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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Unfold Widgets Selectively, Instead Of All At Once

The new Template HTML Editor has been with us for just under 2 weeks.

Not every blog owner sees the new editor as an improvement. Some folks don't understand how to find the code sections, where they need to apply changes - and would probably be happier if "Expand All Widgets" were an option.

Like the old saying goes, you just cannot please everybody.

Fortunately, with this change, it's not difficult to find the code sections that need changing - you just do a little bit of research, before using "Edit HTML".

With the old editor, finding a section that needed changing could be a bit frustrating - though simple, given enough time.
  1. Hit "Expand Widget Templates".
  2. Search for a recognisable section of code.
  3. Try very carefully, to find the right section of code.
  4. Be careful, and don't select the wrong section of code.


With the new editor, you have a bit more work to do - and what you have to do appears to be simply repetitive.
  1. Find a folded code section.
  2. Unfold the section that's folded.
  3. Repeat, until everything is visible.
  4. Search for a recognisable section of code.
  5. Try very carefully, to find the right section of code.
  6. Be careful, and don't select the wrong section of code.

Instead of spending so much time unfolding, searching, and rechecking everything, why not do some research? Figure out what needs changing. Look at the display on the dashboard Layout wizard (previously called "Page Elements"). Identify the widget to be changed, using both the relative position on the page, and the title.

Find the widget id, by looking at the widget to be changed, then at the URL behind the "Edit" link. If you're editing the post template, you'll be looking at "Blog Posts", which has the widgetID of "Blog1". Click here, for instructions on determining the widget id.

Once you have the widgetID, for the specific widget that you need to modify, go to the Template "Edit HTML" wizard, use the "Jump to widget" pull down list, select the widget by widgetID, and there it is. Now, unfold that widget, and do what you have to do.

Isn't that simpler, when you think about it?

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Dude, hit me with a comment!

Chicky a.k.a. Kaddu said...

Hello Chuck,

I like the new format for editing the template HTML. There's a lot less scrolling to do. Plus, Ctrl+F still works to find the bit of code you want to edit. I recently made quite a few changes to my blog template (mostly CSS), and it was easier than it used to be previously.

The only thing I found disconcerting was that I always take a complete text backup of my full template before changing it. And I thought I would have to manually go through the entire template, expanding all widgets, to get that complete backup. But then I realized that a simple "select-all", followed by a copy-paste, did it! All the line numbers got copied, and not just the expanded ones!

Oh and with the line numbers, it is now easier to remember which line you were working on. For example, if I'm checking out the font-size of a particular element, and need to try out different values, I can always come back directly to that line of code and change the value.

And the color coding is an added advantage! Say I miss typing the end '/' in an img tag, that code immediately turns red. I don't have to wait till I "Save" the edits, for an error message to show up!

It's an awesome change. One of the best that blogger has come up with lately! Totally love it!

Sotiris Vlachos said...

Hello Chuck,
Although I was a little frustrated in the beginning with searching, having been used to the old "Expand all Widgets", I have found out that there is no need to expand any widget when searching after all.
If you focus in the template editor window (by clicking the mouse therein) and then press "Ctrl+F" a small search box will appear on the top-right corner of the template editor.
Typing the search text and pressing enter will guide you to the first finding, highlighting also any subsequent occurrences. (However there are no up/down arrows for forward/backward search but I can live with that). :)
The good thing though, is that Any relevant widget(s)unfold open automatically!
Given all the other features described in your post now I can declare that the new editor is a great improvement!
Regards, Sotiris