diamond geezer

 Thursday, October 08, 2020

Welcome to New Blogger

I mentioned back in July that Blogger was changing its blogging interface. This doesn't affect what you read, which still appears within the same throwback grey template I've been using since 2003. But it does affect the screen I type into, and this hadn't changed in over a decade so will take some getting used to.

New Blogger's been around since May but they didn't force everyone to upgrade straight away. Instead they dangled the carrot by introducing an orange button saying 'Try the new Blogger', so I didn't, because newly-improved upgrades aren't always an improvement. Never commit to a system that might not work while there's the option of continuing to use one that still does.

At the end of July they switched everyone anyway. I logged in one morning and suddenly I had the new version with its mobile-friendly dashboard and endlessly scrolling index. I don't like this, I thought, but recognised I'd given the default response to enforced charge so hung around long enough to decide why I didn't like it.

I didn't like the mobile-friendly tiles because I have a laptop. I didn't like the much-increased spacing because I prefer to see 'more' rather than 'bigger'. I didn't like the unpaginated index because scrolling back to the first of my 8500 posts would now take hours. But most of all I didn't like what they'd done to the HTML Compose window because they'd made it unusable.

It was no longer possible to add a photo unless you switched over to the WYSIWYG Compose window. The number of formatting buttons had been seriously diminished. Line breaks in the editor were no longer converted into line breaks in the post. But most of all I didn't like how Blogger now took my code and rewrote it, even when I opened up posts I'd already published, whether I wanted it to or not.

I'm aware my coding ability is a bit maverick, better suited to the dawn of the 21st century than the mercilessly clinical present. I've taught myself to tweak a font size, construct a table and position a photo so that the end result looks right even if it's not the optimum way of doing it. But Blogger's new revisionist approach was like having all your work checked by a proofreader and returned as they'd have written it, the original text having been casually thrown away. For a content creator this was a potential nightmare.

Thankfully the option to 'Revert to legacy Blogger' remained, so I clicked on that and carried on as before. They warned that this option would expire in mid-August but it didn't, and somehow I made it through the whole of September unscathed too. But yesterday morning my index page churned over automatically from old to new and there was no longer a button to change things back, so here I am permanently stuck in the new system.

In good news, Blogger's agile developers have been busy improving things over the last two months. You can now add a photo from the HTML window. Additional editing buttons have been provided. Previewing what a post will look like now actually works. But best of all Blogger's previous insistence on rewriting everything has been rebuffed. A special button is available if you'd like your HTML properly formatted but it's no longer the default, no longer enforced. I can live with that.

So this is my first post written fully within the confines of New Blogger. It means a new way of doing things which I will soon get used to, and it's no longer the destructive mess I feared it'd be. But there are still a few things about New Blogger I should warn you about because they might affect what you read. I'll add more things to this list as I discover them.
• When I add links to posts, the box that pops up is no longer large enough to display an entire URL. This makes it more likely I'll post the wrong link, or miss a bit out, or chop something off. My apologies in advance.
• Blogger no longer adds line breaks to posts automatically. This means I have to remember to type <br> every time I want to add a line break and <p> every time I want a new paragrpah. I haven't had to do this for the last 18 years so I might forget. My apologies in advance.
• My browser's spellcheck doesn't work in the new-style whizzy Compose window. It used to underline errors with red squiggles but now it doesn't. It didn't underline 'paragrpah' in the bullet point above, for example. This means it's much more likely I'll publish posts containing spelling mistakes than I ever used to do before. My apologies in advance.
Every new post now appears to have an extra blank line at the bottom. I can't work out why. That's going to drive me nuts. My apologies in advance. (Fixed, hurrah!)
New Blogger looked like it was going to be terrible. It wasn't because I held back from adopting the new system until the very last minute. So far, bullet dodged. But my apologies in advance.

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