Wednesday, September 06, 2006 12:35 AM

Beta Blogger Bugs

That's why they call it a Beta. I've run into a good number so far. Too bad they don't have bugzilla, or if they do, it's not where the public can use it.

Here's some fun bits so far:

I was cleaning out some of the cruft that CSS templates accumulate over time, figuring that with the conversion to the new system, this was a great time to do it. In so doing, I went through the newly supplied Beta template, added in some divs and some classes, and removed old dead stuff. I also removed an extra div with class ArchiveList from the CSS, thinking I'd put it in a couple days ago when I was trying to get the font in the nested lists for blog archives not to shrink to subatomic proportions.

Some time later I noticed that toggles in the blog archive section weren't having any effect. Oh, they changed the actual toggle, all right, from the "closed" (pointed sideways) position to the "open" (pointed down) one, but the list of posts stayed the same as before, no matter if the toggle was open or closed.

That's right, dear reader, these two are events are connected. As it turns out, you have to have that div, and it has to have that class, or the toggles do nothing.

Now, some divs are auto-generated by Blogger, like the ones that are produced from every <b:section> and <b:widget> tag. You can't actually remove the divs by themselves, but you can remove the tags, and when you do, you know you're removing functionality. But stray markup that the user can remove without removing underlying objects *should not* break a widget. That's poor user interface design. At the very least it should be *documented somewhere*... and now it is, on this blog. Hmmph.

Some other generic bugs: various blog settings don't seem to work. I set "Show 7 pages on main page" and as you can plainly see, there are more than seven showing. Likewise, I can't turn off quick edit icons; I finally commented them out in the CSS because I find them distracting.

And they really have got to get a better template syntax checker, or allow the user the option to see all errors, not just the first one, along with an indication of where the checker bailed out.

I did beat the "Upload a new template and we'll delete all your widgets" syndrome though. They have some sort of automatic renaming system for widgets, so if you call a widget "Blog" (since you have only one of these widgets, why call it anything else?), they'll rename it to "Blog1". Ok, I guess that's not a big deal. But then when you edit your same template file locally using a nice editor (have I said something good about emacs this week?), and upload it with the changes, it still has the name "Blog" that you used. And so Beta offers to delete the Blog1 widget that it created after it rewrote your template file the first time. Not very nice!

The obvious solution, which does work, is to upload your template once, save the rewritten version, format it how you like, and don't ever touch the widget names. You can edit that one locally and upload it without problems.

Until the next update, anyways...