Sunday, May 02, 2010

[Rant] Slogging Blogger

Slogging Blogger: I have been keeping a blog now for over ten years. Originally I did everything myself, updated the pages and all the history manually, as often as every other day. After a few months of that, I took advantage of the free blogspot domain name that came with a Blogger account and switched over to Blogger, which automates a lot of this stuff. This was still long before Google bought Blogger.

In the course of this process, while I struggled with self-learning HTML and JavaScript, I made some decisions about the site design. Most notably, I decided that I would keep graphics to a bare minimum for the sake of fast loading. Nothing is more annoying to me than waiting for page to load that contains 5 megs of ads and graphics when all that is really important is 5k of text information. As a matter of scruple I would manage bandwidth efficiently. (This was back in the days of dial-up.)

So Google takes over Blogger; things get a lot faster, more reliable, and functional advancements come. They offer some basic templates and a few other tools, but I'm not interested because I just want to get my words up there so I continue with my more or less hand-coded site. In time Google offers more advanced templates, more complicated to edit and maintain, but with a wealth of flashy capabilities. Over time many bloggers switch to these templates (an onerous process) and most new bloggers use them from the get go. Not me, though -- no need.

Then, suddenly, about a month or two ago, Google gets the bright idea that they need to cut down on bandwidth. Too many bloggers are sending too much info through their servers. So they generate some advanced formula to limit how many posts of each site can go on the front page. Some folks who overload their sites with all sorts of gaudy visual crap barely get more than one post at a time. Others, like me, now get 20 posts, or roughly four months, whereas I was used to getting about two years worth of posts. Not good, in my view.

They attempted to mitigate this regression by automatically placing next and previous page links at the bottom of the page so that even if you couldn't get the number of posts you wanted on the front page, you could at least page through them in order. EXCEPT, the next page links only work on new templates. Those of us old-timers on old-style or handmade templates were left out in the cold, the only thing we can do is make sure archives are enabled -- which is what you see over to the right -- so that older posts can be accessed. So now if you want to look at older posts than what you see here on the front page, you have to troll through the archives to find them. Sheesh.

Anyway, the solution for me is to either bite the bullet and covert to a new template, or move to another service such as Wordpress. I'll sort it out in time, and I'm sure this is less annoying to you than it is to me. But it's my blog so I'll rant if I want to. I'm so happy to have another stupid maintenance task hovering over my head.