Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bloggering Your Own Blog

Okay, I've gone and bloggered myself this morning. (Up since 1:30 am and decided that mucking about directly in the template was *good* idea...what might the moral to this story be?)

At any rate, I'm sharing my woeful tale, and hoping Readers who are good with Blogger or Haloscan HacKs might have some answers for me.

The trouble all began when I was looking through the Blogger help files trying to find a way to back up posts...

1. Haven't found any answers yet. Do you back up your posts at all? If you blog with Blogspot, do you have a convenient or effecient way to back up your writing?
[Update I finally found (at the top of the page; I'm really batting a thousand this morning) the Blogger help link on how to back up your blog. I can do it--but I resent that the only method they offer is awkward and manual. Any better options out there?]
...then I discovered the Blogger Hacks page, and things got really interesting.

2. I hate how ungainly long posts look on Blogger. I decided to give a try on creating expandable post entries. (Yes, I admit it: I have TypePad Envy.) Well, part of the code goes in the post body, and Blogger helpfully suggests adding it to the Post Template on the Formatting Tab under Settings. (Those of you who are technologically-inclined have anticipated the tragedy that is about to occur and are laughing already. I know it. I can hear you.) So I did it--I added the code to the Post Template.

Then, when I rebuilt and refreshed to inspect the fruits of my labours, I discovered that Blogger had added a perky "Read More!" the bottom of Every Post I Have Every Written. Ayup. And I should have seen it coming, too.

Only wait, it gets better. I then deleted the code out of the Post Template...but Blogger didn't remove the "Read More!" from the posts.

I well and truly Bloggered myself.

The only thing for it, as far as I can see, is to remove the other code from the main template (which worked), abandon my dreams of expandable post entries, and wallow forever in TypePad Envy.

If any of you can offer a better alternative, I'm all ears.

3. Blogger provides info on how to use Blogger's comments for new comments, without losing Haloscan comments on old posts (here). The things is, I want to do the *opposite*--I want to show old Blogger comments from before I added Haloscan, but I want to continue to use Haloscan now. I took a good look at Blogger's instructions, but can't see how to reverse engineer it myself. Has anyone worked this out?

4. I would like to be able to add recent comments to the sidebar. (I know, I know, the sidebar looks like hell. Don't worry, it is on the list.) I couldn't find instructions on the Haloscan site (although I haven't scoured the forums yet.) Any answers?
Update I *did* manage to find an answer to this: LastHalo is a fabulous, free extension to HaloScan to enable "Recent Comments." In fact, if you direct your eyes to the top ride sidebar, you will notice our brand new, extremely snazzy "Recent Comments" feature. Wahoo!
5. My solitary success, at the very least, was changing the default order of my archive links, so that they are now in descending chronological order--which makes far more sense to me. And, I can assure you, it wasn't hard to do. (And after all my confessions about bloggering-up, I hope you take that as an indication that it's pretty easy.)

That's all, for now. And yes, I know that the reasonable answer to all of these questions is "Move to TypePad!" ...but, financially, that isn't going to happen. So, any advice on Blogger-wrangling will be much appreciated.

Via Brutal Women, I coincidentally staggered onto BloggerHacks, which doesn't fill my immediate needs, but, does offer some interesting and free template hacks for Blogger.

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