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June 27, 2008

Major Update for Google's Blogger

It's raining with features in the experimental version of Blogger, available at http://draft.blogger.com. To try these new features, it's a good idea to visit Draft Blogger and temporarily enable "Make Blogger in Draft my default dashboard" at the top of the page.

Probably the most important new feature is the inline commenting system, that lets you post comments without opening a new page. This year, I tried using a pop-up window for the comment form, but it's still inconvenient to post comments. The new option, which can be added in the Draft Blogger by going to Settings > Comments > Comment Form Placement, uses an iframe to display a textarea and a list of authentication options:

<iframe allowtransparency="true" id="comment-editor" src="http://www.blogger.com/comment-iframe.g?blogID=BLOGID&postID=POSTID" scrolling="auto" width="100%" frameborder="0" height="275"></iframe>


I added the inline comment form to the template, so you can try it. For now, you can't preview the comment before posting it and I haven't figured out how to add the option to delete your comment.

Another extremely useful new feature lets you import and export your posts and comments. "Now you can export all of your posts and comments into a single, Atom-formatted XML file for easy backup. You can then import the posts back into Blogger, either into an existing blog or into a new one." The option is available in the Draft Blogger by going to Settings > Basic. Please note that the exported XML file can be quite large: for example, this blog's entire archive has 10.2 MB.


Blogger has a new post editor that borrows a lot of new tricks from Google Page Creator. You can move the images inside a post and dynamically choose between different sizes of the image. The new editor is smart enough to no longer replace newlines with <br> tags when you add tables, lists, styles, scripts and objects. There's also an improved preview option that uses your template to style your content. Unfortunately, the new editor lacks many features currently available: auto-save, spell checking, video upload and the toolbar for editing HTML.


Blogs that use the new layouts can add star ratings to get feedback from readers, but I'm not sure if this is a useful feature. There's also an option that integrates Blogger with Google Webmaster Central: you can automatically add all your Blogger blogs with a single click.

This is one of the biggest updates to Blogger and many of the new features are long overdue. If everything goes well, all these features will soon be available in the standard Blogger interface.

{ Thanks, Brad Linder. }

52 comments:

  1. I can't believe that Blogger has finally added inline comments. The feature has some rough edges (choosing your identity, difficult to use dialogs for captchas and authentication, small textarea), but it's great to see Blogger evolving in the right direction.

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  2. I can't get inline comment to work. I can't get Star rating to work too.

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  3. The inline form comment is something I've been waiting for!!!

    Also now that we can import .xml comments, I might even move to Disqus bearing in mind that if I don't like it, I can always import my comments back to Blogger.

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  4. Yes ... it's so much quicker and easier this way ... it doesn't quite look integrated into the UI on this page, but I bet your comments will at least double, if not more because of this.

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  5. I can't get inline commenting to work either. If I choose the inline commenting system either (nothing appears in my blog!)

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  6. I didn't use Blogger's setting because I've manually edited the templated many times. Instead, I copied the code that should be generated by Blogger:

    <iframe allowtransparency="true" id="comment-editor" src="http://www.blogger.com/comment-iframe.g?blogID=BLOGID&postID=POSTID" scrolling="auto" width="100%" frameborder="0" height="275"></iframe>

    BLOGID should be replaced with the ID of your blog (blogID is used as a parameter when you create post or edit the settings), while POSTID is a value obtained from <$BlogItemNumber$>, at least for the classic template.

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  7. It's 2008 and Google starts to add proper comments. Other companies are already working on the next big commenting-thing, in the form of Disqus.

    I can basically say: OMG. I'm not sure which Google product is executed worse: Google Talk or Blogger?

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  8. All very nice additions.

    But until the inline commenting allows the follow-up comments, it's kind of pointless. :/

    Also, I miss the "toolbar" in the HTML editing mode. And what about selecting multiple images in one go?

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  9. where do you get post id value in xml templates?

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  11. Yes! Finally there's a comment form!

    Tesing...

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  12. I enabled inline comments in a blog that uses layouts and it works. Here's the relevant code, obtained after enabling "Expand Widget Templates":

    <p class='comment-footer'>

    <b:if cond='data:post.embedCommentForm'>
    <b:include data='post' name='comment-form'/>
    <b:else/>
    <b:if cond='data:post.allowComments'>
    <a expr:href='data:post.addCommentUrl' expr:onclick='data:post.addCommentOnclick'><data:postCommentMsg/></a>
    </b:if>
    </b:if>

    </p>

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  13. Star rating does not work for me. Anyone got the code?

