Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blogger Issues

So, I figured out what's up with Blogger, or at least how to work around the crazy, as is probably clear from the fact that the anthology post went up last night. For anyone else using Blogger, here's what I figured out:

The closest I've found to an announcement about the change is a Blogger Buzz piece about Blogger's Fresh New Look from 31 August. That's all about the changes to the layout of the interface; there's nothing there about messing with the functionality. Or maybe that's implied in:

We’ve rewritten the entire editing and management experience from scratch so it’s faster and more efficient for you

although that's not how I'd have described it. [cough]

Speaking of speed, everything about Blogger has slowed way down; it's been frustratingly slow since yesterday. I don't know if that's inherent in the new interface, or if it's because all the users (like me) who didn't opt in earlier were pitched head-first into all this fresh newness and have been clicking around the system trying to figure out how to turn it off. I'm hoping the latter, because that implies things will speed up again once folks figure out how to manage in the new environment.

Oh, and there's this bit:

Starting today, we’ll gradually let all bloggers choose to turn on the new UI, so your Blogger experience won’t be updated until you enable it.

Wow, that lasted a whole ten days! :/ Or maybe nine -- Charles said his Novel Spaces post was messed up enough that it failed to auto-post as it'd been set to do the night of the 9th/10th.

The good news is there's a fix, although in keeping with the whole WTFishness of the situation, it's not spelled out anywhere and it's not where you might expect it to be. It's simple, but not immediately obvious (even after you've done what you need to do), which makes it more frustrating than it should've been.

If you click on New Post and get the edit window, on the right is a gear icon labelled Options. Click on that, and the third and last option is "Line breaks" with two radio buttons. One is "Use [BREAK] tag" and the other is "Press 'Enter' for line breaks." Click on the second one, and you can type or paste in your post the same way you did before.

There's no blog-level option that I found to change this universally, and when I tested it last night by starting a second new post after the anthology post went up, the default was still set to BREAK tags. I could change it to use Enter, but I had to change it; at that point I assumed that the BREAK tag option was hard-coded as the default and that I'd have to reset the option every time I created a new post. Also, when I went back into Edit mode on some of my old posts last night, they were still full of BREAK tags, which reinforced my conclusion that we were being strongly herded toward that mode for... whatever reason.

When I came back this morning to write up this what-I've-found post, though, the option had changed. Starting a new post automatically came up with the Enter option, and when I went into edit on an old post, it had been converted back to the Enter format. I don't know whether a change went in overnight, or whether it just takes the system that long to notice the last mode you used, update your New Post default option, and convert your old posts. Although if it's converting all your old posts whenever you switch, that might be another factor in the slowdowns, which would also be good news because that would mean that once everyone is settled into their preferred option, the system should speed up again. [crossed fingers]

So the bottom line is that there's this Fresh New Interface to deal with, but once you've told the system which edit option you prefer, it'll eventually remember and it's business as usual from that point on.

I still have no clue why the BREAK option was set as the initial default. If I wanted to have to deal with ridiculous defaults whenever the system upgraded, I'd have joined Facebook, seriously. Whoever's responsible for that one needs a smack upside the head to jar a few brain cells loose, but at least it's not a permanent option the way it seemed to be last night.

Oh, and one good thing about the change, to be fair. When you hit Preview now, you get a separate window. You can look over the preview, go back to the edit window to change something, then go right back to the preview window without losing your place there. Previously, hitting Preview brought up the preview in the same window, and if you saw something you wanted to fix, you had to scroll up and hit Hide Preview to get back to edit, then hit Preview again and scroll to find your place to continue proofreading; this is something that's been annoying for a long time, particularly for the anthology market posts, which tend to be very long. So the development team gets a cookie for this particular improvement.

Back to business.



Charles Gramlich said...

I do like the second window. I'd gotten pretty efficient at hitting the back and forward buttons to view posts but this will work better. Didn't have much trouble this morning with posting.

Angie said...

Charles -- it's cool that something good has come of it. [nod] I just wish it'd happened without all the accompanying gluteal haberdashery.