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I've been thinking to moving to blogger's new beta thing, but am a bit cautious in case something goes wrong and I lose all my content. Has anyone here made the switch? Was it easy and problem free? and was it worth it?

Matt

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I've been thinking to moving to blogger's new beta thing, but am a bit cautious in case something goes wrong and I lose all my content. Has anyone here made the switch? Was it easy and problem free? and was it worth it?

Matt

Can you not download an xml (I think this is the right term) of your current blog (or the beta blogger) for backup and to import into the new beta? I'm in the habit of drafting all of my posts in Text Edit (or word or open office or whatever you use) and saving them on my computer anyway, although I don't do this ALL of the time.

Edited by Chashab
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Can you not download an xml (I think this is the right term) of your current blog (or the beta blogger) for backup and to import into the new beta? I'm in the habit of drafting all of my posts in Text Edit (or word or open office or whatever you use) and saving them on my computer anyway, although I don't do this ALL of the time.

Most blogging systems worth their salt allow you to to create a backup of all of your entries in the form of some sort of downloadable text file. Unfortunately, Blogger's method is a little more difficult than most -- here are the instructions. By contrast, WordPress (another free blogging system) does it all for you.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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FWIW, the only reason I'm even aware of Beta Blogger is because a friend of mine posted some comments at his own blog, expressing his disgust with Beta.

Oh, and Blogger seems to be in English, at least on my computer. Never heard about it going German before; must be something unique to Ellen's connection. (Has she deleted her cookies lately, maybe?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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To be honest, I've never been a fan of Blogger, but lean more towards "standalone" blogging systems like Wordpress, Movable Type, or Expression Engine (my new love). Blogger's fine for what it is, but I think most people quickly grow out of Blogger's functionality, even if they don't know it.

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Those would all be great options if I had a Mac.... ;) but I don't, so Blogger it is for now.

The systems that I mentioned aren't programs you install on your personal computer. They're hosted, web-based systems a la Blogger, only much more powerful and flexible. All you need is a solid webhost and a web browser.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Thanks for your responses guys

: Can you not download an xml...

Hmmm, you lost me already - do you just mean a back up? I've been manually storing those month by month in case things all went wrong. I suppose that would make things easier. I think I just don't want to go offline for ages and lose the tiny number of regular readers I have (either of them)

The three reasons I'm drawn towards swapping are

1 - Categories or Tags or whatever

2 - Being able to improve my template without a degree in HTML

3 - Just to keep up with the latest developments and who knows what extra useful stuff there might be?

I've thought about switching to something better, but then all my links, and the links others have mae to my pages would go awry I think.

I'm not very technical on all this stuff, so advice is best given in computer idiot speak for my benefit.

Thanks

Matt

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I'm not at all versed in design, other than very, very basic hand-coding. And I'm not that interested in trying to learn all kinds of hacks. So Blogger works fine for me - I've thought about changing, but I'm one of those people who who thinks CSS is a TV network, so I'm not sure that I need to have all kinds of options built into blogging software. ;) (Maybe I do, but I'm not convinced that I could get the look I'd want without studyng web design, getting a Mac, etc.)

Ah, I think I see what you're getting at. However, you certainly don't need to be a web design pro to use the other systems I mentioned. Most, if not all of them, come with pre-built designs that you can implement quite easily.

Hmmm, you lost me already - do you just mean a back up? I've been manually storing those month by month in case things all went wrong. I suppose that would make things easier. I think I just don't want to go offline for ages and lose the tiny number of regular readers I have (either of them)

As I said before, most blogging systems allow you to archive your files in one way or another. And most of the time, it's as a big long text file that stores all of your entries in the XML format (which is just a very flexible way of cataloging and organizing data that is easy to share between computers, or in this case, blogging systems).

I've thought about switching to something better, but then all my links, and the links others have mae to my pages would go awry I think.

