Sunday, July 22, 2012

Third Party Templates, And The New Blogger GUI

The New Blogger Interface has been available outside Draft Blogger for almost a year - and continues to provide traffic to Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, with new problems, every month. One subject of problems appears to involve the Template "Edit HTML" wizard, and various bX errors issued when attempting to save changes made to the HTML code.

The bX errors are very mysterious - and to those of us outside Blogger Engineering - almost monolithic. Recently, we've noted one possible affinity in the errors, involving blogs using templates developed outside Blogger / Google.
I got a custom template for my blog, from TheCutestBlogonTheBlock. I followed all the directions to add the template to my blog, and copied everything correctly - but I keep getting a message that says
Sorry, we are unable to complete your request
advising me that I need to contact Blogger Support.

The owner of any blog, showing this symptom, has several options, for further action.
  • Use a standard Blogger template. Stop trying to use a third party template.
  • Use a different third party template. It's possible that other third party templates - and maybe even different CBOTB templates - may be more compatible with the New GUI Template Editor.
  • Use this template, corrected to avoid generating the bX error.
  • Use the Classic GUI Template Editor, which appears to be less vulnerable to third party template problems.
  • Contact the support channel for the CutestBlogOnTheBlock templates, and advise them of the problem. Wait until they are able to make their templates more compatible with the New GUI Template Editor.
  • Wait until Blogger Engineering has a chance to fix the problems, which are generating the bX errors.

Use of a standard Blogger template is the most sure way to avoid this symptom - but probably the least likely to satisfy the blog owner, who apparently wants a blog using something other than the Blogger templates.

It's possible - but not likely - that a different third party template will be written to not cause a bX error - and that a different third party template will satisfy the desires of the blog owner. It's similarly possible - but not likely - that the blog owner could figure out what (if anything) he / she did when editing the template, and avoid the error. The typical blog owner, to whom the CTOTB templates appeal, will be satisfied by neither alternative.

The most immediate solution is probably to switch back to the Classic GUI, which is less prone to displaying bX codes when third party templates are involved. This is probably the best alternative, right now - but will cease being useful when The New Blogger GUI becomes the Blogger GUI.

The best long term solution will be for the blog owners to contact the support channel for the third party template, and advise them that their product needs to be made compatible with the New Blogger GUI, and the Template HTML Editor. This will be an ongoing need, as new third party templates are developed. The third party products must be made, and maintained, compatible with the Blogger product.

It's somewhat possible that Blogger Engineering, as part of their ongoing efforts to resolve problems identified by the various bX error codes, will fix the underlying problem with the New GUI Template Editor. Supposing however that the basic cause of the error codes probably involves the vagaries of third party code, I would not bet that this specific set of bX codes will be highest on their priority list of codes to diagnose and fix.

Which alternatives each blog owner elects to follow is a choice that he / she must make, based upon her / his own abilities and needs. Which ever choice each owner makes, it's likely that posting, into Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, a report
I keep getting a message that says
Sorry, we are unable to complete your request
advising me that I need to contact Blogger Support.
will be the start to the problem diagnosis - not an immediate solution.

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