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Showing posts from June, 2008

Adding A Forum To Your Blog

Once we get our blog working, with lots of steady reader traffic, we want interactions with our readers.

Eventually, we get tired of native Blogger commenting, and its inability to use comments to conduct casual and meaningful conversations with our readers. Sometimes, our thoughts turn to having a forum, where we and our readers can chat with each other.

Line Spacing And Pre-Formatted Blocks

I use "<pre> ... </pre>" blocks in my posts a lot, as a way to highlight code examples and log outputs. Unlike blockquotes, preformatted blocks preserve indentation in the material highlighted, and with both code and log listings, indentation (horizontal spacing) is as an important part of the display as is line spacing (vertical spacing).

Earlier this month, I showed how the corrected (finally!) vertical line spacing issue had been corrected, and how easily you can tweak the line spacing for elements like pre-formatted blocks. At that time, vertical line spacing for pre-formatted blocks was predictable, and could be tweaked. Since that time and just before the (mostly Draft) New Blogger June 2008 release, vertical line spacing changed.

You can see the problem, in Blogger Spacing Issue Fixed - June 2008. When I wrote that post, the code displayed, as I describe farther down in the post astighter vertical spacing (1.2em)

Now, it's not tighter.

Coming just befo…

Blogger and Firefox V3.0

It appears that, in their push to launch (in Draft, mostly) New Blogger June 2008, Blogger overlooked one significant challenge. This month, Mozilla released V3.0 of their popular browser, Firefox.

Various bloggers are reporting odd problems using Blogger, and seem to connect the installation of the new version of Firefox with the start of their problems.

Several bloggers have complained that the links that switch between "Compose", "Edit HTML" , and "Preview" modes are inoperative. Other Bloggers are missing toolbar buttons, or find that some toolbar buttons don't do anything. These are scripting problems, that have been observed from time to time.

Note that Firefox V3.0, like V2.0 before it, was a major update. The Firefox V3.0 install doesn't require any complicated procedures - it just goes right over V2.x. Anybody with any experience with computers - either programming, software support, or user support, knows that installing one version of…

Custom Domains - The Details In The DNS Settings

I've been helping people set up their custom domains for over a year now. We've dealt with simple setups, and complex setups - from a domain setup in 5 minutes using "Buy A Domain For Your Blog", to ones that take much longer because the domain itself is in use and requires Google Apps configuration. Occasionally, odd questions come upChuck, what is "3600"?orDoes my blog have to be published to either "mydomain.com" or "www.mydomain.com"?orDo I have to point the blog to "ghs.google.com"?

The latter question wasn't easy to answer intelligently, basically I answeredYou can point the DNS to any host name that you wish, but if you want a working custom domain, stick to "ghs.google.com", and lets get this done.

For an answer to the first two questions, and others, let's look at the setup process. Within the setup process, let's look at how this blog, "blogging.nitecruzr.net" is defined as a logical h…

New Blogger June 2008 - Settings

As I said in my previous post New Blogger June 2008 - The Post Editor, the changes offered to us, today, represent the first major overhaul since December 2006. Of course, I overlooked the rollout of Draft Blogger, without which this update would not be possible.

So, having looked at the Post Editor, let's look at Settings, where we see changes in the Basic and Comments tabs.

There are interesting changes in Basic. We have the promised "Import blog" - "Export blog" links. And next to that, a major change - "Delete blog", which now leads to a Delete your blog confirmation screenThis will permanently delete your blog including all posts. You can create another blog at this address using the Google Account you're currently logged in with, however, we can't restore your blog posts once you choose to delete your blog.

Before you delete your blog, do you want to export it ?

Comments gets a possibly popular improvement. "Comment Form Placement…

New Blogger June 2008 - The Post Editor

So for the first major overhaul to Blogger since December 2006 (aka "New Blogger 2006"), the Blogger interface has been updated with lots of shiny features. Currently, the new features are visible only in Draft Blogger.

The first change you will notice when you edit your post. In "Compose" mode, you get a shiny new toolbar - similar to what you'll see in GooglePages. Almost the same buttons, almost in the same order. The two attachment buttons - for Photo and Video - have been combined into one labeled "Image", and moved to the left. Full Justification is gone. And spell check is gone (no major loss there IMHO). But most others are there, and in the same left to right order.

The major change that you will see is in "Edit HTML" mode. The toolbar there is gone.

And it's the same crappy small editing window. The one change that we've been waiting for - still somewhere in the distance.

In Blogger In Draft: New Feature: New Post Edito…

Custom Domain Publishing, And Google Apps

I've been writing about setting up a Google Custom Domain for a while, and I've described the process of setting them up, and various configurations that are produced from the setup. Most of the setup processes have focused on new domains, where the blog owner simply wants to publish the blog to a non-Blog*Spot URL, and no complications exist.

But what if you want to use different services in your domain, which you may or may not be already using? Maybe you have email, an FTP server, and / or a third party (non-Google) web site, hosted on a third party server.

Or, maybe your DNS host won't let you redirect the primary domain using a "CNAME" referral.

That's what you use Google Apps for - integrating existing and new domain components.

Let's look at this domain, "nitecruzr.net", which I setup using the "Buy A Domain" wizard. You can do the same, or use Google Apps, which will give the same results for you without a lot of work. Or, if y…

What Is The Solution To The Mysterious bX- Codes?

One of the reasons why Blogger code is so "unstable" (judging from the threads in the help forums) is that, as I wrote long ago, it involves code and data that starts on Blogger computers ("servers"), but is processed from other computers ("owned" by bloggers) which are connected to the Blogger computers over networks that nobody owns or controls.

