Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Blogger Question: Buy the Beta Band or keep The New Originals?

I am tired of being pestered to try the Beta version of Blogger, so I'm thinking of switching this weekend and maybe giving This Ol' Bathhouse a fresh coat of paint. Has anyone switched over and completely regretted it? Anything I need to be aware of?

17 comments:

Chuckles said...

I am tempting to stikwiddit simply because it is my dudy and hard to do.

I don't really know what that sentence means.

Brendan said...

I have been using the Beta for a couple of months now. No lasting complaints, and none at all, lately. The faster publishing makes the change well worth it, all by itself, to me.

I haven't yet switched from my old template to the new "Layout" method, but I don't get pestered to do this, at least, not anymore. I'll probably do that change, too, when I feel like playing around with it. There doesn't seem to be any problem with using the new Blogger with the old template.

If you have problems uploading images after switching, see my post on the matter.

If you're paranoid:

You can back up your template to a file before you make the switch, using a simple copy and paste to a text file on your computer. This is probably worth doing in any case.

You can back up all of your posts, as well, of course. I have been doing this via C&P in an ongoing fashion since I started posting, as I don't know of an easy way to do it automatically. I don't see an obvious solutions in Blogger Help or the Blogger Help Group, although I came across a couple of ideas.

Shoot me an email if you want details on either of these.

Brando said...

Thanks, Brendan. I save HTML versions of each month's posts on my computer, and since I write most of my posts in Word, I have those too. I was more concerned about screwing up my blog roll and the template, but I'll just save the code in a text file like you suggested.

Cheryll said...

DH said he gave up when he couldn't find an easy way (or any instructions at all) to bring his history ahead into the new version. If you know how to do that, so he won't lose a year's worth of priceless prose, then he will try out the beta....

:)

Churlita said...

I didn't have any problem with losing posts. I did have to add my blogroll individually instead of being able to copy and paste it all at once. Any of my problems could easily be attributed to my lack of computer skills, so you may know how to avoid them.

It was way less headache inducing than I had anticipated.

Brendan said...

Churlita makes a good point, although strictly speaking, this is an issue related more precisely to changing your template to the Layout method than it is related to upgrading to Beta Blogger.

The new Layout method is more of a GUI, and it does appear to me from some limited playing around on a test blog that Churlita's point about having to rebuild the blog roll one link at a time is correct. This will be a one-time period of pain.

The new Layout interface also provides access to the HTML of the underlying template, so depending on how comfortable you are with hacking HTML, you might be able to figure out a way to stuff all of the links into it at once. (My blogroll isn't big enough to have made this a priority for me to look at.)

One thing you might do, prior to messing with the template/Layout, is to create a new blog, say, cjsd-test.blogspot.com, and play around with the Layout tools and the underlying HTML there first.

Brendan said...

Cheryll --

When I switched, all of my old posts were preserved without having to do anything. If DH is worried about this, and doesn't have any backups, here's the easiest way to make some.

1. Set the existing blog to have, say, monthly archives, if it doesn't already. (This is done in Settings -> Archives)

2. Visit each of the monthly archive pages with the browser and do a "File -> Save Page As". This will produce an HTML file and a related folder (at least, if using Firefox).

Admittedly, this isn't a particularly elegant solution. If DH has years of posts, it will obviously be a bit tedious, for one thing. Also, the saved files will not be the most handy way to have the old posts stored. Should the content ever need to be accessed and reposted, much copying and pasting will probably be involved.

But at least the content, including all of the links, will be preserved.

Another method of backing up a blog is detailed in the Blogger Help pages. I have not tried this. A quick glance makes me think that it's not too bad, but it does involve messing with the HTML code in one's template, which might be off-putting to some.

Finally, some people on the Blogger Help Group forums have suggested using HTTrack, which bills itself as "a website copier." This looks plausible, albeit geeky. I haven't tried it out myself.

Bottom line, though, is as I said above: when I moved to Beta, none of my old stuff was lost by Blogger. So doing the quick and dirty backup that I outlined should suffice for a good feeling of security.

almostinfamous said...

i'm a sucker for new things.

the new blogger (not)beta is ok, it's a lot easier to use and doesn;t use the outdated pyra service which reloads every time you make a new post.

but like windows vista, i'd wait it out

Adorable Girlfriend said...

AG will say nothing. She does not want any blame when this blog blows up in the process.

Brendan said...

One other quick and dirty option for backing up your blog that I just came across: ASCIINATOR.

This is an online service where you enter a URL, click a button, and get back a new page containing an ASCII (plain text) representation of the web page you specified. The links are preserved, sort of in a footnote fashion. You can than use copy and paste to grab the plain text off of the browser screen, and stuff it into your favorite editor/word processor for saving.

This may be handier than the "File -> Save Page As" suggestion I made in an earlier comment. It allows you to assemble all of your content into one file more easily, and its plain text nature means that it's more compact. The single plain text file might also be more amenable to future handling/hacking.

Of course, this solution still depends on having existing archive pages for your older content.

Okay, Brando, I'm gonna stop treating your blog like a tech (tceh? thec?) forum now.

Unless I find an absolutely killer solution, I mean.

Brendan said...

P.S. (to AG):

I don't blame people for giving bad advice. I blame people who follow it.

Of course, that's why I'm not a CEO. Or a politician.

fish said...

I have not switched because you need a gmail account and for a gmail account, you need a cell phone. That I will not do...

almostinfamous said...

hey fish, you don't need a cellphone. i can hook you up. mail send me a mail through the contact form and i'll send you an invite to teh google!

Neel Mehta said...

I switched to Blogger Beta at the earliest possible opportunity. Had no problem with the transfer process, and enjoyed being able to change colors of the text boxes.

The disadvantage, which I don't believe has been mentioned yet, is that Blogger Beta does not play nice with Sitemeter or Technorati, so now I know less about my blog's place in the world. But the colors!

I may able to re-introduce these bells and whistles but haven't bothered.

Grendel said...

I am an old dog, and the Beta is a new trick. I have tweaked and customized my blog to such an extent, that I just know it would crash if I tried to switch. I don't have a day to lose trying to recreate my blog. I'm going to wait till they make me. It ain't broke, so...

Brando said...

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I am inclined to stay put for now, mostly out of laziness, but I think I will try Brendan's suggestion of creating a test blog and see how it goes. It will be a good opportunity for me to publish some of my Hello Kitty-themed fiction.

MichaelBains said...

Having a GMail account already, I started a test blog on "Beta" Blogger a few months ago. For whatever reason (it's never given by B) I've been unable to convert my original to the new version.

'T'salright though. Is kinda cool having two blogs with different names. In case I want content on one but not the other or something.

Thanks to Brendan for all the tips! I really need to save all my old posts on CD sometime soon. Who know what may happen to the Evil Internets, what with the Prophet Pat's Predictions for our degenerate god-hating society.

HNY!