Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Switching Templates Again/Trying Out Blogger's New Custom Templates

All right. Since the switch to the new Blogger went so smoothly, I decide to play around with one of the new features, custom layouts. I was hoping that there would be a few new templates in there to play with, but there aren't. Despite that I switched to a new, old template. Green again. I seem to have a thing for green templates.

I got brave and included a photo this time. Over the years I've enjoyed finally seeing photos of other bloggers, so I decided to include mine. Unfortunately, most photos I have of myself were taken on holidays, and I only seem to travel to really hot, humid places, which don't make for a portrait you'd want to hang on a blog. This photo is a crop out from a snapshot taken at school, hence the arm growing out of my head. It's also a bit fuzzy, but it's the best I have at the moment.

But that is more than enough about me. More important are these new custom layouts. They are pretty slick. You get to build your page in a modular way. You have lots of options of things to add to your sidebar, such as lists of links, photos, logos, feeds from other sites, and HTML code from other sites, such as counters. Once you've created these modules, you can drag and drop them to where you want them. It's all very simple and doesn't require any special technical knowledge beyond knowing how to cut and paste.You've always been able to make these sorts of changes if you knew HTML code. This new system removes the need to know it.

Other changes are a redesigned Dashboard that is easier to use, posts publish much more quickly, and the spell check is less cumbersome and has a larger dictionary. Since Blogger is part of the Google empire, you do need to switch from your old login to a Google login.

The only trouble I've had was trying to access comments using Flock. However, our Internet is still a bit dodgy due to the severed cables near Taiwan, so all that may straighten out once we are back to full speed.

All in all, the new Blogger seems to be largely improved. It makes the old Blogger seem slow and outdated. Give it a try if you still haven't made the move.