Welcome to The Real Blogger Status - Beta. Please note the warnings (as of 6/13: 0 active), and the alerts (as of 1/10/2007: 5 active).

Please be aware of the naming variances in this blog. You will find various references to "Classic" / "Old Template 2006" Blogger, and to "Beta" / "New Template 2006" Blogger.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Beta Evaluation

Today is September 16. I made my first post in this blog on August 16, so this is my one month evaluation.

The Good


  • Labels.
  • Archives, to replace Previous Posts.
  • The Page Layout editor / GUI Template.
  • The improvedTemplate editor.
  • Private blogs, requiring authentication.
  • The improved Main Page view.
  • The improved Edit Posts screen.
  • Various minor tweaks.
    • The Edit Posts screen lets you page forward and backwards, when there are more posts then will fit on the maximum requested posts screen.
    • The post editor actually highlighted an error, in addition to saying that I had made one.
    • Instant publishing - no spinner of death.



The Bad


The Ugly


The Good

Labels
If I was to pick one feature which would keep me in a Beta Blog, it would be Labels. The ability to associate posts by keyword, dynamically, is useful. Just that. But take that ability, and generate a custom main page view, of all posts with that keyword. Way more than useful. Very user friendly.

Archives
The old 10 Previous Posts list is no more, it's been integrated with the archives.

The Page Layout (aka Page Elements) Editor
The ability to customise 75% (my guess) of all blog features, using a GUI process, is a big relief. The template editor is not very user friendly. But defining commonly used features in a GUI process, and letting us change their characteristics, goes a long way towards making the template editor unnecessary.

Just moving elements within the page is a major improvement. Want a link list at the top of the sidebar? Grab it, drag it, and drop it. Want to change colours and / or fonts? We now have a standardised setting process for that. No more "Why did that change size?").

The slightly improved Template editor.
The template editing process, while substantially like the old, helps you to save and restore your current template, using a GUI process. This will encourage each of us to save our templates more readily, which will reduce stress level when editing templates, which may reduce mistakes. I know that it will for me. Plus we can make smaller changes, leading to more understanding of what we are doing, and possibly less mistakes.

And a possibility for endless activity - template HTML now supports Javascript. I am just getting in to this - but there is real potential for pushing into new territory.

Authentication
Using a Google account / password to authenticate ourselves allows blogs to be made private for viewing, as well as for adminstration. And it integrates well with the menu of blogs (ie "dashboard") under our control.

The Improved Main Page View
Under Classic Blogs, you could have 2 views - main page, and article. You could have an article view of any specific post, but you could have a sequential ("main page") view of only the latest 10 (or whatever number the blog owner determined) posts. If the articles of interest weren't in that latest x number, it was time to look by post name. Oh yes, there was no post name list (excepting of course the 10 previous posts). Good luck finding a post by title!

Now, your main page view is unlimited. The limitation simply affects how many in a single view - when you get to the end of the page, just hit "Newer" or "Older". And integrating Label search results into main page view makes it great.

The Vastly Improved Edit Posts Screen
Start with the first improvement that I saw weeks ago. When you peruse the Edit Posts list, if you decide upon a limit of 50 posts, that's now just 50 posts on the first screen. More than 50 posts? Hit "Older" ("Newer").

And it gets better. All posts are listed, with their Labels. Want a comprehensive list, by post, of all labels used? Here it is.

And in another column is a master list of all labels. If you click on one, the list of posts shows all posts for that label. And each post listing all labels for that post. Want a labels cross-reference? Here it is.

And we have ability to select listed posts, and then to add or remove a selected label. Need to change one label for another? Here's a list to do this from, quite painlessly.

And a minor (but not very much so) item. For each post with Comments, you get a link to view the comments for that post.

Various Minor Tweaks
A nice experience here. I actually went to Publish a post, and was told that I was missing an opening "<a>" (unbalanced "</a>"). The difference here was that it highlighted the offending "</a>"!

The spinner of death is no more. When you Publish a post, or edit the template, your changes save instantly. No more waiting. YAY!

The Bad

Feeds

Authentication

Publishing To External Servers

Post Summaries

There's No Going Back, Folks!

Not all features are available to blogs that are published externally (aka FTP blogs).

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2 comments:

Refugee from Reason said...

A few questions:
1. Is Blogger Beta stable?
2. Once switched to it, can one switch back to "classic?"
3. Is anything lost in the migration to "Beta?"
4. It appears that at this point one cannot post to Beta from Word, is this true?

Thanks

Bonez said...

I've learned a lot from your blogs but still am confused on the primary item of my concern. How in the world do I move my current blog to the new Blogger/Google version? I've had recent problems with display in IE6 and like a lot of the new features I see in the Blogger BETA but don't want to lose all my work (and visitors) to my current blog. Got suggestions or links to a simple "how to" to move? BTW, my current blog is Bonez and is at http://thembonez.blogspot.com if that is any help. Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.