to BlogSpot, try mirroring it, using HTTrack or a similar product.

What you see may make you understand why you see
Your publishing is taking longer than expected. To continue waiting for it to finish, click here.
more often.

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5 comments:

bytehead said...

I ran into that earlier today. I created and then edited a post. Went to publish. Nothing happened. I ended up republishing, which worked. One of the issues I have, is that if you use labels, everytime you publish, you republish every freaking label file. Which is why I'm thinking about killing off all the labels and just letting my Technorati labels do for now. It's not like I can do anything with them anyways at this point.

I don't know what "big" means. If I was running high bandwidth, I'm sure I'd be hitting a real paid account instead of the freebie my friend is giving me. I just checked how old my blog is. Gulp. 4 days away from my 4th anniversary! Wow! I can't believe it's been that long. I've currently got 825 posts during that time period.

I got my domain months before I actually got into blogging. That's probably backwards from most people, they get a free blogspot blog going, then they migrate to their own domain.

At this point, I'm not going anywhere. I'm certainly not ready to go with a google domain.

Chuck said...

Bytehead,

Well, 825 posts isn't small. How many labels in there? Remember, each label for each post means that post gets republished once more. One post with four labels = four copies of that post, one under each label. Four posts with one label = four different posts, published under that label.

Any way that you look at it, a blog of any size that uses labels is going to have a heck of a lot of publishing. And yes, it will involve republishing each label, each time that you publish.

But it's possible that something else is going on.

bytehead said...

Considering that I'm labeling my posts anyway for Technorati, I bit the bullet today and deleted every last one on my Blogger labels. I then deleted the whole stinking labels subdirectory in my blog. I then deleted some zero byte files (a failed attempt to put a picture somewhere) and a rather interesting file that was created by my old commenting software.

I probably should have backed them up. Oh well.

I have to say that I'm not impressed with labels and FTP publishing at this point. Maybe they'll be better down the line. Maye not.

Chuck said...

It's possible that there's a problem that Blogger can fix, but don't hold your breath.

Labels just aren't scalable, with static publishing. When you republish the blog, and you have labels, you republish each post for each label. Add in the network traffic between Blogger and your server, to publish each post over and over, and you have a lot of traffic.

Karl Sultana said...

Me same problem... I have about 175 posts.