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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Saturday, January 07, 2006

template hacking

I was talking to Dr. Laniac of Loopy News at a recent Barbarian gathering and he pointed out that if you "view the HTML source" of a blog and see a bunch of "hard-written" HTML....

...uh, like you do here at k/o...

that that's a sign of a poor web design.

I know I can't make "folds" of my essays here on blogspot which would be my #1 goal. But I sure as hell would love to make this text of this place more legible and essay-friendly, and, to answer a persistent criticism of this place...less generic Blogger looking. ie. more hacked.

Any ideas? Any one want to point me in a direction? Links? I'm open and all ears.

What are the best examples of what folks can do within blogspot for a blog that is "writing oriented" like this one?

Emails with your advice are also welcome: kidoakland"at"comcast"dot"net.


  • Hey k/o,

    I would recommend just getting your hands on an HTML for Dummies book, and going to town.

    That's what I did. Now, my blog is by no means set up for essay writing/reading, but it's miles away (and at least 5 miles better) than my original Blogger template.

    Good luck.

    By Blogger Ryan Thibodaux, at 4:44 PM  

  • Thanks, ryan.

    I bet I'll be able to find one of those HTML for dummies books here...

    I thumbed through one at Powell's in Portland at Xmas time...but idiot that I am did not buy when it was in my hands.

    At the very least it would be a good for bedtime reading.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 5:00 PM  

  • Kid --

    I was just writing you an e-mail when I discovered this page at the "Blogger Hacks" place:

    How can I create expandable post summaries?
    With this trick, you can choose to display an arbitrary amount of text from the beginning of each post, as a teaser for the whole thing. Then users who want to read the rest of the post can click a link to see the full text....

    Looks like something worth checking out.

    By Blogger &y, at 6:26 PM  

  • Just be glad you didn't do a hatchet job to your template like I did to mine. :(

    By Blogger Matt, at 7:06 PM  

  • I have a pretty plain vanilla template, but what I write rules!

    Come visit!


    By Blogger Ted, at 7:46 PM  

  • I followed the instructions here: How can I create expandable post summaries? on my blog.

    I messed up, and had to experiment a bit to get the template to work. A coupe small words of advice:

    1)BEFORE YOU START, COPY YOUR TEMPLATE and paste into a text file. Save it someplace obvious (like your desktop), with a name you'll recognize. You will REALLY want to be able to revert to it if you mess up.

    2) They use "fullpost" as the string you have to type into your post - make it something shorter, like "full" to reduce the opportunity for typos...

    3) It doesn't work if you out the split in the middle of a blockquote, so be prepared to split long quotes into separate blocks with a segue or to split the post either before or after the long quote.

    By Blogger rhetoretician, at 12:56 AM  

  • Rhetoretician's "my blog" link is dead.
    Long live rhetoretician's my blog link!

    And I'll be bloggered--the "expandable post summaries" thing works. There you are, Kid. Your #1 goal is within reach.

    By Blogger &y, at 8:05 AM  

  • Wow, I'll have to try this...

    after I save my template in a safe place...lol...

    (groggily goes to get cup of coffee and mull this over)


    By Blogger kid oakland, at 10:56 AM  

  • I did the expandable post summary thing, and on the whole it's a big improvement (I think--judge for yourself). The problem I had is that I get a 'read more' message regardless of whether or not there's actually more to the post. I ended up adding a 'that's all' message to my post template, to indicate whether there really is more to read.

    By Blogger Tom Hilton, at 9:35 AM  

  • I second the advice on backing up your template in a text file. I snagged and tweaked an online template but had several trial-and-error moments as I reformatted the code. Let's just say I learned the hard way a few times on backing up stuff. Good luck on the edits!

    By Blogger Man Eegee, at 2:47 PM  

  • Tom Hilton --

    At the "How can I create expandable post summaries" link, they write:

    Disadvantages: ... the "read more" link is in the template, so it will appear regardless of whether a post has been truncated or not. (Modifying this feature is left as an exercise for the reader.)

    Alas, I couldn't find a link anywhere in the internet where a reader gives the solution to this exercise.... but the teaser implies it's possible. Keep your eyes peeled.

    My guess is the solution requires javascript, but I really have no idea. There may also be some way you can set things up so when you have a short post, you can type something at the end that hides (or makes invisible) its "Read More." But I dunno. I'm not this kind of computer geek.

    By Blogger &y, at 6:10 PM  

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