Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Meta-Post: I've switched to Blogger Beta

Okay, I've given in and switched from the old version of Blogger to the Beta version (which has been around for 6 months now), not that anyone out there actually reads this drivel, much less gives a shit about how I do it. However, since blogging software, in the broadest sense, overlaps somewhat with what I do for a living, I thought I'd comment on it, whether anyone cares or not.

From a technical perspective, the biggest change is that the new Beta version is dynamically rendered from a database, where as the old (or as we like to say in the marketing world "classic") version rendered the pages as static files, written to a file system.

There are advantages to doing it each way. Static (Classic Blogger) pages can be FTPed to another site, which was a feature touted by Blogger. These can be delivered from a simple web server, which can run on a lower powered box. They are also pretty much platform independent: your webserver can run on Windows, Unix, Mac OS, Solaris, BSD or (gasp) even DOS if you are sufficiently hardcore.

However, seemingly simple changes with a static system can often result in having to re-render every single page in your site. Changing or modifying templates will absolutely require this. If you like to monkey with the look of your site, you are in for some significant waits while republishing takes place.

Dynamic (Beta Blogger) pages are rendered on the fly using data from a database. The "query string" in the page URL contains one or more variable-value pairs that tell the system how to build the page. Changing the template changes all the pages site-wide in one fell swoop.

The downside is that the pages have to run under a rendering engine: Java, PHP, ASP, ColdFusion or the like. This requires more machine capacity, and usually a much greater memory requirement. It also means the pages are not (as) portable as static pages. This move was probably inevitable, as most large sites these days have switched to dynamic delivery of content.

One other change is that you will now need to log in using a Gmail account. This was once by invitation only, but these days an invite is about as hard to get as a "private club" membership is in dry counties in North Texas. No doubt, further integration within the Googleverse is planned.

Blogger (not to mention parent Google) continues to impress me: my current favorite feature is being able to email posts. Since The Sisyphean Corp (my onerous employer) frowns on things like updating personal blogs on company time, the occasional email is a way to stay under the radar of the web guardians. The advent of email-enabled cellphones pushes the ability to blog anywhere to ridiculous extremes.

Enough already. I promise to write more.

1 comment:

icanticle said...

of course we read this drivel. we are your mindless serfs.
(keep drivelin' meine freund!)