Thursday, September 26, 2002

Many FAQs

Phil,

Thanks for all your helpfulness. I'm a happy blogger most of the time. I have a list of blog help pages on one of my blogs, but I find myself wishing I could create a more thorough list, including descriptions of which one is for what. I sometimes get confused, popping back and forth amongst them.

So far I have these:

I have the links for them at my page at The Tangled Web

Best Regards,

Submitted by Pam Shorey

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Pro BlogThis!

If you are looking for the bookmarklet versions of BlogThis for Pro, they appear in the News column on pro.blogger.com. However, that news column doesn't seem to have archives, so the original BlogThis for IE/Win has already fallen off the page, and I presume that the IE/Mac and then the Mozilla versions will follow suit. For posterity, here they are (drag to your Link bar/Personal Toolbar folder):

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Mail-to-blog

You can post to your Pro blog by email, by going to the Settings page, Email tab, and adding a "Secret Mail-to-Blogger Address", which is in the form bloggerUsername.secretPart@blogger.com (that is, your Blogger username, a dot, something secret that you make up, @blogger.com). If you want the blog to be published when you email it, check the "Publish" checkbox, and then click "save changes." Then, anything you send to that address will be posted to your blog (posted and published if you have Publish checked), with the email subject as the title, and the body of the email as the body of the post. In theory.

There are a couple of gotchas. The secret address is for the particular team member who is signed in at the time, but because it is in Settings, you can only get there while signed in as an admin. If you have a group blog with non-admin team members, to let them post by email you will have to make them admins (by clicking "Team" on the top toolbar, then checking the box in the admin column by their name), let them add a secret part to their Mail-to-Blogger address in Settings, and then de-admin them (the address stays valid after they are no longer admins). I can imagine that resulting in some social friction in some situations. Also, if you have a space in your Blogger username, you may or may not be unable to send email to Blogger for that username. In my experimenting, one of the mail servers I tried was able to successfully send to "user name.secret@blogger.com" (even though a space in an email address should be illegal), but none of my other servers made it through, and examining the headers on mail sent through that server didn't offer any enlightenment (it seems to send it as user.name.secret@blogger.com, but if you try addressing mail to that, it will bounce). Puzzling. The "simple" workaround is to create a new Blogger user, without a space in the username, invite that user to join your blog, make her an admin, add a secret Mail-to-Blogger word, and then only use that address to email your blog. The one thing to remember is that your new user is not a Pro, so for the smoothest results, when you are switching between being logged in as you, to invite and admin, and her, to accept and change settings, you will want to sign out of both Pro and Classic Blogger, and then sign back in to the appropriate one for each username.

The most fun way to use email-to-blog would be if someone can find a scheduled-email service that sends email without adding any tell-tale ad to the message, so that we could have the post-and-publish-to-the-future we were hoping that post-to-the-future would be. It's a darn shame that, as near as I can remember, mailtothefuture.com (run by Blogger competitor UserLand) does add in a "Sent by mailtothefuture.com" line. If you know of one that doesn't, we would be delighted to hear about it.

Meta: comments and subscriptions

Comments have moved from YACCS to my own modified version of remote dotcomments, since I don't really need to be sucking down Hossein's bandwidth. (Well, actually, it was because I wanted to be able to post code with HTML entities - too bad Hossein was putting support for that into YACCS while I was migrating my comments.)

I took out the Topica subscription form, and replaced it with a Bloglet form, because the Bloglet model for email subscriptions to a blog (it uses the API to get any new posts once a day, in the middle of the night, when they are likely in their final form) suits me so much better than the BlogSend model (which sends posts out in the form in which they are first published, which for me means with typos and ill-considered rants intact). Because the API function getRecentPosts is screwed up for Pro blogs (it returns a date way in the future), you have to tell Bloglet that you have a Pro blog after you add it, but that's now a painless matter of telling it what the date for your latest post should be after you sign up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

What's broken, and how to work around it

After you change your Settings and save changes on some tabs (as near as I can tell, always on the Email tab, mostly on the Basics tab, rarely if ever on the others), when you go back to the Posts page, Blogger may forget your settings completely, throwing you into the GMT timezone (so that your posts may well be considered in the future, and thus not published), and failing to show the entry field for the post title (if you use post titles, that's the easiest way to tell that it has happened). To remind Blogger to re-read your settings, either switch to another blog and back via the "My blogs:" select menu, or if you only have one blog go to the Pro home page and back into editing your blog.

