Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blogger beta & fabric of folly 2.0

So I decided to take the plunge and port this blog over to Blogger beta despite having read one or two cautionary tales. Those of you not reading this via an RSS reader will note that I also took the opportunity to give the site a much needed lick of paint (new logo, wider columns, bigger Flickr photos, yadda yadda yadda...)

So, what of Blogger beta? Is it as troublesome as everyone says? Well, it all depends on who you are and what you're after. If you're a newbie blogger looking to create an attractive and functional blog without getting your fingers covered in HTML goo then it's really not a bad choice. The drag and drop interface works well for basic layout changes and the labels (categories) are a nice addition. If, however, you're a seasoned blogger who's used to tinkering under the hood then it's likely to prove a frustrating experience.

I certainly wouldn't recommend moving an established blog over unless you've got a whole day to kill. In fairness, you are warned that your template may be affected by the move, although it's only once you've done the deed that you realise quite how many bits and pieces you had setup - the sidebar content, the FeedBurner feed and the Flickr login will all need reinstating/updating. Ultimately more annoying is the omission of some pretty basic bits of functionality, like making an image a link, although presumably this is the sort of thing that will be ironed out before it leaves beta.

The biggest boon from my point of view is the dynamic publishing - no more waiting for your whole blog to republish following a minor template tweak. The new spellchecker also impressed me as a simple but brilliant innovation - instead of a popup taking you through the text word by word, it simply highlights all the queried words for you to scan and correct as necessary using on-click dropdowns.

Whilst Blogger beta is undoubtedly an improved offering for blogging newbies and may be worth the pain for some intermediates, it is unlikely to tempt the pros away from Typepad or WordPress.

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