Friday, October 30, 2009

One Down, One To Go

So I've been thinking about what to do with this site. Simply put, I'm thinking of moving it to google in some form or fashion. The main motivation is money. I don't get enough access to warrant paying any money for "hosting". I currently pay a small fee to GrokThis, VPS Village actually, for a xen virtual host. But anything at this point is too much.

I have had a test blog up on Blogger for quite a while now. It's been mostly for testing things like email posting, blog editors, gadgets, etc. So last night I finally broke down and tried to see if I could get blogger to look something like this site. While not exact, I'm close enough. Check it out.

Actually it was fairly easy to modify to make it look like this site. It's not done, nor perfect but was close enough for me to figure out what else was necessary. It also helped me figure out what I did and did not like about blogger. At least partially anyway.

What's to Like

Okay, so here's an incomplete list of what's to like:
  1. It's free
  2. It's linked to my google account
  3. You can easily add gadgets
  4. It's fairly easy to customize design
  5. You can email posts to the blog
  6. You can use blog editors, like ecto, scribefire, or google's Sidewiki
  7. I can use my domain if I wish
  8. Blogger itself generates traffic to my site
  9. I can create a multi-author blog (me and arisa, if arisa ever posts
  10. Posting in Japanese is no problem
  11. Can use feedburner
  12. Easy to implement Google Analytics

So that's a fairly good list of things it does for you. Here's the list of things I don't like about it

What's Not to Like

  1. Miserable on html validation: the template I used had 636 errors on it. That's not even close.
  2. I can not use my google apps account to use it
  3. To really customize it, you have to be very careful with the built in widgets and code built in or I'll probably break the site
  4. No concept of "static" pages, so it is only a blog
  5. Fairly convoluted process to add Disqus which I like as a commenting system
  6. CSS and some javascript is in the template -> I'd prefer them separate
  7. Does not provide a way to show posts for a given author(that I can find

Based on that, you would think it's a no brainer to move to blogger. Actually thought, I'm not feeling the love for blogger. The fact that I cannot use my google apps domain ( to login to the site is huge, as is the effort to customize it to the point where the html, etc., is valid - and I'm still not sure I could get there because of code that Blogger needs.

In general, I'm quite annoyed with the shortcomings of google apps and it's integration with other google products and services. Picasa, blogger, google reader, openid provider, friend connect, google analytics, etc., require use of a google account. I don't want to use a google account, I want to use my google apps domain.

Granted, I can not complain too much since it is all for free. No, that's not right. I can complain because it's not "free". I'm providing information to Google as their stated goal is to index everything, I'm making it easy for them. So I may not be paying money, but I'm paying.

One of these days I'll do a serious post about Google's ineffectiveness. But for now, I've checked out using blogger. I now need to check out Nick's posts on creating a blog with google app engine.

One down, one to go.

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