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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Tabs - differences between new xml LAYOUT template and old classic template


For a blog reader whose POSTING tabs have only NEW POST an EDIT POSTS sub-tabs with no EDIT PAGES sub-tabs, his blog probably is still using the old classic template and not the new xml LAYOUT (now called DESIGN) template.

If so, you can see from the DASHBOARD that the DESIGN tab will be missing and in its place will be the TEMPLATE tab highlighted in red (see screenshot below):

Screenshot old classic template tabs

Those with the new xml LAYOUT (now called DESIGN) will see DESIGN tab (highlighted in red in the screenshot below) and not TEMPLATE as in the above screenshot:

Screenshot new xml DESIGN template tabs

Update: If for any reason you want to use the old classic template, you can still do so irrespective of whether your blog initially started with the old classic template or your blog is a brand new blog. All you need to do is to go to the Dashboard, click the DESIGN (previously LAYOUT) tab, then Edit HTML tab and at the bottom you will see under Old Templates:
Layout Templates (Launched 2006)
Select Layout Template

Classic Templates
Revert to Classic Template | View Classic Template

Click Revert to Classic Template and your blog will be using the old classic template.

Blogger revert to old classic template

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Map showing location of visitors - How

A blog reader wants a map in his blog sidebar to show locations of visitors to his blog like the one you see at the bottom of the first left sidebar of Career and you (note: that blog is a demo blog with not many visitors so you may not see many dots on the map, but will be different if your blog has lots of visitors).

To install a similar gadget for your blog, an easy option will be to go to ClustRmaps, type or copy-paste your blog URL, type in your email address and click [Make my map] and the codes for your map will be generated.

Sign into your Dashboard > Design > HTML/Javascript gadget

Paste the codes into a HTML/Javascript gadget, save, drag the gadget to wherever you want the map display, save and it is done,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Easily make HTML sitemap for your blog using Javascript

Note: HTML sitemap to facilate vistior (human) navigation only. If you are looking for a sitemap to submit to Webmaster, you will need an XML sitemap or a Google Sitemap.

A commentator at Blogger Tips and Tricks (HTML) Sitemap (Table of Content) said: "Hi Peter, This sitemap is really good and helpful. I would like to add a sitemap like this one to my blogger blogs. Can you please give me a detailed reply on creating a sitemap like this and loading it to blogs and then to Webmaster tools."

Fortunately for me, that is not difficult a task for all you need to do is to first create a post or better, a static page, making sure you are in the Edit HTML mode, copy the following Javascript:

<script style="text/javascript" src="http://www.abu-farhan.com/script/daftarisiblogger/blogtoc-min.js"></script>
<script src="http://myblog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?max-results=9999&alt=json-in-script&callback=loadtoc"></script>


and paste it into the post editor/page editor making sure to replace http://myblog.blogspot.com with the actual URL of your blog. To make this clearer, below are 2 examples of the codes I used to create such HTML sitemaps of 2 of my blogs, one of which is Blogger for Dummies sitemap which is a blogspot blog with the URL http://bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com:

<script style="text/javascript" src="http://www.abu-farhan.com/script/daftarisiblogger/blogtoc-min.js"></script>
<script src="http://bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?max-results=9999&alt=json-in-script&callback=loadtoc"></script>


and the other Blogger Tips and Tricks Sitemap which is a custom domain with my own registered domain name http://www.bloggertipsandtricks.com without the blogspot in the URL:

<script style="text/javascript" src="http://www.abu-farhan.com/script/daftarisiblogger/blogtoc-min.js"></script>
<script src="http://www.bloggertipsandtricks.com/feeds/posts/default?max-results=9999&alt=json-in-script&callback=loadtoc"></script>


Note that such HTML sitemap generated by the above Javascript automatically updates each time you publish a new post and is fuss and maintenance free.

Regarding submitting to Google Webmaster, the above generates a HTML sitemap and not a XML sitemap so is not suitable for submission to Google Webmaster, but it would be instructive to hear what Matt Cutts of Google have to say about HTML sitemap.

Regarding XML sitemap, perhaps for now refer to Adding Google sitemap to your blog. I will follow up with another post on sitemaps later.

Acknowledgement: We are indebted to Abu Farhan for the Javascript used in this post.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Fixed width versus fluid width templates

The very first task after settling on a URL of a blogger would be to select a template. Initially you can select any as they can be easily changed. However, eventually you will have to select the final template for the blog and that can either be a fixed width layout or a fluid (liquid) width layout.

Definition: Fixed layouts are layouts that start with a specific width for the main column and sidebars, determined by the template designer. They remain that width, regardless of the size of the browser window viewing the page. Fixed width layouts allow a designer more direct control over how the page will look in most situations. They are often preferred by designers with a print background, as they allow the designer to make minute adjustments to the layout and have them remain consistent across browsers and computers. (Fixed width layout)

Definition: Liquid layout are layouts that are based on percentages of the current browser window's size. They flex with the size of the window, even if the current viewer changes their browser size as they're viewing the site. Liquid width layouts allow a very efficient use of the space provided by any given Web browser window or screen resolution. They are often preferred by designers who have a lot of information to get across in as little space as possible, as they remain consistent in size and relative page weights regardless of who is viewing the page. (Liquid Layout)

The reason why some bloggers may opt for the fluid width template is that they want to fully utilize the whole width of a computer screen of a visitor so there will be no "wasted' blank space anywhere as the content of the blog will stretch or shrink according the the width of the computer screen. This however bring the disadvantage of not being in full control over how a visitor view the blog and may result in some unintended results such as when you add a wide photo which may look very awkward on a small narrow screen.

