Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Toys for Google Blogger in Draft

Now that most all of my posting to Blogger is done via the latest Windows Live Writer - Technical Preview release version, I rarely stop in at Google Blogger at all.

My blog template is also a custom job, so I don't do much now that I have it like I want it.

However, Google continues to refine its Blogger platform and there have been some exciting changes just announced.

Updates and Bug Fixes for June 26th - Blogger in Draft blog

Let’s lead off with the quick stuff:

  • Google Gadget integration continues to improve, with better editing of gadget preferences.
  • The new look for the Dashboard has seen a handful of tweaks, including a new button style that we’re trying out and, by popular demand, the “show all blogs” toggle is now sticky.
  • The subscribe page element has been published to WWW.
  • We’ve added a “Make Blogger in Draft my default dashboard” to the Blogger in Draft dashboard, so now you don’t have to remember to type “” instead of “”
  • So you can easily keep up with the news, we’ve added this blog as a tab on the Blogger in Draft Dashboard.
But that’s not what you came here for. You wanted this:
  • Webmaster Tools Verification. Turn this on to automatically add and verify all your blogs on Google’s Webmaster Tools.
  • Star ratings. Add a 0–5 star rating control to the bottom of your posts so that your readers can rate them.
  • Import / export of blogs. Back up all of your posts and comments to one Atom XML file on your computer, and import your posts from one blog to another.
  • Embedded comment form. By incredibly popular demand, we’ve brought the comment form to your blog’s post pages, with support for Google Account and OpenID authentication.
  • New post editor. We’ve completely revised the post editor, bringing in drag-and-drop image placement and better HTML handling.

The Star Ratings is cute, but GSD is going to pass on this for now.

The Embedded Comment Form feature does intrigue me. I don't think I am going to go through the work of trying to add it to my custom template just yet (more work required) but it does look to be like a feature I will want to go with down the road.

Importing and Exporting of a Blogger blog will be a very appreciated feature when rolled out. For now I just use a special bookmark in Firefox to pull all of my posts up at once in a browser session and just save the page to my drive. This method looks to be faster and more flexible.

Finally, as I mentioned, I use Windows Live Writer as my blog posting platform of choice. I might use the Blogger post editor for a quick change on the fly but I almost never touch it. I do expect these changes to make it more useful in the control area. It includes improved image handling, improved raw-HTML behavior, you can modify the compose behavior options with more granularity, link editing is simplified, Safari 3 is now fully supported, preview mode has been improved, and placeholders are now added for <object> tags in compose mode.

My biggest headache is that the last time I went into the regular Blogger post editor on line it would not display the editor correctly in Firefox 3.0 or Opera. I had to revert over to IE 7 to do what I wanted to do.  Egads!  Hope this new draft version fixes some of those issues as well.

Also worth checking out is Google Code's announcement of a new interactive version of their Blogger JavaScript Developer's Guide.

With this tool, Blogger users can modify and execute JavaScript code directly in their browser to see what will result. Great for pre-testing changes.

Announcement: Official Google Data APIs Blog: New Blogger Interactive Developer's Guide

Keep blogging!


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