Bloglines now has Atom 1.0 support, and though there are some problems there still, it’s time for a new target. I’m sure it’s clear from all my posts that I’m a big proponent of Atom 1.0. However, I probably appeared to be a bit of a hypocrite, using an aggregator that didn’t support it, and only providing a deprecated Atom 0.3 feed. It’s true, I’m also lazy and picky, and haven’t wanted to make a change in software over these issues. It’s so much more satisfying to simply complain and wait for the software to change so that I don’t have to.
To continue that trend: What’s up with Blogger still producing Atom 0.3 feeds? Initially, it seemed Google gave the Atom movement a big boost by supporting it in Blogger. But now the Atom 1.0 specification has been out for quite some time, and usage of Atom 0.3 is discouraged. Hopefully the reason for not changing yet was fear about support in aggregators, and with Bloglines probably being the biggest (most users) holdout, maybe now is the time to start seeing Blogger produce Atom 1.0. A geek can dream…
So, who are the bloggers with clout or at least information about Blogger? I had been trying to read the blogs of several Blogger engineers, but they mostly moved on, I believe.
CuriousKitten.net has a new site design. It may look suspiciously familiar. Permalink pages aren't styled because it's creating them as .htm files, not .shtml, so the included page for the header that defines the style-sheets isn't being included. This isn't a problem on my blog, but I can't find the option that changes this in Blogger. Is this an option that was removed (but saved for those of us who set it when the option was available)?
You'll notice that the archive link for the new political blog is broken. It turns out, Blogger is no longer supporting an archive index (see the bottom of that page). That, instead, I should use the template tags to include the archives index on my main blog page.
Does this make sense to anyone else? I don't want to clutter my front page. Sure, I could put the links into the sidebar like some people do, but I'd rather the archives be on their own page. Am I missing something? Is that my only option now for a new blog? How should I handle this in my template for the politcs blog?
I recently sent in a question to Blogger support about my Delete Comment icons not showing up, because they'd replaced the code that put in an image tag from the template with a span filled with a non-breaking space. As usual, after I ask for help, I figured it out myself. It turns out you have to put <$BlogMetaData$> into your template so that you can get some style sheets that set the icons on the Delete Comment, E-mail Post, and Edit Post spans.
Speaking of which: that's right, there's a new feature for you, the reader. Now there's a handy button to let you send an e-mail to someone about one of my posts. There's also a nice feature for me: a way to click on an icon on a post, and take me straight to editing it in Blogger. The new e-mail feature was announced today, which led me to disover the rest of all of this.
The down-side to use the BlogMetaData tag is that it includes a tag for something to do with the Blogger API, that I don't quite undestand. Unfortunately, the current implementation of auto-discovery for Firefox brings up that feed along with my actual site feed, which could confuse user's of Firefox coming to this Blog (or others like it) in the future. However, it appears that Bloglines auto-discovery handles it properly, only showing my actual site feed. I guess it's time to go work on getting a bug filed against Firefox's auto-discovery to get it fixed, then.
Blogger is now offering a Navbar to be placed at the top of one's blog. This replaces an advertisement bar on Blogger/Blog*Spot hosted blogs. For those of us with sites being hosted externally and being published via FTP, it's optional. Unfortunately, at the moment it's simply a choice at the top, not a tag in a template, so it has to be at the top, and I have to change my design a little to accomodate it.
It provides the nice feature of allowing a search of the site (so I can get rid of the one in the navigation section), as well as supporting Blogger, which I've really enjoyed using. The downside is that it makes my site look less independent, and more like an amatuer-ish hosted site. It also allows people to visit other recently updated Blogger produced Blogs with a single click.
Should I put this on my page? I think I'll at least try putting it on to play around with the issues it may cause. So expect to see it at least temporarily.
As I'm working through the new design, I happened to notice a link about supported browsers for Blogger.
The interesting part is at the bottom. Including "6% use Mozilla Firefox; an up-and-comer, which we all use internally." and "AOL users, as well as those unaccounted for here (Netscape, Opera, etc.), would be wise to use Mozilla Firefox in order to have the best possible experience using Blogger.", in addition to a "Get Firefox" button at the bottom.
