Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Case of the Vanishing Sidebar, Or, a Three-Pipe Problem

“No, Madam,” my friend said peremptorily. “Your problem has nothing to do with your template. Rather, it’s the code of your last post but two that is deforming the layout of your blog page.”

The great detective had risen from his chair before the fire when our visitors entered the sitting room at 221B Baker Street. Only one who knew Sherlock Holmes as I did would see the ennui masked by his correct demeanor.

“But Mr. Holmes, it can’t be. I never add code to my posts.”

“Nonetheless, Madam. Your husband’s problem, on the other hand, lies with the curious way he has inserted his photographs into his blog.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Managing photos for your blog

The internet is a great medium for photos. Blogging visually creates posts with greater impact and sticking power.

Beatrice Murch photo
Uploading a photo to Blogger will create at least two, and sometimes three, separate copies.

Should you keep track of them? And how?

Here's how I do it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Unlimited online photos

John Kratz photo
Your blog lives "in the cloud." Its contents are distributed.

Blogger's servers assemble the different page elements from various locations.

You can blog photos hosted online anywhere--at Flickr or Photobucket or even on your own web server.

However, if you upload a photo directly to your blog, Blogger stashes it in a linked Picasaweb account. (Update: Picasaweb has been replaced by the Album Archive, but for the purpose of this post the same principles apply.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ignore the robots

In the early days of the Internet people added metadata (data about data) to web pages to tell automated search-engine robots what was there.

Invisible to humans, this was a kind of table of contents for these automated web crawlers, who in turn report to the search engines. A whole science of search-engine optimization evolved to get search engines to notice content and rank it highly.

Today the robots have grown smarter. They read the web very much the way that we do. Metadata is all-but obsolete. Instead, to tell search engines about your web page, the best strategies involve clear organization and descriptive headings.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Blogger's White Screen of Death

Blogger's slow transition to a new user interface (for bloggers, that is) has produced many bugs and problems.

One experienced blogger recently described the "White Screen of Death," in which the new Blogger engine sometimes hangs while trying to load the dashboard.

Friday, April 6, 2012

List all posts in a topic

If you use labels to characterize your posts (and you should, it is a very handy way to organize your blog), you probably know how each label groups those posts together by category on separate label-search pages.

But wait, there's more.

You can list all of the posts with the same label in your sidebar, sorted alphabetically if you like, or in chronological order, oldest first.

For instance: All your recipes. Your 2010 trip to Italy. Your beer reviews. Whatever.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Four ways to flip your blog posts

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.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Using those new dynamic views—selectively

If you are an early adopter you may already have switched your blog to one of the shiny new dynamic templates.

But maybe you are cautious (like me), your face pressed wistfully against the glass, eyeing the sleek futuristic designs but aware of some drawbacks (and uncertain of others).

Sigh no more! You can link directly to dynamic views of your blog without changing your template.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Comparing blog-order hacks #1: Reliability now and tomorrow

You can show your blog content in its original posting order, oldest first.

There are several approaches you can take, none perfect, as described here.

One way bypasses one set of problems by using third-party web services. Another bypasses problems with web-services by using Blogger's own architecture.

Which is best for your blog? Consider which is likeliest to hold up over time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Easier (mostly), better (mostly) way to reverse blog-post order

Two years ago I introduced a method for showing your blog's content in the order you wrote it, oldest first.

For the past few months I have been testing a promising new way to do the same thing.

When it works it is very good. Here is how it looks on this blog. It took me less than five minutes to install.

If you want to show your blog content oldest-first, I recommend trying this one out before resorting to the method I created. How's that for an endorsement?

No method for reordering blog content is perfect, however. Here are some pros and cons.