If your blog is set to ping weblogs.com, don't publish your blog after you make a post to the future, until after you make a new post to the present: Blogger will ping weblogs based on your future post, and people will come to your blog looking for new content, and be baffled as to why you pinged when there wasn't anything new. [Thanks to Mike Gaston for the tip]

Thursday, March 07, 2002

My other FAQ

A question about dealing with BlogThis in Pro made me realize that I should point out my other FAQ blog, for those who haven't seen it before. This FAQ covers things that are specific to Pro, and that one covers things that are the same, or very similar, in Pro and Classic, like BlogThis and IE6, my custom archive script generator, ways to add comments, plus all the things I frequently answer in the Blogger forum.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

BlogSend

After an initial period of reluctance, I'm starting to see some possibilities in BlogSend (the name still doesn't send me), the Pro feature that lets you send your posts to a mailing list. Most of the mailed blogs I've seen have been using Yahoo Groups, which is probably explains why I haven't been too excited about it. However, I'm now testing out using topica, and so far I'm really quite impressed. The site is clean, clear, and easy to use, and shockingly fast if you are used to dealing with Yahoo Groups over a slow dialup connection. The advertising is far less annoying: no giant ads messing up the display of the posts if you are reading on their site, and minimal self-advertising in the emailed messages.

I was planning on explaining how to set up a list there, but since they do such a good job of explaining things along the way, I think I'll just skip it, unless there are lots of questions. You can set up a list as an open discussion (where anyone can post), a moderated discussion (where you decide whether or not you want to approve posts before they are sent), or as a one-way "newsletter/announcement" list. You can let people subscribe by sending an email to the list's subscription address (profaq-subscribe@topica.com in my case), or through a form on your page (over there in the upper right corner - slightly modified, because I wasn't too thrilled by their html: tables and font tags, just to make it display well in IE3.0, or possibly Mosaic). My list is set up as an open discussion, so if you want to play around with it, see how the reply form on the list web site and reply by email work, feel free to post (a reasonable number of) test messages.

Update: now I'm having second thoughts about Topica: an hour later, and they haven't delivered this post, even though it was on their site right away. Then there's the whole issue of mailed posts not being editable: change your mind or realize that your link was broken, you just have to post again to correct it in the email, because an edited post isn't sent. Also, hard to say what html makes it through them: they converted the text of my mailto link to a broken mailto link, but didn't pass on any other links on the site. Have to see about in the mail, if they ever deliver it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Title index

If you want your titles to do a little more for you, here's how to make an index to the titles within a particular page (the main page, and also each archive page). First, before <Blogger>, include this line of script:

<script type="text/javascript">subject = new Array; link = new Array; subject_count=0;</script>

Then, for your PostSubject section, use:

<PostSubject>
<script type="text/javascript">subject[subject_count]='<$BlogItemSubject$>';</script>
<$BlogItemSubject$><br>
</PostSubject>
<script type="text/javascript">
if (typeof(subject[subject_count]) != "undefined"){
link[subject_count]='#<$BlogItemNumber$>';
subject_count++;
}
</script>


Finally, in the spot where you want the index (this must be after the <Blogger> to </Blogger> section), use:

<script type="text/javascript">
for (i=0;i<subject.length;i++){
document.write("<a href='" + link[i] + "'>" + subject[i] + "</a><br>");
}
</script>

[Note that this is just a temporary measure, while you wait for archiving by post, which a little birdie tells me will give you an archive index that consists of the title of each post, or the first 30 characters when there isn't a title, so you might want to watch what you use for the first 30 characters when you don't title a post. However, given the downside to weekly archives, much less single post archives, you might just want to stick to monthly archives and do your own title index after all.]