    I, too, miss the toolbar in the HTML mode.

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  14. The export option will make it easier for people to leave blogger, though export scripts had workarounds anyway.

    I can't see a major improvement with the comment system, there have always been similar hacks.

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  15. Finally, a little sensibility. And maybe this will solve my biggest peeve, the slow loading page causing the comment you type to disappear!

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  16. Now if only Google would re-visit the fact that they need to incorporate their address book into newly composed emails I'd be even more happy. Click here to see what I mean.

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  17. i just got used to the old new blogger. i have really custom templates that took me forever to reformat to the new blogger layout

    hmmph

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  18. Figures, I finally come back and start to update my stuff and now they start making changes.

    How dare they innovate!

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  19. In this context, "inline" means "displayed on the same page as the post". Google calls this "embedded comment form" and I'm sure you can find many other names.

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  20. Saw this new function yesterday on your blog. Thought it's your own twick :-)

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  21. my comments arne't working either... i looked at the HTML and the code is there... anyone know why it wouldn't show up?

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  22. I'd be happy to be limited to 100 emails a day, if I could just choose whether or not to add recipients to Contacts. Why is that simple option so difficult/long in coming?

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  23. Well this will delay me from mooing to wordpress AGAIN. (I'm too lazy to move)

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  24. coooooooooool with extra Os... :) I would like to see folders in blogger, something like http://manjunathsinge/blog/, etc...

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  25. I like this. If only this had come about two years ago, when I abandoned Blogger for Livejournal. I'm entrenched now, and I can't see myself abandoning ship unless Livejournal does something really horrendous.

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  26. This is a great round of updates. I was disappointed that there isn't any LaTeX rendering functionality that was added. Now, this is the one thing that Blogger is really missing.

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  27. Inline comments are a new thing?!

    Wow, I had no idea Blogger was that far behind the curve. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.

    The reason I have been ignoring Blogger all these years is their completely ridiculous failure to provide threaded comments.

    That was barely innovative back in the 20th century, but they still haven't managed to catch up.

    Sure, I'd be proud of my kid if he could create something like Blogger. But a company backed by Google has no business being this primitive.

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  28. @Naruki: Threaded comments? That'd be nice, but most blogs I read, Blogger or not, still don't seem to have them. At best, they seem to have pseudo-threaded comments that only support two levels of comments (main listing and sub-comments for main comments).

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  29. @Mysterius: Yeah, I figured as much. I use LiveJournal, so maybe I've been spoiled.

    The web forums I visit outside of the blogosphere also do threaded comments, so I assumed it was understood to be A Good Thing&tm;.

    Although I've nothing against people with the bad sense to want to turn it off - everybody is allowed to have bad opinions. :-p

    ---
    Getting ready to post, I also think it's way past time to add a preview button. Editing comments after the fact is arguably nice, but seeing what it will look like before you post is even better.

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  30. @Naruki:
    Blogger's old comment forms have an option to preview your post, so the inline forms will add it before the feature is officially launched.

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  31. Huray! :)))

    However it does not work on my modified template... It's time to hack a bit :)

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  32. I'm glad to see Google added the features it did. Inline comments and import/export will keep bloggers at Blogger.

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  33. I've implemented a threaded comment system using bloggers comments and javascript: http://shamsmi.blogspot.com/2008/07/threaded-comments-in-blogger.html

    It works simply by recognizing @Naruki, @Mysterius, etc. in the comment body :)

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  34. Rogerio (rogeriogirodo@gmail.com)March 26, 2009 at 7:05 AM

    I'm wondering, is it possible to use this outside the blog with the Google Blogger API ?

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  35. I'll be a good blog and continuous tracking

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  36. This is a great round of updates. I was disappointed that there isn't any LaTeX rendering functionality that was added. Now, this is the one thing that Blogger is really missing.

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is a great round of updates. I was disappointed that there isn't any LaTeX rendering functionality that was added. Now, this is the one thing that Blogger is really missing.

    ReplyDelete
  38. my comments arne't working either... i looked at the HTML and the code is there... anyone know why it wouldn't show up?

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  39. I can't get inline commenting to work either. If I choose the inline commenting system either (nothing appears in my blog!)

    ReplyDelete