If one does switch to a different blogging system -- which would likely result in all of your links changing -- there are ways to redirect people from the old links to the new links. However, if you've got a lot of entries, this can get somewhat messy and complicated.

Of course, if you ever do switch, you could theoretically set up some sort of generic error page that displays whenever someone goes to one of the old links and tells them to go to your new site.

I'm not very technical on all this stuff, so advice is best given in computer idiot speak for my benefit.

[Must... resist... telling... bad... computer... jokes...]

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Thanks for your responses guys

: Can you not download an xml...

Hmmm, you lost me already - do you just mean a back up? I've been manually storing those month by month in case things all went wrong. I suppose that would make things easier. I think I just don't want to go offline for ages and lose the tiny number of regular readers I have (either of them)

The three reasons I'm drawn towards swapping are

1 - Categories or Tags or whatever

2 - Being able to improve my template without a degree in HTML

3 - Just to keep up with the latest developments and who knows what extra useful stuff there might be?

I've thought about switching to something better, but then all my links, and the links others have mae to my pages would go awry I think.

I'm not very technical on all this stuff, so advice is best given in computer idiot speak for my benefit.

Thanks

Matt

I just switched services myself, from a paid website builder (SquareSpace.com) to WordPress. I really like WordPress for the most part. It does all of the things I was using SquareSpace for (with the possible exception of a gallery template, although I've just switched that to Flickr anyway) basically for free. I did have to pay to have them map my domain (all of $10 for the year), and if you want to monkey around with the code you also have to pay a one time fee ($15, as I recall).

WordPress allowed me to import my old posts from my SquareSpace backup (the only kicker was that it couldn't find all of my old photos for those links which I'd uploaded to SquareSpace). I don't feel like relinking all of those :P It also will allow you to import links, although I haven't used this function yet.

And the one thing I would have been lost without were stats. As far as I know (I've used Blogger a little bit) Blogger doesn't offer any stats. WordPress has these.

Edited by Chashab
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opus, do you have any suggestions as to how (or where) I might be able to learn some of the basic basics of design and template hacks? I do want to customize some things (either in Blogger or another setup) but am pretty much not in the loop and need some good, readable material - not in tech-speak.

What exactly are you looking for? HTML tutorials? Some good book recommendations? Some "inspirational" websites? Or all of the above?

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I just switched services myself, from a paid website builder (SquareSpace.com) to WordPress. I really like WordPress for the most part. It does all of the things I was using SquareSpace for (with the possible exception of a gallery template, although I've just switched that to Flickr anyway) basically for free. I did have to pay to have them map my domain (all of $10 for the year), and if you want to monkey around with the code you also have to pay a one time fee ($15, as I recall).

Just out of curiosity, how was SquareSpace? Why did you switch? The reason I ask is that I remember coming across their service when it first came out -- I even signed up for a demo -- and was impressed with certain aspects of their service, such as the user interface and admin area.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Just out of curiosity, how was SquareSpace? Why did you switch? The reason I ask is that I remember coming across their service when it first came out -- I even signed up for a demo -- and was impressed with certain aspects of their service, such as the user interface and admin area.

I really like SquareSpace, even now. I started using SquareSpace with grander ideas for a website; a-n-d t-h-e-n it basically ended up as a blog with a links page and portfolio. And why pay for it when I can get the same thing at no cost (not to mention our household income is going to take a dive in the very near future when my wife quits working)?

SquareSpace is really nice in the aspects that you mention, although some of it didn't work with Safari (and for some reason I can't get some really annoying Firefox bugs to go away on my machine). One thing I wish I could have done was rearrange the modules without completely ditching them and starting over. That was probably my biggest beef with their control panel. Also, figuring out the terminology they use in order to customize a template was a bit tricky. It wasn't done poorly, but it took a little time to figure out.

Support was really good for SquareSpace too. Whenever I had a question they would reply quickly, usually the same day.

So far I've been very happy with WordPress, although it seems to be a bit slowish. I even like some of their dashboard better than SquareSpace's.