Monday, February 04, 2002

Post to the past and future

If anyone can figure out how to do it first time, I'd love to hear it, but so far the only way I can find to successfully post to the past or the future is to "Post", then "[edit]" the post, click the "Options..." button, change the date/time to a past or future date, and then "Post & Publish". Since there's no way to do that from BlogThis, for now I don't think you can BlogThisToTomorrow in one step. If you are posting to a group blog, where someone might publish while you are mucking around, you should probably mark your post as a draft before your first post, and then undraft it when you are setting the date, and that's also what you need to do from BlogThis: make it a draft, and then when you get done posting drafts go to pro.blogger.com and set the dates and undraft them.

Also, note that you are posting to the future, not posting and publishing to the future: when the date of a future post rolls around, that post will be published the next time the blog is published, but it won't automatically publish itself (drat: you can't pretend to be at your computer when you aren't).

Pro-creation : how to create a new Pro blog

Until Ev. builds a Pro version of the "create a new blog" engine, it's a bit tricky to create a new blog. If you start from the Pro home page you get a warning that you will have to sign out and back in there after your new blog is created, but if you create your blog from the "My blogs" select menu in the editor, there's no warning. What you have to remember is that you need to sign out and back in to Pro: after you create a new blog, you will be sent to the Classic editor, and if you click the "Sign Out" button there, you will be signed out of www.blogger.com but not out of pro.blogger.com. Create, go directly to Pro, sign out and in there, and your new blog will be available to Pro.

Titles

You need to do two things to start using post titles:

  1. Set "Show Title Field" on the Settings page, Formatting tab, to "Yes"
  2. Add the title code to your template

The title template code works a little like <BlogDateHeader>: when there is a <$BlogItemSubject$> to display for a post, then anything between <PostSubject> and </PostSubject> is added to the page, with the title you entered on the posting form replacing <$BlogItemSubject$>. If you don't give a particular post a title, then none of the html between <PostSubject> and </PostSubject> shows up for that post. So for a simple title format, you would use something like:

<PostSubject>
<h3><$BlogItemSubject$></h3>
</PostSubject>

Probably the first thing you will be tempted to try is to make the post title your permalink. Don't bother: the only bloggerTag that is interpreted inside <PostSubject> is <$BlogItemSubject$>. You can make titles into permalinks, but you'll have to do a little scripting to make it work. If you have PHP (or some lesser form of server-side scripting) that's the best way, since the permalinks will be available to any browser, but if you have to use Javascript you can still have permalink titles.

In PHP:

<PostSubject>
<? $PostTitle="<$BlogItemSubject$>"; ?>
</PostSubject>
<? echo "<a href=\"<$BlogItemArchiveFileName$>#<$BlogItemNumber$>\">$PostTitle</a>"; ?>

And in Javascript:

<PostSubject>
<script type="text/javascript">PostTitle="<$BlogItemSubject$>";</script>
</PostSubject>
<script type="text/javascript">document.write("<a href=\"<$BlogItemArchiveFileName$>#<$BlogItemNumber$>\">"+PostTitle+"</a>");</script>

In either case, but especially with the Javascript permalinks, it would be a good idea to also retain your "time-posted" permalinks, just because so many people expect to find a permalink there.

Powered by Blogger Pro buttons

In case you missed the code for the Blogger Pro buttons on the "thanks for upgrading" page, here they are:

<a href="http://pro.blogger.com"><img src="http://buttons.blogger.com/powered_by_blogger_pro2.gif" width="88" height="31" border="0" alt="Powered by Blogger Pro&#153;"></a>

gets you Powered by Blogger Pro™

and

<a href="http://pro.blogger.com"><img src="http://buttons.blogger.com/powered_by_blogger_pro.gif" width="88" height="31" border="0" alt="Powered by Blogger Pro&#153;"></a>

gets you Powered by Blogger Pro™

Note: I added in the border="0" cause I'm sure Ev. didn't mean for you to have that big ugly visited-link color border, just so people could see that the button is a link ;-)

[From Pro Thanks for Ordering]

Where's my pyRads?

Alex (and anyone else who has this problem), you should have gotten a code after paying at PayPal. It's just displayed on the thank you page, not emailed (we'll work on that). So it's possible you didn't even go there, or missed it.

To get your code, just email pro@blogger.com with your PayPal reciept and put "pyrad coupon request" in the subject.

Ev.

[From Blogger Discuss]