Mar 24 2009

To Blogspot or Not To BlogSpot?

Posted by J. Craig Canada in web publishing
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I’ve had a Blogger Blog for almost 5 years now and I guess the past week or so was the first time I ever took a good look at the difference between hosting my own and letting them host it.

They make it pretty hard to resist – the heirarchal display of the archive and the list of topics are the things that made me take a good long look at it. It seems syndication or the use of feeds (which I really don’t understand) is crippled if I host the blog on my domain. Nor can I have “followers”.

I’ve spent considerable time, probably most of the past week, looking over what Blogspot has to offer. First I set up a test blog to make sure I could edit the template to my satisfaction, and it looks like I can. And I can actually get a much cleaner look using Blogspot. Except in Internet Explorer. For some reason Internet Explore has the “caption” of my photo on the right of the photo while Chrome and Firefox have it under it. I wasn’t able to figure out a way to get the styles to work the same in all three browsers, and I want the text under the photo as it displays in Chrome and FireFox.

I can also export the data and it does import easily back to Blogger. It’s a big xml file, 1.1MB, and from glancing at it I should be able to import it into anything else if I want to, should I want to.

I’ve been able to work out all the kinks I could find but two. I cannot get my subdomains (blog.palmspringsbum.com and blog.palmspringsbum.org) and my subdirectories (www.palmspringsbum.com/blog and www.palmspirngsbum.org/blog) to point to palmspringsbum.blogspot.com at the same time. At the moment if you type www.palmspringsbum.com/blog or www.palmspringsbum.org/blog into your browser it should redirect to palmspringsbum.blogspot.com, but if you type blog.palmspringsbum.com or blog.palmspringsbum.org into your browser you will get a “not found” error.

Unless you’re using Chrome. That’s right. I just sat here and typed blog.palmspringsbum.org into Chrome and it redirected to palmspringsbum.blogspot.com. This does not work in Internet Explorer or Firefox. Now, someone please explain THAT ONE to me.

I’ve spent several days trying to figure out how to get the redirects to work and just a few minutes ago sent a support ticket to my domain host about it. I figure they will probably tell me they don’t provide BlogSpot support but what have I got to lose? If I can’t get this particular kink ironed out I can always move my blog back to my domain fairly easily.

When I was able to get the subdomains to redirect to palmspringsbum.blogspot.com I couldn’t get them to redirect to specific files, such as http://www.palmspringsbum/blog/2008/12/15-million-maniacs-waiting-to-explode.html

The other problem I still haven’t resolved is that I have javascript popups and BlogSpot doesn’t allow the html mark-up I have in these tooltips when I tried to edit the posts containing them. It imported them allright, and the tooltips pop-up when you hover over the anchors, as they are supposed to do. But when I try to edit those posts and save them I get an error message telling me I have “tags within tags”.

The javascript tooltips use the onmousever and onmouseout function of the anchors, with the text of the tooltip enclosed in quotes in a function. When I tried to post a sample of what I’m talking about here, enclosed in <code> tags, it wouldn’t even let me do that.

So it appears I can’t use javascript tooltips containing links or images in any new posts nor can I edit them in old posts if I allow Blogspot to host my blog.

For now I will leave my blog on Blogspot. If I’m not able to resolve the redirection issues, primarily, and the javascript tooltip issues, I may move the blog back to my domain.

Note there are two searches now. There is a blog search in the upper left corner. And in the middle of the left sidebar is a site search. The blog search searches only the blog, the site search searches only my site.

In any case, I intend to go through and mark all 170 posts (except those I can’t edit because they have javascript tooltips with embedded tags-within-tags) with labels so you can click on a category under the Topics in the sidebar and get a list of all my posts for a topic.

I figure even if I end up abandoning Blogspot, I will be able to export the blog data and having the posts categorized will be useful eventually.


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