8 Aug 2007

New features in Blogger that we want to see

updated: 16 August 2007

I have been a loyal Blogger user since 2003 and have observed the gradual evolution of this popular blogging platform. Now, I can confidently say that it has single handedly brought the web closer to millions around the World.

Most of the extra features were introduced after Google took over Blogger from Pyra Labs in 2003. There was a complete overhaul after the launch of the new Blogger in August 2006. However, looking at Wordpress powered blogs with their numerous plugins, I can't help but feel a tinge of jealousy. So far, I have resisted the temptation to jump.

So what improvement would I like to see on blogger?

After discussions with a few other bloggers using the Blogger platform, I have compiled a short list as given below:

Page Elements:

First of all there are a number of widgets (or Page Elements as Blogger calls them) that I would love to see on Blogger:
  1. Top commentators.
  2. Most popular posts.
  3. Latest comments.
  4. Label cloud.
  5. List of related posts after every post.
  6. List of recent posts.
I already have the last 5 features on my blogs using hacks from various sources:

- Added the "most popular posts" list manually, based on the page statistics provided by Google Analytics.
- For recent comments, I use the simple widget provided by Blogger templates. Also read my post: Popups on my blogs.
- Got the hack for the label cloud from Phydeaux3.
- Got the hack for related posts (that come after every post) comes from Purple Moggy's Blog.
- List of recent posts from the IT Skyline blog.

Blogger allows us to upload pictures but wouldn't it be great if we could link those pictures to another page or site. Unfortunately, right now we can only put up a title and a caption.


I got around this problem by uploading the picture on a post and then using that picture with a desired link on the side bar using Add a Page Element > HTML/JavaScript.

Templates:

A lot of people would also be really happy if they gave us a few 3 column templates along with the generic 2 column ones to choose from even though there are some free sources out there on the net.

Etc.:

One thing that really bugs me is that Blogger doesn't allow me to show html coding inside the post. However, there is a solution. Check out the hack on the Beautiful Beat blog.

BTW, so many people have been asking me on how to put the Digg button on their blogs. So here's the code. Can't remember where I got it from though. If you are the author, please inform me and I will put up an acknowledgment accordingly.

1. Go to your dashboard
2. Choose your blog
3. Open the template
4. Click Edit HTML
5. Expand Widget Templates
6. Find
<p><data:post.body/></p>
in the template
7. Replace it with the following code. Just make sure you save your old template first.
<p>
<!-- DIGG -->
<div style='float:right; margin-left:10px;'>
<script type='text/javascript'>
digg_url = '<data:post.url/>';
</script>
<script src=' http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js' type='text/javascript'/>
</div>
<data:post.body/>
</p>
Are there any other features that you would like to see on blogger?

5 comments:

Dan Buell said...

I have been using blogger since 1999 and had to finally leave. There is no doubt that they have the best platform in the business but let's face it, they're generic templates are the ugliest in the game and they know this. There are hundreds of thousands of posts all over the web on the topic yet when Google invests in Blogger, they're build apps like polls, etc. and for some unknown reason they leave their butt ugly templates alone

Adam Mutum said...

Totally agree with you on that.

David Chen said...

First of all, thanks Adam for your recommendation about my tutorial on the new blogger recent posts widget! You have quite a widgetry blog now!
I really agree with most of points and requests that you made about new blogger and based on my experience, I too like to share my story and concerns...
I too found blogger back around 2004 when I was doing my software engineering team project for school and thought that I needed a blogging platform to communicate with my developers, update on progresses and share programming knowledge, you know the whole aspects of "social networking" had about to unleashed. Well, looked around back then, blogger was probably the best blog content management system for free that I have researched. From that day, blogger has been my choice for blogging. However, I totally agree with dan buell that the lack of template choices and ted ugliness of them was fine with my project blog during 2004, but in 2007 now, new blogger has transform into much smarter blog platform which is always the intention coming form Google. Just look at its main page, nothing else but that search box, simplicity at its finest...lol! So to ask Google to come up with elegant template design and such fancy widgets probably is like asking strangers for a kiss...lol! They will comply if the community pressure enuf and I mean our voice as new blogger fans can really make a difference! Since I am also using wordpress, I can make few judgments based on my experience thus far. wordpress has very clean content design and equates to SEO friendly! It has superior collections of template designs and tons of useful widgets. It also has built in stats analysis and import/export web services for other blog platforms! As you can see Wordpress is becoming a way better choice for blogging community and I find that is a great thing because now new blogger gotta feel the pressure to up the antes just for the heck of "retaining" bloggers! Can't blame Google's new blogger team tho, Wordpress team is probably younger and more artistic than they will ever get.
However, I still think that new blogger can be just a good if not better if Google gets their head together and start making blog services that are more relevant, more SEO friendly and more attractive! That is why in 2007 late July, I have decided to go for new blogger as of late savvy Wordpress blogger since June of 2007! It was a tuf move and adsense also have something to do with it. It was a rough start like you too experienced, but luckily due to my semi-expertize in web development and design. I can to start liking new blogger considering that I have to do most of hack and tweak to magnify the difference from millions of same blogs out there using default templates.
Now, that I have invested a lot in new blogger and the least i hope that Google can do is by add few more useful widgets for their blogging community in return, is that too much to ask? Well, lets see how the new blogger future pan out. I am glad that you blog about this issue, it has been in my chest for few months now!

Adam Mutum said...

David: Thanks for dropping by my blog and that really long and insightful comment.

Codreanu said...

You are absolutely right on that. I would like to do the same for my blog at http://www.mdro.blogspot.com

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