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Blog Template Unification: Template Trickiness
In Orcmid's Lair: February Frights Redux: Unification for Creative Destruction, I commented that I am in a death match between decline of my web-development machine and May 1, 2010, when when Blogger ceases publishing via FTP to my own domain and hosting service.
The laptop is now on life support and, so far, has not entered a vegetative state. But it can't sit up and stand on its own any longer.
Meanwhile, I have been working to unify my Blogger templates around one single "classic" layout. That has been interesting.
Testing Without Ruining the Blog
For dressing-up the sidebar and tidying up some aspects of the blog posts, I was able to confirm template changes using the template-preview provisions of Blogger.
Straightening Out the Archive Structure
It became trickier when I decided that each blog's archives should be in a separate folder. Orcmid's Lair wasn't done that way. Its archive pages were at the same level in the blog folder as the main page and some supporting items. Fortunately, I discovered that the archive-list pull-down would automatically change to reflect the new location once I said archives should go into a separate sub-folder. Then all I had to do was move the existing archive pages to the sub-folder to make the pull-down be true.
I now must remember to republish those few pages that have an older version of the pull-down. In this case, the blog is a little-bit broken, but easily fixed.
Being Conditional About Comments
The next tricky business was creating more cases that were conditional on which page was being generated.
In the past, I had full comments show up everywhere there is a copy of the related post. I decided to simplify and have comment detail only on the individual post pages. The version of an article on the main blog page, and in archives, provides a count and a link, but no comment content.
This became tricky to test because the template preview mechanism only shows what happens to the main page. To see what happens to posts, I must install the template and create a post or repost to see the effect on the individual post itself.
I can cause a repost, usually, by adding a comment to the post. If necessary, I can also change the conditionality to see what everything on the main page, but that is not a complete verification.
And Then There’s Backlinking
Even trickier was seeing how support for links would work. Blogger has a feature called backlinking that will report about other blogs that link to this one.
I don’t think it is exactly a track-back mechanism. I'm also not not sure how it works for blogs that are published via FTP.
To test whether backlinking is operating, despite Blogger indicating that my blog is backlink-enabled, I need to create a blog post that links to another of mine, and see what happens. That is the provocation for this particular post.
Also, I am using the BlogThis! pop-up that is provided if the "Create a Link" link is followed from one of my blog posts. This seems to be one way for Blogger to notice that a link to a Blogger-generated post is being made. Once this post is up, I can also recall it into Windows Live Writer and see whether I could have done it from there too.
Well, BlogThis! does an awful formatting job. I recalled the post into Windows Live Writer to touch it up as well as see if there is any special indication that this post is linking to another. I don’t see anything.
I’ll repost now and then see if I have to publish from Blogger itself to have backlinking be noticed.
Oh, and By the Way
While I have been rooting around in tweaking the individual blog items and how comments and backlinks appear, I noticed another problem. The permalinks on comments don’t work. I have attempted to use an alternative way for creating the backlink, but there is something not happening. I will have to look at the source-code of the generated HTML pages to figure this one out.
Labels: confirmable experience, web site construction
I did begin to use the main page template to test the difference for individual posts by temporarily changing the conditional-inclusion elements on the template.
This provided more-rapid turnaround without posting inadequate individual posts to the blog in order to see whether they were formatted properly.
I have confirmed that comment permalinks are also working.
There is not much I can do about the backlinks. They will show up or not, but so far the answer is not.
Meanwhile, I am going to force some reposts to eliminate use of an obsolete archive pull-down set of links, and that will also change the comment arrangement somewhat. There are actually no content changes.
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created 2002-10-28-07:25 -0800 (pst)