Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Blogger Beta and Firefox 2.0 -- First Impressions

Firefox 2.0 was released today (actually last night for those who knew how to navigate to Mozilla's ftp servers), and I decided to go ahead and jump in. It is a worthwhile upgrade, and its appearance is visually pleasing. The hype is that its pop up blocker is more sophisticated, and this should catch even more of those tricky little gremlins. We'll see. Its ability to handle RSS feeds is enhanced. All in all, I'm not sure it warranted going from 1.5 to 2.0, but that's OK.

Blogger Beta is turning out to be a real gem. I am a computer professional, and I tend to like the bleeding edge for fun and games, but am very conservative when it comes to production software. I watched the progress of the beta and tried it out on a test site.

A couple observations:
  • Make a copy of your old template. You will want to extract code from it for your sidebar.
  • The WYSIWIG editor is a lot cleaner in appearance and automatically flags words that it thinks may be misspelled.
  • Labels are now available for those of you who have gazed wistfully at Typepad blogs.
  • Publishing is MUCH faster.
  • Editing your layout is quite simple and versatile. You can add elements to your sidebar and move them up or down to place them in your preferred order. This is where you want to add such things as your Technorati, LibraryThing, Site Meter, or webring code.
  • You can change background, text, and link colors as you wish. The new generation of templates are set up to handle the new features, and you can upgrade your old template. (you will lose most of your sidebar code, but that is why you made a copy of your old template).
  • Open standards are GREAT. All my javascript code from the previous version works as is in the new version.
  • You may, if you wish, edit the template directly as you could with the old version, but that is no longer necessary unless you really want to get down and dirty with the css code. Been there, done that, now I'm going to save a little time and aggravation with the new layout editor.
  • Your gmail address is now your single login to all Google services.
Blogger is not migrating everyone at once; a certain number of users every day may notice that a new option appears on the Dashboard which will allow one to start the conversion process.

All-in-all it has been a good day for software, and I would estimate that the total time spent in migrating stuff from blogger to blogger beta was a little over an hour. They did a good job on this and the Google and Blogger partnership seems to have been a good move.

2 comments:

Toby Brown said...

I switched over to Blogger Beta too and completely agree!

As to Firefox, I'll keep my Applefied version of 1.5, for the cool Apple OS X look....

(Makes my boring church Dell seem as cool as my Mac at home!)

Denis Hancock said...

Now, if I can just figure out how to get the recent comments re-enabled on the sidebar...

Since this is still beta software, I expect that new features will be added from time to time.