I very much prefer fixed width template as I will then know what are the limits of what I can put in the content with fixed widths.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to create composite image of 2 photos side-by-side


I have shown how to display 2 images side by side using the HTML table tag <table> but because a blogger asked to display a particular pair of photos side by side which actually turned out to be a single composite picture of 2 photos side by side, I am going to illustrate how this alternative method do displaying 2 photos side-by-side using my favorite free Irfanview photo editor.

First I am going to upload 2 photos of some trishaws (pedicab, bikecab, cyclo, becak, or rickshaw or in my country, becha) taken during my holidays in idyllic Terengganu displayed below using HTML table tag
:



Say, supposed you are HTMLphbic, meaning you hate HTML, here is how to make a single composite image of 2 photos side-by-side. First, open Irfanview or similar photo editors. I then go to Menu > Create New (Empty) Image (see screen shot below) and create an empty image, say, 800x500. Using the mouse, drag and drop to select a rectangle roughly proportional to the size of the photo (see screen shot below, red arrow to highlight selected rectangle):

Drag and drop with mouse to create selection with Irfanview
Screen shot 2


Now go to one of the photo, right-click on the photo and select COPY IMAGE to copy into clipboard (see screen shot below):

Screen shot 3


Now go to the first image that you want in the composite picture, either right-click on the image and select COPY IMAGE or go to the Menu, click EDIT > COPY IMAGE to copy image into clipboard. Now go back to the created image with the selected rectangle (screen shot 2), go to MENU > EDIT > PASTE and the first photo will be pasted into the selected triangle just like the screen shot below:

After pasting first photo, creating second rectangle to paste second photo of composite image

Now drag and drop to create the second selection (see screen shot above) and copy-paste the second photo and you will end up with the single composite photo with 2 images side-by-side:

Final composite image comprising 2 photos side-by-side

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Sticky post question and answers (plural)

This is a very frequent question and often answered by using editing the post date (newest) so that it always remain at the top. Previously we could postdate it to the future which is no longer possible because Blogger now will schedule the post to be published in the future instead of publishing it with the postdated date. Thus the post can at most post to current date and each time a new post is made at the current date, the date of the "sticky post" have to be edited again so that the new post is further into the past to make the "stick post" remain at the top: How to make post remain at the top of the homepage

Alternative is to add a Text or HTML/Javascript gadget at the top of the main column (posts) and write it like a post. His will have the disadvantage of being at the top of the main column in all pages of the blog, not only in the homepage: How you can easily make a "sticky post"

The third alternative is to try this hack - Chronological post order hack

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spam blogs deletion & Custom Domain. Immune to deletion?

If your blog has been deleted, refer to How to restore blog deleted as splog or TOS violation.

This post was inspired by 2 emails, one regarding the widespread deletion of blogspot.com blogs and one regarding web hosting. I myself have had 3 blogs related of which one probably was because it was a song, music and video blog which had many embedded Youtube videos. From a quick reading of Blogger Buzz A quick note about music blog removals, it was probably because of Blogger.com enforcing its Terms of Service as they relate to their DMCA policy. However, if so, I should have received a notification. Anybody who received such notifications should file a DMCA counter-notification. As that was a minor blog and the other 2 were just blogs for demonstration of some third party templates, I did not bother to appeal or to try to reverse the deletion, which probably will be a very difficult or tedious process.

However, I do have quite a number of more important blogs including Blogger Tips and Tricks which have a not insignificant number of embedded Youtube videos and thus perhaps susceptible to sudden deletion, thus thinking of custom domain blogs.

Why custom domain blogs? These I believe will not be susceptible to deletion as my earlier assumption that blogs using custom domain would be immune to such deletions have proven to be false hope. However, it has come to my notice that some blogs using custom domain and thus hosted by Blogger.com had also been deleted. Further, Blogger.com will be stopping support for those using the old classic Blogger template, publishing via FTP and hosting the blog themselves by March 26 2010 (see Important Note to FTP Users).

This means that if you are very worried about your blog being suddenly deleted, you may have to consider self-hosted blogs with other non-Blogger.com blogging platform like Wordpress.com, etc. I myself may consider starting a self-hosted Wordpress.com blog for testing, learning with the possibility of making it long term.

Thus my interest in the second email which was about web hosting by doteasy.com which offered free web hosting as well as an “unlimited” hosting plan at $9.95 per month with unlimited storage, bandwidth and all the bells and whistles I possibly may need. Further, with this coupon code 1003BPM, I can get a dotcom domain for $7.95 (as at time of posting, but may change).

Now the first email from Chris of Blogger Victim who is campaigning to try to persuade Blogger.com to modify their blog deletion policies and methods. Do pop over to their blog if you want to find out more about what is happening and if you want to assist them in their campaign.
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