My blog has moved into Beta!



Please note that my blog has changed addresses! It's all new and improved. Hence this old friend of mine had to be left alone. You can visit me at The Last Word (beta). It's all warmed up for you! :)



Eventualy there comes a time when something old has to give way for something new, because the new is just too friggin' good compared to the old. There are times when it is hard to let go, but what has to be done, has to be done! Now, is that time ...

Since I've come back to the blogging part time, I have been seeing flaws with this Blogger just a bit too much. Cumbursome and annoying at times. Script heavy pages take minutes to load, when they should take only seconds, and small nitty gritties like that here and there. Waiting for that Beta link to show up was getting trying, and the code making up whatever you're reading right now is just too complicated and interesting for me to remove it completely. Hence, the result was pretty obvious and didn't need much thought.

I'm going to take this opportunity to unveil The Last Word (Beta) to all the readers of The Last Word. Quietly and secretly, behind closed doors and darkened windows, I had been working to get it up and running as fast as possible. I wanted it to look its part and place, and better than this. Most of all, I wanted a blog on the new Beta Blogger. So instead of waiting anymore, I went ahead and created one from scratch :)

So without making you wait for too long, here's the link again -- The Last Word (Beta). A grand welcome is waiting for you there!


Please note that comments made here will no longer be answered. If you would like answers, you can either mail me, or visit my new blog at The Last Word (beta)
Sorry for the inconvenience! :(



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I know I know, everyone one of the bleet (copyright belongs to Avatar) has been taking apart the template editor and having a look under the hood, but because of reasons I have stated again and again, I have been a little behind the fray. However, I just spent the last 10-15 minutes pouring over the 5-6 Blogger Help pages which deal with Page Element Tags for Layouts, Widget Tags for Layouts and Layout Data Tags (I am giving the names so that people can refer to these pages for information on the new cool stuff you can do!).

The gold mine of data

What I read, got me jumping in my bed! The biggest and best thing is that maximum number of things have now been made into proper referenceable variables! :D This is the best thing that Blogger could have done, since now we don't have to create special layouts and then use a PHP page to extract the data we want. We can simply call in the data using the Blogger specified variable, and voila! Our work is done. For example, now instead of writing a loop to do a regexp check for the existence of the author's details in the comments, I can just check the commentors display name using a conditional widget tag (another coolness!) and change the CSS of that particular comment blog if it matches! That reduces my code lines to 1/4th, and has no chance of breaking because I'm using data directly from Blogger! Isn't that cool!? :D

I remember Avatar and I talking about this in the good ol' days, about how Blogger needs more data variables, so that we can use it to get content directly off Blogger. Before this, the way was to directly make calls to the Blogger API,which was cumbursome and just plain stupid. Now we don't have to do any of it! :)

Widgets themselves have been designed as methods and functions, limited to HTML itself. The same bit of code can be reused everywhere and anywhere we feel like. No more constant copy-pasting bits of code here and there. This offers a much more centralised editing zone, so that you can make your layout once and for all, and just change the widget content and CSS in the head area, without having to touch the arrangement of your page! Saves all the non-code friendly people (the coding muggles! :P) a lot of headache, and the bleet too, because they can name their methods something, and just reference them with one line. No more getting confused in tons of lines of code (my current template code is too big for me to mess with!).

One more thing which I liked is that you can make a widget from the Page Layout view, let Blogger handle the heavy duty coding for it, and then switch to the Edit HTML tab, expand the widget, and do the fine tuning yourself. So if you're a nitpicker, but don't like getting your hands dirty in code, this is the perfect way out! :)

Reloaded fo'sho!

This has been one solid upgrade from Blogger, and I don't care what people say about things being underwhelming and the new Blogger being a disappointment. I see tremendous potential and much more scope of creativity now that all new (and never before easily available) data has been laid out in front of us to break apart and use. I will not be able to immediately delve into this, but expect to see some neat stuff in the future, because my post-its are already beginning to fill up idea outlines! :)

Did you find something in the new templates editing process that I've missed, that helped you in some way? Don't be shy! Let me know, and I'll mention it in this post!


Please note that comments made here will no longer be answered. If you would like answers, you can either mail me, or visit my new blog at The Last Word (beta)
Sorry for the inconvenience! :(

i miss that part of the good old days, when we brainstormed things..

Widget code + JSON support = 200%+ more hackable.

Annoyances will always exist, and I have already found data that they still won't give us nicely. But I'm on your side and theirs - the BETA has made our lives easier and given us the ability to focus on making cooler and cooler things ;)



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We know Google keeps secrets, and big ones at that! But well, something you just can't hide I guess! Check out SearchMash. I don't know how many people know about it, but its a playground for Google developers to test out and play with things. I guess they test out things that will eventually become a part of Google, maybe even become Google 2.0? :P

However, my intention was not to enlighten people about SearchMash (although you can go have a whirl, its quite cool! :P ). My intention was to tell you about what one can achieve by using SearchMash in a way Google didn't want you to know. Again, since Google didn't want you to know, they can easily change it and/or remove it as they please! So don't make mission critical applications using this. Now to the good stuff!

Google to the rescue!

I remember crying countless number of times of a Google JSON feed for their data, in the same fashion Yahoo! provides JSON(P) feeds for almost all their services. Turns out that Google has always offered it, just never told us! :( So now, through SearchMash you can get your dose of JSON filled with Google content, including their main Web Search! Yep, you heard that right! No more restricted access to just blogs! :) Now there can literally be a Native Web Search, and very easily too! But how do you get the stuff? Glad you asked :)

You use the following query, replacing [term] with what you're searching for:

http://www.searchmash.com/results/[item]

Or you can use:

http://www.searchmash.com/results/[item]?i=11&n=10

Which returns 10 results starting from the 11th results! Now this is something that can really be exploited nicely by people. No more working with their SOAP API to pull results, just use simple JSON and get creative :)

A more (just a little more) detailed explanation is given at Google Operating System. Go ahead and check it out! :)


Please note that comments made here will no longer be answered. If you would like answers, you can either mail me, or visit my new blog at The Last Word (beta)
Sorry for the inconvenience! :(

I had first heard about searchmash a few months ago I think. I hadn't really used it much, and didn't realize they provided JSON output.

With todays announcement of JSON for Blogger, Calendar, and Base it seems Google is getting on the JSON bandwagon. Which is very nice.
    Anonymous phydeaux3, on Wed Nov 22, 01:40:00 AM  

Yep! Google is finally beginning to answer our little pleas! Don't you just love 'em? :)



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