Thursday, November 16, 2006
Blogger is undergoing major changes right now. I've been using Blogger to publish this blog for over 3 years. There have been some minor changes and improvements over that time, but this one is big. They are totally changing the way the back end servers do the publishing. It's called 'dynamic'. I understand the concept because that is what I do with databases and Coldfusion on the web. It is generally a very good thing. It will mean much faster and more dependable publishing. HOWEVER - there is one major hurdle that I don't like. In order to use the new dynamic publishing that is being done by their backend servers, you must use their front end servers (blogspot.com) to host your blog - it makes sense - they can only dynamically control servers that are under their control. My blog is currently hosted on www.jimandchris.com, space that I pay for, it's mine. If I start posting on the blogspot.com then everything 'lives' on blogger's servers. I don't like that. Actually, I could live with the blog entries themselves living on blogspot, but not the uploaded pictures. What I want is to be able to publish my blog on blogspot using their new dynamic publishing, but have the 'upload photo' button allow me to upload to my own host. If you didn't understand a word of that ... and you want to :-) ... read on. You see, the pictures don't actually live in the blog post itself, they can live anywhere on the web and the code in the blog simply refers to them. Let me give you an example. I'll show you two pictures and tell you where they 'live' on the web. The picture of the boy and the horse 'lives' at www.horsesforthespirit.org (a website I created). It has absolutely nothing to do with jimandchris.com and nothing to do with blogger. I simply happen to know the complete address of it's location and I can enter the html code to display it here on my blog page. (not something you normally want to do, by the way, copyrights apply - don't sue me ok?) The picture of the little girl with the stuffed alligator 'lives' on www.diandy.com. A website of RVing friends of ours. It happens to be a picture of me :-). You can read about it here if you want. So, what's all this mean? Well, as long as those pictures continue to 'live' at the addresses I am referring to, you'll see them show up here. If Horses for the Spirit should ever move, or if Diandy.com should ever go away, the pictures will no longer exist and you'll see those annoying little red x's instead. When Blogger publishes your blog to their servers, they upload your photos to their servers as well. That scares me. Who knows when they might have to replace a server and relocate files? When it's all for free, I just can't trust them to maintain the proper addresses so my picture references work for years to come. If you've been following Tioga and George recently, you've already heard about this. He switched to Blogger Beta recently, and he's lost all his pictures from 2003. I actually don't think it has anything to do with Blogger beta - I think it's coincidence that the free servers that hosted his 2003 photos just bit the dust. For 2004-2006, he's hosted his blog and photos on his own website. Now he says he's going to publish *both* ways. I'm not sure how he'll do that, but it sounds interesting. Blogger beta will still work to publish via ftp - but then, you're not getting the advantages of their new 'dynamic' publishing. I'm going to wait to the last minute to switch to Blogger Beta. Meanwhile, I keep watching. Here are some good places to keep on top of what's going on: Blogger Help Official help from Blogger/Google Blogger Buzz Official Blog about Blogger by Google employees Blogger Support Users Forum Official User forum Report a problem BloggerTalk 3d party blog about blogging, with a user forum Beta Blogger for dummies 3d party blog about Blogger Beta Testing Blogger Beta 3d party blog And, I'm sure there's lots more, but that's enough for now. More than you probably ever wanted to know!