December 30, 2006

The Blogger Blues
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fallout from a coerced Blogger account upgrade has crippled my ability to post on Travelvice.

Even though I built the front-end of Travelvice myself, I decided to use Blogger—run by Google—to drive the publishing process (it creates the new pages, manages the comments, and provides a second level of redundancy in the event of data loss). Blogger is a fairly simple tool (in comparison to other blogging utilities), and I ended up having to bend a few rules in order to coax the functionality out of it that I needed.

The Blogger field that I've been using to enter the location from which a particular post originated in is called the link field. The intended purpose of this field (from Blogger's perspective) is to add an optional hyperlink to a post that readers can click on to be taken to relative content (on another Web site).

When Blogger upgraded their publishing process they added error checking to this particular field, and anything that didn't fit the strict criteria for a functional URL was rejected. I had identified this as a potential risk when building the site in the middle of 2005, but didn't have time to create a proper mitigation/contingency strategy before I left.

What all this means is that I'm essentially dead in the water. I can't edit old posts (entries like "Buenos Aires, Argentina" are rejected flat out for more than one violation when attempting to republish), or even add new entries. Comments were also screwed up a little bit, as my Blogger profile number has changed, but I was able to correct that with some minor code adjustments.

It looks like Blogger has added a new field for labels, but after investigation and experimentation it seems the feature doesn't allow for the slightest bit of manipulation (I can't control where the entry goes in the post—at the end—or the forced alphabetization—"Argentina, Buenos Aires" isn't going to cut it). I believe folks were bastardizing the link field to create makeshift labels/categories, and now that the there's a feature specifically for this they've added the error checking (to keep people from continuing to do so).

Needless to say, I'm pretty unhappy about the entire situation. With my friend Babak flying into town for New Year's Eve tomorrow morning, there's only so much time I have to fret about this before he arrives. I've got an idea about how to remedy the issue, but I'm going to need time and the assistance of a programmer in England that helps me with some technical coding from time to time.

Not exactly how I wanted to ring in the New Year…

Comments:

Andy HoboTraveler.com

January 12th, 2007

Hello Craig

Andy the HoboTraveler.com freezing in Nepal, January is not the time to come to Nepal. But my idea to make backpacks is going great.

I am sad to get on your blog and see the last blog posting was over 10 days ago…

I have been traveling and using the internet for about 10 years now. I have discovered the more clever I am, the more problems. Many of my pages are insanely simple, but.. however… nonetheless…

There is a temptation to make some super site pages, yet I restrain because I also have to maintain them. The balance is about three stops below what any techie would recommend. We are not in Kansas as Dorothy says in the Wizard of Oz.

Listen to the Wiz Kids, then I recommend you adjust it 3 steps simpler. We are not on a 24/7 connection and they cannot empathize with travel.

I am still waiting for a daily post and a way to subscribe by email so I can read daily. I see the RSS as just a pain in the butt and good only for the 24/7 people, this is not me.

However, I am on a GPRS Cellphone connection now in Nepal. This is freedome. Ergo the reason I am on your site.

Your friend Andy
Andy of HoboTraveler.com

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