Monday, April 30, 2007

Blogger is bad, mmkay?

Blogger is bad. I chose to use it because I already had a Google account, I'm quite satisfied with Google's other services, especially Gmail and Google Maps, and hoped that their purchase of Blogger/Blogspot would mean that this stuff was equally good. I was wrong.

First of all, Blogger is slow. This I knew before I joined up, by just looking at other Blogger blogs. I hoped that they'd move stuff over to Google's servers so it'd become faster, but it seems this hasn't happened yet.

Second, it's buggy. I used to have a label called “software”, but after some sequence of actions it indicated the wrong post count, and I couldn't get it right again. I'm not the only one with this problem, and it has not been fixed yet as far as I know. I reported the problem. It took them twelve days to respond, seven weeks to acknowlegde the issue on the “Known Issues” list, and it hasn't been fixed yet. And there are more bugs and annoyances beside this one.

Third, and most importantly, the administration panel is terrible.

  • I have to type this post into a tiny box of 17 lines high and 37 characters wide. What did I buy a 24" monitor for again?
  • I have to type HTML tags because the HTML editing mode screws things up – I daren't even click it to find out anymore.
  • The preview uses a different style sheet than the actual blog. No idea what a definition list or a blockquote will look like unless I publish an immature post.
  • You can't get a preview in a separate window without actually publishing the post. This means you cannot edit and preview side-by-side.
  • I cannot save a post without navigating away from the editing page. Yet, given the fleetingness of a browser's edit box, I like to save regularly.
  • The settings panel contains settings with incomplete or unclear descriptions. Getting from there to the help page (which isn't all that helpful) feels like the old Windows 3.1 days all over again. This is the web – what about a hyperlink directly to the relevant page?
  • Because the headings h1 through h3 are used by the Blogger interface, internal post headings should start at h4. However, these are way too small, and h5 is almost unreadable. I had to modify the template to fix this.
  • Uploading an image inserts a thumbnail into the post, which is in JPEG format even if the image is a GIF or PNG, even if the image is small enough not to need any resizing at all.
  • The image thumbnail is placed at the top of the post, not where the cursor was when I clicked the “Add Image” button. (Okay, may be a browser issue, but Opera 9.20 is not really an obscure browser.)

Oh, and whatever I try (cookies, cache, Javascript, …), I cannot log in using Opera 9.20 under Linux.

I got so fed up after writing this post today that I gave WordPress a try. It works a lot smoother and less clunky than Blogger. It has the possibility to import a Blogger blog.

However, the import from Blogger to WordPress does not copy the uploaded images, instead hotlinking them and giving funny preview popups. I'd have to copy all images by hand. I am too lazy for that. Making the switch would also mean that my readers have to update their feed readers. I will assume that you're too lazy for that. Finally, links from other sites to my blog would stop working. People would have to try and find the new location of, especially, this post, and they are probably too lazy for that. That post is linked from a number of locations where I couldn't even edit the link if I weren't too lazy for that.

Recommendation for new bloggers: click here. In the meantime, I'll go pray that somebody at Google will wake up and fix this mess.

Update: I tried to be helpful. I tried to contact the Blogger team and give them the URL to this post. But the closest I could find would be posting in the Blogger Help Group, and as you may understand I'm a bit reluctant to do that. There seems to be no way to contact the developers or even the support people directly …

1 comment:

Eamon Nerbonne said...

I use Windows Live Writer to write posts, which is far simpler and has a real interface. Of course; it's not blogger specific; so it comes with a whole other bunch of problems (surrounding images again) but it definitely beats the online entry form for blogger.