Thursday, September 10, 2015

Toying with Templates; Flirting with Failure

I've dropped hints about wanting to make changes to the way this ongoing story is presented.

The choices are unfortunately unlimited.

It's like shopping for a BMW vehicle with an unlimited budget. Sedan? SUV? Limousine? No problem. Suede headliner? 100,000 LED mood-lit interior? Built-in cigar humidor in the console? No problem. No kidding. I was chatting with Billy at Canbec BMW just the other day. Got millions to piss away to annoy your siblings and leave your heirs breathless and nervous? No better place to start than by ordering a custom seven series sedan with oodles and oodles of options and doo-dads.

The good news, is that for us mere mortals, re-designing a blog interface offers milions, and millions, and millions of choices. Fortunately, the only thing you're likely to waste is time, the result will definitely not depreciate, and you won't be a penny worse off.

For instance... while I explore my millions of options, you can explore an alternative experience of my ramblings just by clicking here. To return from the other side of the looking glass click here, or just close this window. Once you're through the mirror and on the other side, on your way down the web driven rabbit hole, check out the menu option in the top left corner and mess with the layout to your heart's content. It's interactive, baby!! You can even do this to other peoples' blogs. In this example, I invite you to mess with Michael's blog by clicking here. Ha ha ha ha!!! It's diabolical, I feel like a comic book vilain, the Riddler, maybe.

Have fun being Alice in a life on two wheels.


RichardM said...

I occasionally play around with some of the other templates that Blogger has but generally don't care for any of the "Dynamic Views". They don't seem very useful. After a while, I just leave it the way it was originally...

David Masse said...

Richard, Steve Williams' Scooter in the Sticks was one of the first blogs I read, and the inspiration for ScootCommute.

I have resisted making changes because what I'm after is a couple of things. A new layout that will allow a broader range of topics (especially since I no longer commute, at least for the time being, and in any event, if I resume commuting, it will be in Toronto, not Montreal).

At the same time, I want something with more visual appeal, that presents photos well, and at the same time is visually simple, yet engaging.

I haven't ruled out dynamic views, yet.

I definitely hope to have a slideshow header, and getting that right in terms of features, timing, interactivity, captions, etc. is pretty daunting, and will require some time and concentration.

Finally, doing all that without totally ruining what I already have is the worrisome part.

The light at the end of the tunnel will be (I sincerely hope) a better blogging platform for me, and something more visually stimulating and entertaining for readers.

Trobairitz said...

I must be a creature of habit. I like the simplicity of this style of blog. Sometimes the others are a little overstimulating visually.

I laughed when I saw that you tinkered with Michael's blog too.

redlegsrides said...

I've tweaked mine too much to try another template....I don't even test others....hope you find one you like.

David Masse said...

Technically, I didn't do anything to Michael's blog. I hope he doesn't have heart failure or an anxiety attack.

It's kind of cool. Some of the dynamic views are quite useful for digging into a blog's past posts. You can apply the dynamic views to any Blogger blog, just add some switches after the URL. Easy peasy.

David Masse said...

Dom it's truly a challenge. I figure that cautious baby steps may work.

Conchscooter said...

Effing 'Orrible. I hate dynamic view. I use Blogsy on my iPad mostly so a simple format suits my simple mind, light background, pictures in the middle and write to the pictures.
I love Blogger, easy to use, I built my page no problems in a few hours.
Do not be tempoted to get your own webpage. A nightmare. I did it for 911buddy because I had to and it has been far too much work. I kept saying to the web designer "Blogger is so easy," and thus made myself no friends.

Steve Williams said...

If it's not broken don't fix it right?

Unless there's something you can't do then the need to change may be suspect. Blogger was easy to use but clunky to fiddle with the template. Other than a few minor things I never did much with it for the first nine years.

I made the switch to a self-hosted wordpress site in part out of boredom, but mostly because I wanted to build out some features that I couldn't do in Blogger.

And I haven't built them yet.

So far though I have to say the Wordpress site is far nicer than Blogger but the learning curve is steeper and there is a cost for the self hosting.

But I'm enjoying myself and when I retire I'll build out those features...

Only scary thing is I can see all the hackers attacking my site now. Hundreds of login attempts daily. Google hides that stuff from you...

Steve Williams said...

When I say the WordPress site is nicer -- I should have been more specific -- the administrative interface is nicer. More powerful, more choices, more control, more insight.

David Masse said...

Michael, "easy" is of course relative, and that means that even a "simple" blog interface manages to elude many, many people.

Simplicity and ease of use are my goals. That's why I'm going to stick with Blogger.

That said, I want a clean white page, I want more posts accessible on the initial screen, and I really want a header that shifts through a limited number of header themed photos.

My objective is to make the blog conducive to covering more ground.

David Masse said...

Steve you're a braver soul than me.

Still the need for change is beginning to press on me. The blog is too commuter-centric, and that time came to and end (at least for now) back at the end of June.

I have to break free from the constraints that seemed appropriate five years ago.

I want to be able to speak about retirement, moving, getting settled in an entirely new place, exploring a new restaurant scene, AND riding.

One day, perhaps soon, I'd like to use the blog to explore a novel that has been shelved for too long.

All that said, I also need to figure out how to use other social media outlets to broaden the audience, and add some immediacy.

All the foregoing needs to be done in a way that allows me to concentrate on writing, rather than administering an interface and messing with Javascript, CSS, Jquery, and other bits and pieces that are lurking under the Blogger hood.

Finally, when I do open the hood, I have to be careful not to let all the springs come flying out, spoiling years of work.

No big deal.

I admire how far you've come, as always.

VStar Lady said...

David what you do with your blog depends on your personal goals for it and yourself I would say. Just be aware that if you switch to WordPress, which is a great format (I run three WordPress blogs as well) the storage space for media is limited in the 'Free' version and you cannot embed video in the 'Free' version, though they offer a 'pay for' upgrade that I assume fixes these issues.

Steve Williams said...

You're heading the same direction that I want to go -- expand beyond just a riding blog. the delivery platform is incidental. You're talking about content and we all know content is king. I've seen some dazzling sites but no content.

You have things to say that that's what's important.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.