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"Slowish" is right- I'd probably go for Typepad if I had a Mac.

I'm still liking some things about Blogger better, too... trying to re-up some sample Blogger posts *as I'd like them to look* is a bit of a mess over there, though it could be a lot worse. And I miss Blogger's image hosting features, too.

I probably would have gone with Typepad too. But it costs, and that's what I was trying to get out of.

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To be honest, I've never been a fan of Blogger, but lean more towards "standalone" blogging systems like Wordpress, Movable Type, or Expression Engine (my new love).

Um. Expression Engine looks awesome, have you had any experience with it? Any sites you know of as good examples of its template flexibility? I am trying to get a handle on its demo control panel, it just seems that rather than writing up your code all at once you can work on different stages of the template in different sections. Is that right?

Sorry for so many questions, this is just looking like a solution to many of my problems.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Um. Expression Engine looks awesome, have you had any experience with it? Any sites you know of as good examples of its template flexibility? I am trying to get a handle on its demo control panel, it just seems that rather than writing up your code all at once you can work on different stages of the template in different sections. Is that right?

I'm actually in the process of migrating my site to EE, and let me tell you, it's incredible (I'm still in the "honeymoon" phase of using EE, and am convinced it can do no wrong, so you might want to take some of my praise with a grain of salt).

One of the main advantages (IMHO) is that you can set up multiple blogs (or sections) on a single site, and each section can have it's own sets of data entry fields, categories, statuses, etc., etc. This is perfect for someone like me whose fairly anal and likes to have their website's data as organized as humanly possible. It's possible to do this with other systems such as WordPress and Movable Type, but not nearly as easy (in my experience).

Of course, all of this flexibility means that EE is fairly complex and somewhat overwhelming. I've spent a lot of time just digging through the various screens in the CP, tweaking settings, adding entries, going back through the screens, tweaking more settings, etc. If you're running a fairly straightforward blog, EE could possibly be a bit of an overkill, but if you've got a larger site, than I think the trade off for this amount of flexibility is acceptable.

Concerning the templates, EE is entirely template-driven, which comes in very handy. But again, it can be pretty complex. A very thorough breakdown of EE's templates can be found in the manual, but basically they work like this.

Each blog or section of your site has its own batch of templates, and each template manages some basic aspect of your site. So for example, you'll have a template for your homepage, a template for your entry page, a template for the comment preview, a template for the RSS feed, and so on, and you can add or remove templates to fit your needs. Each template contains some combination of HTML, PHP (if you want), and EE's own proprietary template tags. These template tags handle most of your site's actual functionality, allowing you to tap directly into the system and display blog entries, comments, and so on. That way, you don't have write any complex database queries and other potentially nasty bits of code -- the system handles it all for you.

Of course, you don't have to use any of this stuff. You can use EE to manage an entirely static site, and just set up a template for each page, but then you're losing out on most of the benefits.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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How is the migration process?

I do have fairly simple blogging needs at the moment, but want the detailed flexibility one seems to get through EE. Though I am hesitant about learning these EE tags, I am with you on the organization of data and wanting things backed up.

So if one uses the site as a blog type website, then EE simply adds entries additional to the current site as if it were a blogging engine even though you are basically adding to a static site. Is that correct?

Man, I see many annoying "Help?" emails being sent your way!

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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How is the migration process?

It's going well, but slowly. The main problem is that I'm dividing the current entries into 4 different sections: Blog, Music Reviews, Movie Reviews, and Concert Reviews (with maybe a few more sections to come). And each of those sections, with the exception of the blog, have custom fields. I can do a mass import, but then I'll still need to go back through and manually update the custom fields for each entry. In addition, I want to go back through some of the really old entries and fix broken links, typographical issues, and so on. So yeah, it's going to take awhile, which means the existing site won't be going away in the immediate future.

So if one uses the site as a blog type website, then EE simply adds entries additional to the current site as if it were a blogging engine even though you are basically adding to a static site. Is that correct?

