One of the most-sought missing features from Blogger is the little button you click to show your posts in chronological order, oldest first.
Where Blogger fears to tread, however, clever hackers (one of them too clever by half) have rushed in with template modifications and other tricks.
As of this writing there are four different hacks to show your blog's content first to last instead of last to first, each method with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here's a quick survey.
- The ASC solution ("ASC") is a template modification that shows reordered posts on blog pages with special web addresses ending in ASC. At the moment this is my favorite method, though it may not work for every blog.
- There is also a 500-posts-on-a-page hack ("500") that lets you show as many as 500 reordered blog posts (but no more) on a single static page.
- Chronoblog is the name of a sidebar gadget that puts your oldest post in a little window at the top of your blog. Navigational buttons move, post-by-post, through your entire blog from beginning to end.
- Finally, there is an out-of-blog ("OOB") solution that works by manipulating your blog's feed using several third-party web services, then displaying the reordered result on one or more static pages.
I'm not including the simplest method, which is to change the post order by editing the publication dates of every post.
There is something to be said for each of these solutions, none of them perfect. Here is a quick comparison.
ASC posts on special blog pages that have "older" and "newer" links at the bottom, just like regular archive pages. Oddly, posts with the same publication date will still appear in backwards order within that day.
To implement ASC, paste a script into your blog's template. I found this pretty straightforward. However, a related hack, to get around the same-day bug, was a little trickier. Also, you must tinker with the url a bit to get the first page just right.
One other nice feature: Once you install ASC, you can use it to generate an oldest-first page by label. So, for instance, you can make a page showing only the posts from that trip to Italy, starting with the first day and ending with the last.
The author provides the script and instructions in this blog post.
500 shows your oldest-first posts on a separate static page with a limit of 500 posts. Here you do not need to crack open your template, just paste the script (provided) onto a static page.
Chronoblog takes a different approach and shows your blog posts one at a time in a little window at the top of your regular blog. You navigate from post to post within the window. It is the only one of these methods that does not even try to look like a collection of regular blog posts.
Apparently, the 500-post limit also applies to Chronoblog, though the author says there is a workaround.
Chronoblog is actually a sidebar gadget that goes in the top-of-the-blog area. Installation is a snap because the author provides an autoinstall option that adds the gadget directly to your blog.
Finally, OOB entails pasting a script into a static page or, in one variation, a sidebar gadget. Like ASC, it can also make pages by label. Detailed instruction begin here.
The other methods rely on scripts running in your blog's template, but OOB works its magic on blog content outside of Blogger entirely.
For instance, the free feed2js.org will write a custom script to show your content. No programming knowledge is required: You specify what is shown with a friendly user-preferences form.
Out-of-blog solutions have the virtue of being immune to problems related to changes in blogger's own architecture, or in browser technology. However, they are exposed to issues related to changes in the third-party blog services themselves.
One recent change, for instance, requires you to write multiple scripts to show more than 100 posts.
If you want to format OOB to look like your blog posts you must add formatting code to your template. It's not so hard to do, and instructions are provided, but it can be daunting if you are not familiar with cascading style sheets (the standard way of formatting content on web pages).
Right now the other methods work well for most blogs and in my view have the edge over OOB. However, OOB also makes a great sidebar gadget, namely a list of clickable blog titles (just the titles) in chronological order. The list revises itself as you add new posts.
You can limit this to all the titles under a particular label, such as for your trip to Italy. It's a nice little table of contents, and no formatting is required. I currently have some examples running in the sidebar of this blog.
Also OOB, being out-of-blog, works on any web page. It's not just for Blogger pages.
In short (with links),