Friday, June 06, 2008

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 posts feed for one blog, though you can enter a URL of any blog component, with the feed URL apparently derived from what you enter. You can have only 1 entry for any blog, in a blog list.
  • A Link List is a list of URLs. Each item in a link list may depict a single, unique blog. Each item can be any URL that you wish.


If you leave off the Snippet and Update Date selections from a Blog List, you'll end up with what looks like a Linklist. And it appears that the rollout of the Blog List gadget, from Draft to Operational status, involved converting some Blog List items into what look like Linklist items. If your blog has what looks like a new linklist, which contains items with feed URLs, that is what happened. If you edit this page element, you'll see a series of feeds listed, with some apparently corrupt, possibly depicted with red Xs. These are URLs that do not lead to a valid feed. You'll have to delete and re add each URL so listed, if any one represents an item that you intended to lead to a feed.

And that illustrates another key difference between a Blog List and a Linklist. The linklist wizard lets you edit the label, or the link URL, for any item in the list. The blog list wizard lets you only edit the label of an item ("rename") - if you wish to change the link URL, you have to delete and re add the entry.

Just don't confuse the Blog List page element with the Linklist page element. Each has its own place in your blog.

>> Top

5 comments:

Alex said...

The blogroll thing doesn't seem to be functioning in my page for some reason. I've also seen that you can change the favicon on your blog and I can't seem to get that to work either from help sites that I have seen. Maybe you know how and could help?

Chuck said...

Alex,

I don't know a lot about the favicon, personally, but there are some Blog*Stars who do. Why not give them a chance?

The BlogRoll feature, I have noted, is a bit buggy yet. I don't have any exact reports on it right now - are you reporting this in GBH: Something Is Broken?

Rob said...

A neat feature, but doesn't work with private blogs unfortunately, which require authentication.

Alex said...

I figured out that the blogroll on my page had the same text color as the background to tell the date of the last update... I fixed that easily with a span color once I figured it out.

As for the favicon, I have not recieved any responses from those Blog*Stars I have tried talking to. (Not very reliable) I'll have to keep trying.
Thanks!

Chuck said...

Alex,

You're learning, and that's the important part. Many problems can only be solved by the person with the problem.

The favicon thing used to be a packaged deal provided by a third party web site, which has since gone belly up. Now we're having to do it all by hand, and we're learning, but slowly.

Rob,

You're talking about the private blog feed issue, which is being resolved as we speak. Recent changes in feeds, which has generated some complaints, is where Blogger has started.