Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blogger's April Fools Joke Is Not Funny

Anybody who has a Blogger blog (or six or eight Blogger blogs) has noticed the "Try the updated Blogger interface" button at the top of the dashboard for the past couple months.

They now tell us that, like it or not, we will be upgraded in April.

I myself have not upgraded because all reports have said that the feature I use most extensively -- the html editing tab -- was disabled. The other reason I hate to do this is that I hate to test things on a current blog, and Google has a way of insisting on changing your whole account on you.

But now, since it's clear we're being forced to move to a new interface, I went and revived an old account, and created a blog specifically for testing when Blogger tries something whacky.

It's called, oddly enough Testing New Blogger Stuff, and it literally is just a test bed. It might be of interest to those who have a Blogger blog who are wondering about the same sorts of things I am.

On my first test....

The new interface is mostly just different. So far, I have been able to accomplish what I did before, but some things are harder and some easier, and some just a little freaky because I get unexpected results.

New Picture Handler

One thing I like is that when you upload a picture, you merely upload the picture. You aren't required to choose whether it's in the center or on the left or right. You aren't required to name the size. After you get it in place, if you click on the picture, you get a little menubar at the top or bottom which allows you do do all the settings for the picture -- and better yet, you get to CHANGE all the settings for the picture, on the fly, after the fact.

Furthermore, it finally has an option to post the picture at original size. It used to be that if you wanted to put a picture up which was more than 400 pixels in any dimension, it would shrink it down. You had to hack into the code to make it fit.

Now, you can just choose "original size" no muss, no fuss. Also, you can type in an edit a caption on the fly.

YouTube Video Embedding

So far that seems to work, however, YouTube's code does not match the new Blogger way of doing things, so if you click back and forth from compose to html view, it will change the code. Actually, the first time I pasted it in, I pasted it in as part of a larger post, with additional text. I appeared to paste properly, but when I clicked to compose, then back to html, the embeded video disappeared. I was able to paste just that code back in and it was happy.

Paragraphs and Breaking Spaces

If you copy plain text from a word processor into the html view, everything will run together into a single paragraph in compose view. This is probably not something most people will notice, but it annoys me, because I liked the way the previous blogger worked with code: I didn't have to type in paragraph breaks, but I could type in italics tags -- which made it easier to compose my posts.

I'll be experimenting over there with other options, and won't be posting again here about this, except perhaps if I discover something really important. (Then I'll probably post it there, and just let folks here know about that post.

See you in the funny papers.


Nicole Pyles said...

I'm glad you are switching over! Welcome! :) I've been to the new format and it isn't too bad. You CAN actually edit the HTML, you just get a warning notice when you try to. And when you click okay or whatever you can get into the HTML.

The Daring Novelist said...

I'm not switching voluntarily. Everybody will be forced to change in April.

As for the warning, I think that's not the kind of HTML editing I was talking about. You get a warning when you edit the template and stuff like that. (Which I thought you always did -- though I haven't played with how it handles it in the new interface.)

There isn't any warning on editing the post in HTML view. (At least it didn't on any of my editing today.) I'm not happy with the way it handles the html inside the posts, but I can, at least, do what I need to do.

Apparently they only just enabled the post html, so I'm hoping that there will be more bug fixes.

(But thanks for the welcome!)

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

I always hold off on updates until the last possible minute. :) It doesn't seem like they changed too much, but it's kind of a headache getting used to a new look and things being moved around whenever somebody upgrades their site or software.

The picture handler features you mention have been there on the old version for quite a while, at least on my blog. Definitely an improvement over what they used to have, but I still wish sometimes that you could click and drag the corner of a photo to get a custom size.

The Daring Novelist said...

Just checked and the picture handler features don't have the pop-up bar that lets you change them on the fly. That's new and a better way of using them.

As for custom picture sizes, that's super easy, but you may have to go into the html code and hack it.

First, if the image is smaller than 400 pixels in both dimensions, you can just post the picture, with the largest option chosen, and it will post at actual size.

If it's larger in any dimension, or if you want to change it from original size, you have to hack the code in html view.

To do that, though, you have to know BOTH dimensions in pixels. It will give you exactly what you ask for, and if you do the math wrong, it will stretch the picture out of proportion.

(And in the old way, it's even trickier, because you have to hack the height, width, and a secret limiter code. The new way, you don't have to take off the limit.)

If I have time, I'll do a little comparison/tutorial on that other blog tonight.