December 24, 2008

New Features

For a while now Blogger has been adding some useful features that I've wanted to include here, but they're mainly supported only through the Layout system rather than the Template system that I've long been using. The differences are mainly under-the-hood — but I've resisted switching to Layouts because I don't understand the coding as well, and so can't really control the way the page looks as competently.

Anyway, it got to the point where the benefits of the features I wanted to add outweighed the design problems they were going to cause me, so I decided to make the move. That's the reason things look a little different now (I've had to doctor an existing Blogger Layout rather than use my own), but on the bright side there are now a few extra bells and whistles for readers:

1. Inline feeds. The "Me, Elsewhere" section of the sidebar now links directly into the RSS feeds for the other blogs where I write. That means that instead of a simple link, the sidebar now displays a snippet of the most recent post I've written for each site.

2. Post labels. The new "Preoccupations" section of the sidebar provides links to thematic pages of posts. So, for instance, if you want to see all the posts I make that prominently feature puns, you can just hit the "Puns" link and it will display only those. This part is still a little buggy as I've had to retroactively tag posts, and I don't have much patience for the process — but moving forward this will provide a nice way to let readers follow only what they want to.

3. Blogroll. The blogroll now displays only the five most recently updated sites by default, along with the title of the most recent post and how long ago it was published (you can still see the entire list by clicking "Show All"). This reduces some of the clutter on the page and keeps only the most relevant information upfront. It also stops me from having to tinker with the blogroll manually — if someone stops writing, they'll just drop off the front page automatically.

4. Archives. Archives are now sub-divided into year/month drop-down menus, rather than the unwieldy list of twenty or thirty links it once was.

5. Feeds. There are now more options for syndicating the blog. Most importantly, the default feed address has changed, so please update your RSS readers!

As usual, if you notice any problems with the redesign, let me know. And please feel free to suggest Preoccupation categories for future inclusion.

And of course: Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You, sir, are a geek.

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