Sunday, November 01, 2009

The New Post Editor And Read More

One problem which we seem to see, pretty consistently, in Blogger Help Forum, is where the posts and a sidebar end up in one long column, with one above the other.

Reports like
My posts have vanished!
and
My sidebar (my archives, my Followers, my profile gadget, ...) have dropped to the bottom of the page!
are seen a lot in the forum. Generally, it's caused by trying to put too much in one place.

Recently, though, a few bloggers report the dropped sidebar symptom, after they try the new post editor, and the Blogger "Read More" option (called by Blogger, "Jump Break").

The "Read More" feature in Blogger blogs has been a long needed option.

Before the new post editor, Blogger, and at least 2 other bloggers, had their own competing, and mutually incompatible, procedures for making your blog show, and execute, a "Read More" link. All 3, to my knowledge, had drawbacks. One of the most obvious was that each different version was added by editing the post HTML, and the HTML was complex, and messy.

The "Jump Break" option, in the new post editor, is easy to add.
  1. Add a New Post, or edit an existing post, in Compose mode.
  2. Position the cursor after the words that you want to be always shown.
  3. Hit the "Jump Break" button, in the editor toolbar.
  4. The jump break is inserted into the post editor window.
  5. When you publish the post, you'll see the words that you want to be shown, followed by the link "Read More".
  6. What could be simpler?



(Update 2010/04/17): It's possible that the above instructions from Blogger, if you follow their complete instructions and add Jump Break to an older template, may be slightly misleading. Read their instructions, then read mine, please.


In rare cases, the "Jump Break" button in the toolbar may not work. If you have that problem, go into the "Edit HTML" mode, and insert
<!-- more -->
right where you need your jump break.

For all the simplicity in adding this (either in Compose or "Edit HTML" mode), it's not producing simple results.

There appear to be at least two scenarios where a blog, with one or more posts published with jump breaks, would have a dropped posts or sidebar section.
  1. When the blog displays more than 10 posts in main page view, each post with a jump break, the 11th post will cause this problem.
  2. If the jump break is inserted into the middle of a section of text with formatting implemented using a "<div> ... </div>", a "<div>" section broken by a jump break will cause this problem.


The workarounds to prevent these scenarios are obvious.
  1. Reduce your main page size.
  2. Don't add jump breaks in the middle of "<div> ... </div>" sections.



One possible cause of code containing lots of "<div> ... </div>", a "<div>" would be content composed in Microsoft Word, or another external word processor / desktop layout program. Another, as noted above, may be slightly misleading instructions.

Also, watch out for the third party gadget "Related Posts" LinkWithin. You need this gadget ahead of the "Read More" break (you want your readers to see it without having to display the entire post), but be careful and don't put the "Read More" break in the middle of the LinkWithin code!



But those workarounds may not be popular, or easy to implement.
  1. Some bloggers like to publish blogs with 15, 20, or more posts in the main page.
  2. Blogger who like this new, shiny feature may not be aware of when their posts include "<div> ... </div>" sections. How can they avoid breaking a section that they can't see?



(Update 2010/02/22): This week, we are seeing an incompatibility problem between the new Auto Pagination feature, and the older "Read More" variants. This is resulting in greatly reduced main page and archives page height. It appears that the proper solution is to replace all old "Read More" variants with the new "Jump Break" solution.


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6 comments:

Debra said...

I used a JavaScript version of a 'readmore' button on my blog, Novelist's Cafe. It automatically added a 'read more' button to every post. It was a very nice setup. However, even short posts had the words 'read more' underneath them.

So when Blogger came out with the option, I decided to manually install the coding for the Readmore and take out the old coding. I'd like to say this was a simple procedure but it was not. Nonetheless after tinkering for two or three days, I had it working correctly.

One of the first times I used the 'read more' button, I noticed that exact problem - my sidebar disappeared. Then I found it on the bottom of the page under my posts.

This stumped me for a little while until I found that all of my posts showed up fine with the 'read more' button except for one particular post - an interview with a lot of formatting in it.

So I began deleting 'div' pairs one by one until I had cleaned up the coding nicely. Then I hit publish and it worked like a charm.

Now I know to look for formatting errors before I hit publish. Saves me a bit of time and frustration. Of course, that works for me because I've been using Blogger for 6 years. But it's not the best solution for those unfamilar with Blogger, so I'm eager to see what Blogger will do to make it easier to use in the future.

Deb

Sophie said...

aha! Thanks for that. I will look into the div thing. So, it is easier just to not type something out on word first then..

Kelsey B. said...

Thanks for posting this, the Jump Break really screwed me up and I finally fixed it after finding your post. Let's hope Blogger cleans this up soon!

Mack Payne said...

Thanks for your explanation of the read-more button. I have a question - I put the cursor where I wanted the break and hit the torn page button and the gray line appeared where it was supposed to appear but it does not show up in the actual post. The actual post still shows the entire post. Any suggestions?

Chuck said...

Mack,

Does your template support the Jump Break, and if so, is it in the right place?

eva said...

I can not find any Jump break button - how does it look? I started my blog in springtime this year - do I have new blogger?