What Are The Mysterious Turning Gears?

This is a question, occasionally seen in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
I cannot view some blogs - all that I see are gears, turning endlessly. What is going on, here?

The gears are animation, displayed by Blogger, while a dynamic template and blog content loads on the computer being used. Generally, the gears will play for a few seconds, then the blog will be seen. For an example, check out my Musings blog.

Sometimes, all that you will see are the gears, endlessly turning - waiting for the templates and blog content to download.

The dynamic templates, used by some Blogger blogs, represent an innovative approach to providing web content.

Normal web content, provided in Blogger blogs which use Classic, Designer, and Layout class templates, consists of comments, gadgets, posts, and templates, arranged together in pages (dynamic and static).

Blogs which use Classic (HTML only) templates arranges everything when the blog is maintained. Blogs which use Designer / Layout templates (HTML / XML) arrange the content when the blog is maintained - then build the individual pages when the blog is read by each viewer, dynamically. For all 3 classes of templates, the content is served from Blogger / Google servers, in individual display pages.

The Dynamic class of Blogger templates take the concept of dynamic publishing to another level. Dynamic class templates load a significant amount of script code (the template) directly to each client computer. Instead of reading the pages of blog content from a Blogger / Google blog server, a dynamic template script, running on the client computer, reads the published blog feeds from a newsfeed server - then turns the feed content into a display.

A Dynamic template is a specialised Newsfeed Reader, similar to the dashboard Reading List, or to Google Reader.

By offloading a large amount of the publishing process to the client computer, and by using the blog comments and posts feeds, Blogger provides blogs which can be viewed in a number of different ways - selectable by each individual viewer, and at the convenience of the viewer. This selectability is not without cost, unfortunately.
  • The templates require a significant amount of script code.
  • The templates require the blog comments and posts newsfeeds.

For most blogs using a dynamic template, and being viewed on most computers, the "turning gears" icon plays briefly, while the template code, and the blog comments and posts newsfeeds, are downloaded. As soon as downloaded, the content is assembled into a display, and the viewer can view the blog. This does not happen, in all cases.
If the client computer has a slow Internet connection, the viewer may watch the turning gears for more than a few seconds. If the computer filters scripts aggressively, or if the blog does not publish a full newsfeed, the gears play, endlessly, while the computer waits for the scripts and newsfeeds to finish downloading. In the latter case, the viewer can only find another blog to view.

If you encounter one or two Blogger blogs playing the turning gears, endlessly, then you are experiencing the reality of dynamic templates - some blog owners do not realise that they have broken their blogs. If you encounter a large number of Blogger blogs doing this, then you might want to check the filters, on your computer - including, but not only, the browser cookie and script filters.

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