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February 06, 2007

More on new template

I've spent a few hours over the past several days fiddling with my new template. After I was forced to switch to New Blogger, I decided to switch to a New-Blogger-compatible template, which happens to look a lot like my old one.

Much as I disliked the way I was forced to switch to New Blogger, I think it's an improvement -- at least in the sense that the template is easier to fool around with. There are still issues with certain types of modifications. For example, you may have noticed that my permalinked pages have a list of "Newest Posts at Pillage Idiot" at the bottom, just as they had in my old template. This is done with FeedDigest, but the implementation in New Blogger was tricky. Not only did I have to figure out where to place the code to put the feed in the right place but I had to add some "if/else" code to make sure it didn't show up at the bottom of my main page. It shows up on archive pages, too, but I haven't figured out yet how to stop that.

I did some research and discovered that you can put the Newer Post/Older Post links at the top of permalinked pages, not just at the bottom, and that you can also change the text. You'll notice my text says "Next Idiotic Post/Previous Idiotic Post." No one has explained to me -- and as far as I can tell, no one has even questioned -- why the "Newer Post" link is on the left and the "Older Post" link is on the right. It seems obvious that older should be on the left and newer on the right. What are we? Israelis? We read from left to right, and older to newer should track that. But, for New Blogger, it doesn't.

So far, my favorite hack, which is still a work in progress, comes from The Last Word. This young Indian blogger named Aditya Mukherjee has a nice hack in which clicking on the labels in a list in your sidebar brings down the titles of the relevant posts, and you can click on them to read the posts. In New Blogger, clicking on a label brings up the complete posts on a new page. The hack I got from The Last Word is far better. There really are some creative people out there.

UPDATE (2/8): Aditya's post suggests using CSS to adjust the layout of the post titles in the hack described above. I know nothing about CSS, except what it is, but I did some guessing here. I remember that I'd removed some CSS code about lists, because the way my template was set up, list items had an orange arrow bullet point and were separated by dotted lines. Fortunately, I'd saved the code in a TXT document, and I guessed about how to apply it to my drop-down list of post titles. It seems to work in Firefox, but not in IE6 or IE7. Go figure. It's the opposite for my extended posts code. The basic code works in both Firefox and IE, but I was able to get the font of the "Click here to read more" text to appear larger and in blue in IE, but not in Firefox, where it's the standard size and link color. I've heard that different browsers render code differently, but maybe this is just something I don't know how to do.