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Monday, December 15, 2014

Don't Try To Number Dynamic Pages

One interesting question, which we see occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, would be about making the blog easier to read - if the blog were static.
How do I number the pages, in the blog?
This blog owner does not quite understand the concept of dynamic content.

With a static website, and each page linked linearly, one after the other, it might make sense to number the pages.

Blogger blog content is dynamic.

A Blogger blog has dynamic content. Each reader retrieves the posts, in reverse date sequence, in a number of contexts.

  • In main page view, one page linked to the next - owner selectable maximum posts / page, auto paginated.
  • In individual post view, one post linked to the next - one post / page.
  • In an archive retrieval, one page linked to the next - a maximum of 20 posts / page, auto paginated.
  • In a label search, one page linked to the next - a maximum of 20 posts / page, auto paginated.

Each label in the blog can generate a different label search, one search / label.

We say that the content is dynamic, because each of the above contexts use blog content, retrieved just when a reader clicks on a link.

Each time content is retrieved, for each reader, it will differ.

Each different retrieval will generate a series of physical pages of display, with a different combination of posts. Each retrieval will be paginated according to amount of content, by auto pagination.

If the posts are summarised using Jump Break, pagination will reflect the visible post content. With other "Read More" solutions, this may or may not be the case.

Dynamic indexes can use any combination of various dynamic accessories.

You can index the posts in a blog, using various dynamic sidebar gadgets.

  • An archive index.
  • A label index.
  • Any number of linklists.
  • Any number of feed gadgets.

Again, each index will be dynamic.For truly dynamic indexing, you can provide a single blog search - or a multiple blog search - or even a label combination search.

You can get installable gadgets, and custom templates, from various third party developers. Some gadgets and templates will let you setup an index (whether dynamic, or static), with page numbers. This will be third party code - and carries with it the risks of using third party code.

Non dynamic accessories require post template tweaks.

Also, non dynamic indexes generally install as code, inserted into the post template. The post template is not a blog component that should be tweaked, without understanding the risks.

All of the above details affect how much content may appear on one physical page, and how many pages may be relevant to the retrieval. With these unknowns, it is not productive to identify each post - or set of posts - using page numbers.

How many index listings would you want to keep - especially considering that any one index could change, in the next minute, as a new post is published, or maybe a label is added to, or removed from, one or more posts?

Blogger content is dynamic. Treat it, dynamically.

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