Some of these factors Blogger can accept responsibility for. Others we (the blog owners, or blog readers) have to accept responsibility for. And still others are the fault of the network owners, and many of those are problems which nobody will accept responsibility for.

And that's the problem with diagnosing the ever common bX- codes. Of late, some bloggers are pumping themselves up, and declaring to the worldFinally the solution to the BX error codes of blogger.com

Don't know who and why it works and why google/ blogger have failed to recognize such simple tricks. But still that doesnt reduce its effica…

FTP Publishing - Moving Ahead

Some time ago, in my comprehensive comparison of Custom Domain vs FTP Publishing, I suggested thatFTP publishing has a limited life span. From an economic and support viewpoint, it makes more sense for Blogger to concentrate its attention on Custom Domain publishing.

This week, we have a new, annoying problem with FTP publishing, which, regardless of what may or may not be stated by Blogger, does not seem to be solved. And we have a possible reliability improvement in custom domain publishing, with the dreaded "404 Not Found" problem, recently, becoming less frequently reported.

It's possible that my prior suspicion may become reality sometime in the near future. Some of you, currently publishing your blogs using FTP Publishing, may do well to consider changing to Custom Domain Publishing. And in doing so, you should consider several key issues.If you initially published your blog to the FTP server prior to November 2007, it's possible that the original BlogSpot URL…

So, What Are The Mysterious bX- Codes About?

In the past - not so long ago, and not infrequently - you might be accessing or updating your blog, and you'd see a monolithic error message that made many bloggers want to tear their hair out by the roots.We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are unable to process your request at this time. Our engineers have been notified of this problem and will work to resolve it.If you've been blogging for any past amount of time, I'm sure that you remember seeing that. I know that I do.
On January 17, 2007, all of that ended. Blogger replaced that incredibly annoying message with a large series of error codes. Such a simple task, in concept. Each possible failure point in the Blogger codebase was assigned a different bX- code, replacing the old "We apologize for the inconvenience ..." message with a unique failure point code for each different problem encountered.For all of their simplicity though, many bloggers don't seem to see the forest for the trees.it's d…

Relevance Yields Readership And Search Reputation

This blog is "The Real Blogger Status". If somebody went and Googled for "The Real Blogger Status", they would likely get a search list that included this blog, with this blog (hopefully) at the top of the list. Being at the top would increase the chance of a casual visitor clicking on a search list link that leads to this blog, and I would get another reader.

How many people are going to Google for "The Real Blogger Status"?

I want search list entries for "blogspot connectivity problem", "custom domain 404 error", or maybe "layouts templates spacing issue", to lead to this blog, and to the articles that I have written.

Those are real live search lists - things that people might actually search on, and things that would get me readers who want to read my wisdom now, and return later for more. Those folks won't be searching for "the real blogger status", they will be searching for real solutions to real problems,…

A New Page Element - The Blog List

Along with several key fixes to Blogger this week, the release contained one useful new page element - the Blog List. A Blog List is a combination of a Linklist (aka BlogRoll) and a Feed Reader, where you specify a series of feeds, and it generates a linklist with each feed as a separate item in the linklist.The Blog List improves on our Link List page element by using blogs’ RSS and Atom feeds to show update times, post titles, and snippets.

You have several options that let you decide what you want to show in each Blog List.Icon. When available, you can present a favicon from each site in the list.Title. You can present the title of the most recent item, in each feed.Snippet. You can present a snippet of the most recent item, in each feed.Update Date. You can present the date of last update, of each feed.

With all of that said, there is a key difference between a Blog List and a Link List.A Blog List is a list of blog posts feeds. Each item in a blog list will be the URL of the po…

Different Template Objects For Different Pages / Posts

Some bloggers like something different, and want to expand the concept of the template.

Occasionally, we see the queryI want to have different pictures in the header, for different posts.orHow can I have a linklist in my sidebar for some posts, but not for others?and the immediate answer isYou can't. With a template, everything is the same.One blog = many pages / posts = one template.

Blogger Spacing Issue Fixed - June 2008

There were many new features introduced in New Blogger 2006 - some appreciated, others not so. One of the latter category, and not understood by everybody, was the change in vertical line spacing, introduced into a blog by the presence of an indenting element such as "<blockquote>" or "<ul>". This issue was first noted the month New Blogger 2006, and the Layouts templates, was rolled out.

In March, 2008, the problem was acknowledged. This week, it was fixed.This has been fixed in the master copies of the blog widget and the template CSS.As noted below by Pete, if your blog has a completely non-edited template, it was upgraded already. If not, and if your template is not too customised, you can get the fix yourself, using Layout - Pick New Template, and getting a new copy of the template that you're using.

I note that the stated way of integrating the fix into an existing templatefind the .post p { line in your CSS and move the line-height line int…

Custom Domain Publishing, And A New 404 Error

Some time ago, I wrote about blogs, newly setup for custom domain publishing, undergoing a transition period, where both the Blog*Spot and Custom Domain URLs are active, but seemingly 2 separate web sites. This appears to be a (almost exactly) 72 hours while Google allows time for DNS propogation of the new URL to take effect, worldwide.

Now, it appears that some blogs, having gone through the transition period, are still not active.

Here's one case, "keith-in-training.com".
keith-in-training.com. 3600 IN A 64.233.179.121
keith-in-training.com. 3600 IN A 66.249.81.121
keith-in-training.com. 3600 IN A 72.14.207.121
www.keith-in-training.com. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

Appears to be a normal, asymmetrical DNS setup made using either "Buy A Domain" or maybe Google Apps.

5/31/2008 19:52:36 Trying http://keith-in-training.blogspot.com
Redirect!
Header:
HTTP/1.0 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://www.keith-in-training.com/
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

The Blog*S…