Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Realizations about Blogger

On Saturday, I realized something about the new Blogger the encapsulates why I must reject it.

The HTML editor in the old Blogger made working with HTML fundamentally easier. When switching between compose and code view, it would change things in a way that made it more useful, and it made features more accessible. This was especially true of the
tag. There were even times I would open a Blogger editor to change some HTML that I wasn't even using for Blogger because it made things easy. Some things it didn't change for the better (like bulleted or numbered lists), but most other things were good.

The HTML editor in the new Blogger makes editing HTML fundamentally harder. It changes nothing about my code no matter which view I'm in. Instead of fixing things for me, it informs me my code is inferior. Sometimes it highlights the problem in red, sometimes not. When adding text, lines, and paragraphs in the compose window, instead of using the single
tag that doesn't require a closing tag, it uses
tags. Very yuck. Further, everything is on a single line, so it's highly inefficient to track things down, add page jumps, figure out where the other random
tag landed, etc.

What I realized is that in two primary cases for me, I was using Blogger because it was easier to do things on Blogger than by myself with the code. If that's no longer the case, then my reason for using Blogger has been eliminated.

While the HTML is the biggest reason, this is also a common characteristic of other things I have found about the new Blogger. The little things made the old interface a pleasure to use, and the new interface doesn't have those. In the old days, people used to love WordPerfect because of its “Reveal Codes” feature, and the old Blogger's HTML editor had that level of usefulness to it.

In some instances, Google is listening. The in-line link editor at least exists now, unlike when they first previewed or started making the new Blogger default for people. That feature still has a long way to go. Old Blogger required no more than 2 key combinations to add a link, or 2 clicks to open one. Both of things still have a lot more taps or clicks to them than the old Blogger—or the current Gmail, Docs, Sheets, etc. Until I can add a link with Ctrl+K, Ctrl+V, Enter, it's too much. The new Blogger does not meet the standard Google has set with its other products.

For some link-heavy posting I do (which in that case is my main reason for posting), that extra clicking, tapping, and source-code checking is exponentially adding time to the floor summaries I was compiling that were already taking too long. If I go back to just posting daily Tweets about things, I don't need Blogger at all anymore.

It turns out there's more to the story of what Google has going on with the new Blogger. Since I have had multiple blogs on Google, I had some that still had the old editor while some got stuck with the new. I realized I could copy my content from the new into the old where it was easier to work with.

At first, I copied from Compose window to Compose window. Easy enough for rich text, right? When I went to the source code of that text copied from the new editor, every anchor link tag had an extra attribute of “data-original-attrs” with a copy of the URL in it. The new Blogger hides this in its HTML editor view.

Is this so Google can track every link everyone clicks?

Perhaps that is why Google has been so resistant to give up what it has invested in the new Blogger—to give itself more user tracking.

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