Sunday, April 06, 2008

Classic or Layouts Template? Your Choice (Maybe)

Does anybody remember Old Blogger (pre 2006), and the process of adding or relocating an accessory - maybe a picture or linklist - to the blog? For many of us, that memory is fast fading. New Blogger 2006, and the Layouts templates with their GUI linklist setup, is so much more user friendly. You can use a Layouts template with any blog published to a BlogSpot URL - or to a non-BlogSpot URL on a Google server, using Custom Domain publishing.

Even with New Blogger 2006 being the reality (and Old Blogger a distant memory), some bloggers are still stuck with a Classic template. Maybe by choice
I hate new Blogger, and the widgets. I like having a template that I can understand.
or maybe forced upon them
I want to publish my blog to my own server.
some bloggers are sticking with a Classic template. Publishing your blog to a non-BlogSpot URL on an external server, using FTP, requires static HTML and a Classical template.

Occasionally, you hear the puzzled question
What does this mean?
Your template could not be parsed as it is not well-formed. Please make sure all XML elements are closed properly.
That's awfully mysterious, to the new blogger who just got a (Classic) template at Templates-R-Us, and tried to install it to his (Designer / Layout) blog. To those of us who have seen that message a few hundred times, it's a 5 second diagnosis. You cannot install a Classic template into a Designer / Layouts blog.

If you're lucky and you're simply trying to install a widget that uses HTML, all that you have to do is create a new HTML page element. If it's a full blown template, you're going to have to revert the blog to use a Classic template, before installing the new code.

Not everybody knows if they have a Classic or Designer / Layout template. To the folks who understand the differences, though, it's as clear as night and day.


My Classic Template Laboratory is where I test blog changes against a Classical template. See the "Template" link?



The Real Blogger Status (this blog) uses a Designer template, with its many widgets, to bring you the information that you need. See the "Layout" link (which will now say "Design")?



Another example can be seen if you click the "Customize" or "Design" link in the Navbar. What do you see then?

To edit a Classic template, you have 1 choice - "Edit HTML".





To edit a Designer / Layout template, you have several choices.

  1. Edit HTML.
  2. Page Elements.
  3. Template Designer.



For some changes, you may have alternate solutions. And many changes are far easier to make, by using "Page Elements" or "Template Designer", than by using "Edit HTML".

You can generally access each of the above wizards using the (obvious) menu structure. In some cases, if the template is damaged, the wizards won't work correctly, so you may need manual procedures to access the right wizard.

Having said all of the above, I will note that you can use HTML in a layouts template, and that is easier to do than you would think. That's still a layout template, though - there is no way to add XML code into a classic HTML based template.

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7 comments:

Rob said...

I do sometimes envy the features found in "New Blogger," such as the ease in which you can add widgets and other stuff - stuff that's probably of dubious benefit - I publish to my own domain so I'm still using the "Classic" Blogger for 2Dolphins.

But for the most part, this isn't truly all that limiting. However, there is one item on my wish list that I have yet to find a way to accomplish in my Templates-based setup: I'd really like to add an "Older Posts" shortcut at the bottom of the page to allow readers to browse backwards through entries. Sure, I have archives available, but that's not quite as friendly or intuitive.

Chuck said...

Hi Rob,

The "Older Posts" / "Newer Posts" links are truly an improvement. They let your readers view the entire blog in sequence, without making them load the entire blog in one page. Effectively, the main page becomes the length of the blog.

Unfortunately, this feature requires the dynamic HTML in Layouts.

If you would like this feature, you might consider publishing the blog (just the blog) to a custom domain. If you publish externally right now because you have a web site (non-BlogSpot), you can integrate a blog and a non-Blogger web site in a number of ways.

قليل من التفكير said...

Great thanks

it was a huge help for me :)

Ajith K Ranatunga said...

Hey, I also having the same problem. I can't see the layout tab. I think I'm having classic template. Can you give me a tip to switch to the other template(I need to have the layout tab on my dashboard).
Please help me to solve this.Great thanks

Chuck said...

Ajith,

Upgrade your blog to use a layout template.

Kaye Barley said...

I use Minima Lefty at blogspot. My blog address is:
http://meanderingsandmuses.blogspot.com/
I am such a non-technical person that I even have a hard time explaining my problem.
I "used" to be able to post as many blog posts to my page as I wanted, and that would vary depending on how long the individual posts might be. Now, however, I have no choice in the matter and I don't like that much. Any help (in the most basic, simplest terms imaginable, ie - dumb down to me, please) would be very much appreciated!

Dot Dot Dot said...

please.... i lost my 'design' button n i want to go back to my old blog where it has 'design' button but i don't know how...i lost it after click on clear widget (i guess) button...have a look = http://razzi-ng.blogspot.com/
please help me solve my problem..