Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Introduction to the new Google Blogger

Recently, Google Blogger has upgraded their blogging platform to a format that is very friendly to people who do not know or do not wish to learn about HTML (HyperTex Mark Up language). If you know how to manage an email account, you should be able to manage a Blogger blog and even do some customization of the standard template from Blogger.

I have another blog Dummies Guide to Blogger (close new window/tab to get back to this page) which contain a lot of posts that are still applicable to the new Blogger plus ways to find new relevant posts by using the Google sitesearch box and checking for topics in the CATEGORIES in the sidebar, which can lead you to posts of my other blogs Blogger Tips and Tricks (close new window/tab to return to this page) and Testing Blogger Beta (close new window/tab to return to this page). I changed the title of the blog but left the URL intact and going to use this blog as a replacement and also to concentrate on the New Blogger.

The new Blogger will enable anyone to easily set up a blog and to customize the blog without any knowledge of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) and Blogger tags. One major improvement is the introduction of the template LAYOUT where you can add page elements plus drag and drop them to whereever you like:

Blogger new template LAYOUT

What's new in Blogger?

We've been hard at work here at Blogger headquarters and the time has come to share with you all the new features and goodies we've been creating. The features below are only available with Blogger in beta, so you'll need to switch in order to get them. (It's still free, though - that's one thing we're not changing!)
Dynamic Serving

The biggest change of all is perhaps the least immediately visible, but it affects the entire underlying structure of Blog*Spot. What used to happen was that Blogger would create static HTML files on your Blog*Spot account every time you published, and those files would remain there unchanged until your next update. In the new version, adding a new post simply updates your information in our database. Then, when someone wants to see any of the pages on your blog, those pages are created for them dynamically, on the fly.

This makes the process of updating your blog much simpler and faster. You don't have to remember to republish anymore, or decide whether to do a "republish index only" or "republish all." The instant you save a new post, template design, or settings change, your blog is updated. No more waiting for the publishing indicator to creep its way up to 100%.

Note: Naturally, people publishing their blogs to their own servers will not be able to take advantage of dynamic serving on Blog*Spot. Read more about using Blogger in beta with externally hosted blogs.
Access Control

If your blog is relatively private, you can choose who you want to be able to view it, and restrict access to everyone else. Share your family reunion photos with only other family members, for instance, or just keep your private thoughts and feelings in your own private blog. For more information, check out the new access control settings.

Organize your posts with labels to add an extra dimension to your blog. Instead of just browsing chronologically, you'll be able to dynamically display all posts from any given category, and visitors can zero in on the topics that interest them most. For more information, read about how to use labels.
More Site Feed Options

We've added several new options to your site feed settings. In addition to the usual feed of your blog posts, you can have a feed for all the comments on your blog, and even individual feeds for all the comments on each separate post. Your visitors can use these feeds to find out if someone responds to their comments, or to follow discussions on your blog. The default format of the feeds will be upgraded from Atom 0.3 to Atom 1.0. Also, for you die-hard RSS fans out there, you'll be able to optionally get all feeds in RSS 2.0 format instead of Atom. For more information, check out the new site feed settings.
Improved Dashboard

We've made some tweaks to your dashboard, to make things a bit more convenient for you. For instance, you can access your "View Blog" and "Template" links right from this page now, without having to click through to another page first. Also, we've replaced some of the icons with text links, which should be clearer and easier to use. You'll notice a bit of a change to the Edit Posts page, as well, with a spruced-up look and better support for scrolling back through your older posts.
Google Accounts

Your account won't just be a Blogger account any longer, but a full-fledged Google Account, with all the extra security and convenience that provides. If you already have a Google Account, you can merge your Blogger account with it when you switch. If not, you can create a new one for free. Learn about switching to a Google Account here.
On the Horizon

All this is just the beginning, with much more to come. Dynamic serving will provide us with some interesting new ways to sort and search blogs by topic or keyword, for instance. We've got some other fun possibilities in mind as well, like fancier template editing and more posting features. The sky's the limit, so stay tuned for more features and updates!

If you've got some cool ideas of your own, add them to the wishlist.

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