Saturday, August 19, 2006

Blogger beta: my initial impressions

Blogger betaI saw the invitation to try out Blogger beta yesterday, and I've been giving it a go. At this point, I think it has its pluses and minuses:

  • Categories. It's now very easy to add categories to your posts (Blogger refers to them as "labels"). Previously entered categories appear as a list of links (you need to click on "Show all" to reveal them). Alternatively, if you type the first few letters of a category name, Blogger gives you an auto-complete prompt, which is a nice touch.
  • Blogger beta - drag-and-drop Drag-and-drop template customization. Using the mouse to modify the template is definitely easier than tinkering with the HTML and CSS directly.
  • No raw HTML editing. On the flipside, you can't edit the HTML and CSS in your template. While Blogger does give you the ability to add "HTML/JavaScript" modules to your template (which you can edit), you don't have contol over the HTML of the overall page layout, or of the posts themselves. So you can't adjust the column width, or put HaloScan trackback functionality in your posts, for example. Blogger says that this will be fixed very soon.
  • Incompatiable with Windows Live Writer. I'm not able to download my latest template into Windows Live Writer. Windows Live Writer indicates this isn't a problem; it can still publish my posts. But a big part of why I use Windows Live Writer is so I can see how the posts will appear in the template. I'm guessing that this is related to the fact that Blogger beta isn't allowing raw HTML editing of the templates. And hopefully, when this changes, it will work fine with Windows Live Writer.
  • JavaScript: some works, some doesn't. Site Meter works fine for me. AdSense ads don't appear at all.
I'm guessing these little wrinkles will get smoothed out in the near future.



Scooter said...

As a wise man once said, "I fear change." I would give it a try if it weren't for the once you go Beta you can't go back.

Scooter McGavin's 9th Green

Jonathan said...

It does give you the option to revert back to your old template -- it auto-saves your old template for you during the conversion process to your new beta template. But ... it might not be a bad idea to just wait until full HTML editing is enabled in beta -- then you can just copy your old template in, and go from there.