I'm not quite sure if I understand what you're asking. EE is an entirely dynamic system. Everything you add is stored in a database (unlike, for example, Movable Type, which can rely heavily on static files). One of EE's strengths, however, is that it mimics a static site really well, thanks to the way it handles URLs and implements templates. For example, a typical dynamic site's URL might look something like this:

http://www.domain.com/index.php?section_id=1&entry_id=3

However, a typical EE URL might look something like this:

http://www.domain.com/section/entry_title/

Which is way more readable and understandable than the first URL, and more in-line with the URLs you'd find on a static site, except that it's entirely dynamic.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I'm not quite sure if I understand what you're asking. EE is an entirely dynamic system. Everything you add is stored in a database (unlike, for example, Movable Type, which can rely heavily on static files). One of EE's strengths, however, is that it mimics a static site really well, thanks to the way it handles URLs and implements templates...

Sorry, I don't have any education in web design. As it turns out though, this is exactly what I was asking. It sounds like this makes backing everything up much easier as well.

I am sure I will have more questions for you soon!

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Sorry, I don't have any education in web design. As it turns out though, this is exactly what I was asking. It sounds like this makes backing everything up much easier as well.

That's definitely a big advantage of a dynamic system. Also, updates and maintenance are a lot easier and less time-consuming. I'm running into that with a site I manage on Movable Type. Since MT uses static files, every minor update requires some sort of site rebuild, and a major update or revision requires a rebuild of the entire site. Which, since this site has almost 10,000 articles, takes over an hour to do. If it was dynamic, even a major update would be almost instantaneous. Needless to say, I'm pushing for a move to EE.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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At this point, I've decided to stick with Blogger (beta). I like some of WordPress's features very much, but the rubber hit the road re. them not hosting image files.... Also their general slowness.

Hmmm... I've got a free Wordpress account and I can place images to my posts.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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But where are you hosting your images?

The images that I uploaded are hosted on WordPress' server(s). Mind you, I don't use my WordPress account all too much (I signed up mainly for research purposes), so I don't know what limits they place on how many images you can have in a free account. But from what I've seen, they do indeed host your images for you. Obviously, if you have a paid WordPress account, then the only limit is how much server space you're paying for.

More info can be found in their FAQ.

(BTW, I'm not trying to sway you to WordPress. I think it's a decent system, but ultimately, if Blogger is what works best for you and is what you're most comfortable with, then by all means, use Blogger.)

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I've come to like Wordpress a little more even in the last week. The stats it gives me are better than the ones I was getting in SquareSpace . . .

. . . and what Opus said. I can upload images using Wordpress, although half of the time I'm just linking to a photo online anyway. Sometimes I also link to images I've uploaded to my Flickr account.

My one real beef, other than Wordpress being a little slow as I've already mentioned, is that not all of the features work with Safari. I have this problem with a lot of online text editors and Safari. I'd use Firefox, but it has worse bugs (even in 2.o) what that know one on their bug boards can figure out.

Oh well.

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My one real beef, other than Wordpress being a little slow as I've already mentioned, is that not all of the features work with Safari. I have this problem with a lot of online text editors and Safari. I'd use Firefox, but it has worse bugs (even in 2.o) what that know one on their bug boards can figure out.

This is actually a limitation of Safari, not WordPress. Simply put, Safari can't handle rich text editing very well. Which means that you won't get nice, easy, Microsoft Word-esque text editing and formatting in Safari like you will in other browsers such as Firefox and IE. Thankfully, this is supposed to be fixed in Safari 3.0.

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  • 1 month later...

I launched the new ExpressionEngine version of my site earlier this week, and posted some thoughts on why I switched to EE in this entry.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 1 month later...

A couple of WordPress-related announcements:

  • A new version of WordPress -- "Ella" -- has just been released
  • It's now easier for folks who have a WordPress.Com account to embed audio and video into their posts -- info here

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