Friday, October 05, 2007

Separate Your Paragraphs

Every week, you see the question
Why do my posts all end up as one long paragraph? I carefully type each paragraph, and put in lots of line breaks. What I get is a mess.


And in most cases, it's a simple problem. On the surface, that is.

Go to Settings - Formatting, and set "Convert line breaks" to "Yes".

But this will have repercussions. A lot of HTML is sensitive to line breaks - putting gratuitous line breaks inside Embed code will cause problems. And other elements, like Tables, will look whacky.

If you compose your posts using "Edit HTML" mode, you'll be creating code. Many bloggers instinctively make their code easier to read, by adding lots of white space separating the paragraphs. Unfortunately, that white space, with "Convert line breaks" set to "Yes", becomes part of the post. Look at this post, for instance.

Blogger is trying to make this better. In New Blogger June / July 2008 (recently released into Production (Orange) Blogger), they are doing several things to improve this problem.
  • Making it more advantageous for us to use "Compose" mode, not "Edit HTML", for composing posts.
  • Making the post editor under "Edit HTML" mode be more sensitive to line breaks in the display.
  • Making the post editor under Compose mode (which is now the default) convert line breaks, selectable per post, in addition to the "Convert Line Breaks" setting for the blog.


But as post editor under NBJJ2008 makes things better, the opportunity to confuse may become worse. If you use "Edit HTML" under New Blogger, you may not have to worry about extra line breaks in the code. What happens if you switch back and forth, between the current post editor, and the newer version? My guess is, if the new post editor doesn't very intelligently (intuitively even) remove all extraneous line breaks, you'll end up with a worse mess.

So choose this setting, and use New Blogger June / July 2008, with care. Know the issues.

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12 comments:

RobertMarkBram said...

Hi,

I have just become aware of this issue as I tried to post some inline Javascript in a post and found out how painful "Convert line breaks" = "Yes" is.

What is yours set to?

I would like to turn this option off, but it is a huge effort to re-format all existing posts!

Chuck said...

Robert,

I enable the setting, on my blogs. And I use "Edit HTML", and instinctively insert line breaks everywhere, to make my HTML "readable".

What you should do, if you're going to use "Edit HTML" is turn the setting off, and enter no hard line breaks. All line breaks should be entered, explicitly, as "<br>". And all paragraphs should be "<p>" ... "</p>".

All HTML should, essentially, be one long line of code, strung out from beginning to end.

But that's what I SHOULD do. LOL. I don't though.

David Blasco said...

Thank you for all your hard work on Blogger. I continue to have the paragraph spacing problem (none, just right, way too much) without much pattern, regardless of how careful I am. Sometimes everything looks great in the preview but then adding a picture creates chaos. I don't see the problem in other people's blogs so much. What am I doing wrong? I am set to "Yes" as advised above, by the way.
www.royalenfields.com is my blog.

Chuck said...

Hi David,

The problem that many folks have is that this setting is a kludge - it doesn't fix the actual problem, which is people using the Enter key to format their posts, rather than "<p> ... </p>" etc. Then, we move in and out of Compose / "Edit HTML" modes, and in and out of Draft Blogger too. This setting will have a different effect in each of the 4 modes, and moving between the 4 will have other effects.
1) Draft Compose mode.
2) Draft "Edit HTML" mode.
3) Production Compose mode.
4) Production "Edit HTML" mode.

Sarah said...

I have the same problem. If I'm just writing a post with no pictures, I can write separate paragraphs just fine. If I add a picture, it runs my paragraphs together. It is really frustrating. I know how I tend to skip posts that are one long paragraph because I find them too difficult to read and I don't want my blog looking like that.

I know very little about HTML, so it's not very user friendly if I were to go into that mode and have to add some code.

nata_says_so said...

I'm having this problem, but I don't write it in edit html, I write it in 'compose', but everytime the new post or edit post pages open a post it automatically opens in 'edit html' rather than compose. So I get all the annoyingness without doing anything to deserve it. I'm considering packing my blog bags and walking out on blogger before I accidentally smash the computer screen into a million pieces. It's just too infuriating.

Chuck said...

Nata,

When you publish a post, presumably just before you close the post editor, are you in Compose, or "Edit HTML" mode?

nachista said...

I use "Compose" for most of my composing and editing. I've been using blogger for a couple years and it has always worked fine.

But tonight I just ran into this glitch that no matter how many hard returns I try to put in to space out my paragraphs the posts ends up being one enormous run on paragraph.

Another friend of mine on Blogger had the exact same thing happen to her today. Neither of use changed any of our settings or did anything differently than we usually do.

Mine is set to "convert line breakts"

nachista said...

Should I change my Convert Line Breaks to "No"? Or should I just leave it? I am not technical in the least and need an idiot's guide to how to fix this problem.

Jeffrey Aw said...

Thank you so much!

billierosie said...

I have got around it for my new post this week -- I revert to the old blogger interface. Publish it, then click "Upgrade to new blogger interface". I don't know why it works, but it does. I hope blooger will fix this soon.

style is....... said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have read other posts for this problem but yours is the only one that I actually learnt from.