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Dynamic Template Instabilities Have Multiple Causes

For some time, we've been seeing reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about blogs using blogs using dynamic views, which display incompletely, and lack specific features.

Various blog owners have developed, and reported, a workaround to the problem, which involves using an unpublicised Blogger setting found in the template HTML code. This workaround sets a loading delay, known as Timeout.

There are several different causes of the dynamic view problem - some varying by the different blogs, others varying by the blog viewers - and some, varying by the Blogger / Google infrastructure. None of the causes will be universal in effect. This will result in varying success, when using a static Timeout setting as a workaround for the problems.

The current workaround for the problem - changing the Timeout setting - will have immediate success with some blog owners, partial or temporary solution with many, and no solution with others.

The inconsistency will come from the various causes of the latency - and from the variety of symptoms being reported. The latency is the cause for development of the Timeout tweak.

There are three details which cause latency, and which result in missing dynamic view content, of varying effect.
  • Complexity of blog content - unique to each blog.
  • Computer and network issues - unique to each different client computer.
  • Server and network issues - unique to the Blogger / Google networks and servers which support dynamic templates.

Complexity of blog content is the only detail which can be consistently resolved, by a change in the Timeout. As any dynamic template blog becomes more complex, increasing Timeout improves the chance that all blog content - including gadgets and template customisations - will be packaged before the blog is viewed. Each blog owner will be responsible for evaluating the need for this workaround, on an ongoing basis - based on current blog complexity.

Computer and network issues causes problems, that may be partially resolved, by the blog owners. Each blog owner can make the Timeout relevant to the known audience. Any blog, with an audience known to have problems, can be tuned by the blog owner, as necessary. Each blog owner will be responsible for evaluating the need for this workaround, on an ongoing basis - based on the needs of the majority of the known blog viewer audience.

Overall load on the Blogger / Google networks and servers causes problems that cannot be consistently resolved, by the blog owners. It's possible that some portion of the latency problem is regional in nature - in that Blogger / Google resources may not be evenly allocated, world wide, to support dynamic template use. Blogger / Google will be responsible for evaluating the need for this solution - based on current complaint level and load on network resources.

Any action taken by Blogger / Google will present a challenge, for several reasons. Note the problems discussed here are unique to dynamic views - because of the unique design of the dynamic templates.
  • The Timeout setting will have a global effect, for each blog with a problem - even though the problem may not be global.
  • As more blog owners resolve their immediate problems, by increasing the Timeout, this will put more load on Blogger / Google resources.
  • As more blog owners report their immediate problems solved, this will encourage still more blog owners to use dynamic templates, and to try increasing the Timeout on their blogs.
  • More blogs using dynamic templates will put still more load on Blogger / Google resources - and this will necessitate still more Timeout increases.
  • Some blog owners, using computers or Internet service particularly susceptible to causing the symptoms, may try the basic workaround ("500"), which may not produce results - and may falsely conclude that their symptoms are not caused by the problem. A few owners may persistently try "1000", or "2000" or higher - and may eventually observe an improvement - while other owners may not.

The only long term solutions to this problem lies with Blogger / Google. Blogger / Google has two options.
  • Halt or restrict customisations of dynamic templates.
  • Tune their network resources better, to make latency less of an issue.

The latter option will require supporting action, by blog owners and readers.
  • People who view blogs using dynamic templates have to tune their own computers and networks, so they do not contribute to the problem.
  • Some blog owners may have to accept reality - that their reader audience simply can't be properly served, given the level of customisation required by their blog design.

The bottom line is that some blogs will never be properly served, if the owners insist on using dynamic templates, and customising uncontrollably. Blogger / Google cannot provide the universal solution.

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kc bob said…
Four of my blogs once used the Dynamic Template. I liked it but had to remove DV from all of them due to commenter complaints and the general buggyness of DV. I understand that blog customization (like using CSS to change the gadget dock icons) may be at fault but without those tweaks the blogs were simply unattractive.

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