Now if Google as a whole would develop some of their IE/Windows add-ons (Google Toolbar, Gmail notifier) as Firefox extensions, that would really be awesome.
So, I'm happy to see that, after Google's work on Orkut and Gmail, Blogger has gotten a serious update. The most noticeable new feature is that it supports comments. So, I've gone back and made several posts support posts, in case anyone has anything to say. For now, anonymous comments are allowed. We'll see if that causes a problem. Obviously, registered comments are preferred.
I'll be working on modifying my template to support comments. Let me know what you think about how it looks.
Other than that, you can also e-mail blog entries in, and the interface is much nicer. Plus some other little odds and ends. Anyhow, with this update, I'll be sticking with Blogger at least a bit longer. I'm excited!
So, I gave all my posts real titles (titles in the Atom feed had been the first 20 characters of a post). Not sure if that's what did it, but Blog Lines now recognizes my blog just fine. The RSS portlet panel extension has bugs that someone has posted fixes for. The My Yahoo RSS portlet never claimed to support Atom feeds anyhow.
The strange thing is that the feed still doesn't validate. So I'll check on that. Maybe look for another site that attempts to validate an Atom feed. But I guess my problems are mostly resolved, for now.
So, first I discover that Blogger supports Atom feeds (rather than RSS). Cool. Most readers support it, or so they say. However, I'm having trouble with various readers I want to use. SharpReader works fine, but I'm not always on Windows, and I don't really want another program. The Mozilla extension I mentioned earlier, however, only partially works. The My Yahoo RSS portlet doesn't seem to recognize it all. Nor does Bloglines, which I'd like to use for more extensive feed tracking.
So, I'm a bit lost. I've got two hypotheses at the moment: the server's not sending the right MIME-type (I'll check with Ryan later), or the fact that my blog entries don't have titles is a problem. That one I'll check on now, I guess...
Ok, so the Archive is done now too. I've deleted some old posts (just stupid ones with results from random internet quizzes: too much table hell to fix). You'd be surprised how much trouble ampersands in URL's can be when trying to validate your blog entries. All done now.
With all the trouble I've gone through to get this Blogger template working, I think I'll at least stick with it until Moveable Type releases their 3.0 version.
Until then, please send me feedback about the site via e-mail. I intend to do some work on the CSS for the blog, as well as work on some better alternate stylesheets in the future. Remember to use a more advanced browser (i.e. not IE) to get the intended view and full features of my site. :)
Well, if you've visited before, you'll notice that my Blog is now integrated with the rest of my website. It's also valid XHTML (well, at least as valid as the rest of the site; Some disagree). Obviously, if I switch to a system allowing comments, maintaining validity will be harder...
The Archive still has to be done (it's using the old template, and I have to go over old posts to classify links, and to make sure no bad html is in them. But, for now, it's off to bed...
Well, it took most of yesterday, but I've finally got a working XHTML 1.0 Strict-compliant design for the site, and converted all my pages to the new design. While it's not the prettiest site, it does look nicer than the old design, I think. Plus the total size is much smaller. The best part, of course, is the ability to create completely new designs by making one file. For those of you using browsers that support alternate stylesheets, there's two available. They're both black and white, but inversions of each other.
The only thing missing is that I have a footer file that I'd like to include on every page. The alternate stylesheets show it. Unfortunately, only Opera and Mozilla-based browsers render that design properly. Konqueror and IE blow up rather badly. Plus it's not perfect anyhow. Any very specific tips would be welcome, but the current design was tediously crafted, so I'm not going to overhaul the whole thing. I require the navigation section to come second in the source to provide good text-browser support. and the content section (right column) can be any length: less than the navigation height, longer but shorter than the screen height, or several screens worth of data. I haven't found any way to accomodate this so far.
Of course, the blog template I'm using on Blogger is NOT XHTML 1.0 Strict compliant. Plus, it doesn't support comments. So my next step will be to replace my blog at some point. Hopefully when that happens, I'll post more often. And probably make the blog the front page, if I integrate it properly with the rest of the site, since the front page is pretty much a pointless restatement of the navigation menu.
Testing this out. Yes Ryan and Jason, I'm just being a sheep following in your leads . . .