Friday, March 26

Blogger earns a stay of execution.

Blogger is making some major improvements in their design layout tools, which will do even more of the HTML/CSS for you and gives you more "out of the box" designs to choose from. I don't care about the new available templates so much... but critical things I've wanted - like a wider main area to embed wider videos and larger pictures in, seem like they will be easy to do soon, as well as specifying default fonts in a less limited way and lots of other good stuff.

Check out the video here:

to see what the new design features will allow you to do. Nothing you couldn't do by hand-writing the CSS, or doing it in Dreamweaver or something and pasting it in, but hopefully the code will be more optimized if Blogger does it all itself (maybe - I haven't been at all impressed with Blogger's code efficiency - if you can even honor it with that word - in the past). I'm already a version behind (I can't use any of the current templates or any widgets, like newer users can, for example), so I would just archive my current blog and make a clean start with a brand-new look and new features.

The old blog wouldn't go away - the new one would have a slightly different address is all and would link back to this one, just as this one would link forward to the new one. It would just cease development. And I wouldn't use their canned backgrounds and title designs, however nifty - since lots of other people are bound to use the same ones. I'd still design my own logo from scratch in Photoshop, as well as a background pattern or motif and foreground color/texture, to give it its own personality. HTML 5-style WebFonts would be the ultimate feature for me, meaning anyone could see my pages as I designed them, regardless of whether they have the fonts I used installed on their machine or not (kinda like PDFs)... but I dunno if Blogger will support this feature or not. Maybe not for awhile yet... But maybe I can hack it in anyway by altering the style sheet. I don't care if I lose IE users by doing this, they can all go dive into a pool with no water anyway.

So, looks like a lot less work than I thought since this will get me 2/3 of the way to where I want to go. Now I just need free or very cheap online storage, so that people can actually download (legal) videos, songs, documents, game patches, PDFs, photo albums, and other files from my site; HD video is progressing and more and more stuff on YouTube, Vimeo and elsewhere is appearing in higher resolutions, which is good - let's hope most videos stay embeddable so us bottom-feeders can have access to them; Controls for streaming audio and video are out there as well as the source material (some things which are illegal to serve as a download, like music, is legal to stream - I'm reading up on the precise laws currently), and I have a pretty good idea of which ones I'm going to standardize on; Likewise with polls, quizzes (yes, hosted, served, and auto-graded quizzes handled by a 3rd party service but embedded in my pages and still private and free from ads should take the place of my ad-hoc quizzes that are presented and graded different seemingly each time. This will save ME time, and make the process more fun for everyone. I can even include little pictures or have answers start to disappear over time... there are lots of fun possibilities), graphs to illustrate my points when I'm ranting about something, possibly collapsible screen elements, dynamically re-sizable photos, or LaTex-like math scripts (math 'fonts') presented correctly as text and not simply a graphic element, for those times when I want to accompany an explanation of something with an equation or a string of symbolic logic (been wanting math scripts for years...); even eventually some embedded interactive content (mouseOver stuff)....could lead the way to a live chat box or simple games, but don't count on it. More likely something like that could allow each visitor to set his or her own site view preferences - perhaps there will be a selection of visual themes if you don't like the standard one, and so on (think about live previews just by mousing over the theme name or button).

I'd like to set it up so I won't bump into blog technology limitations for at least another 5 years, about the length I've had THIS version of my blog up. 5 years is a pretty long time when stuff changes so quickly.

I was thinking about moving to WordPress, MovableType, or some other more robust blogging host, even attempting to host it on my own and make it completely unique, so it would be truly anarchic in spirit and not a plug for Blogger or any of the "free" or "nearly" free hosts out there - but money considerations, my own recognition that I don't finish a lot of things that I start, and these new improvements to the flexibility and appearance (and hopefully "hard" capabilities) of Blogger will probably keep me on it for the next 5 years. Blogger you lucked out!! I was going to abandon you.


An Gabhar Ban said...

Hmmm... I have obviously not kept up with web design in the last few years. :( You need storage space, eh? We need to talk.

Metamatician said...

Ok :-)

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