Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fake Blogger Categories

Two weeks ago I knew nothing of FTP and HTML and, frankly, guess I still don't. However, through the miracle of cut and paste I have managed to cobble together a rudimentary method of grouping my posts into categories and I couldn't be more chuffed.

In the sidebar, underneath the Archives, where I dream my dreams away, you'll see a listing of category topics. Click one, go on. As this is a very young blog, with few posts, I suggest "Movies and TV."

Look at that, it works!

I suppose I could get into trouble for this, as in order to get it done I had to use this page's source code, customise it in TextEdit and then upload it to a different host. When you click on one of the categories in the sidebar, you're being taken to an external page which is as identical as practical to my main blog page, displaying a list of my entries as sorted by me, that then links back to my blog. I don't know how Google feel about use of their IP in this way, but I'm only using it to extend the site's functionality and it's not as if most people clicking the links will know the difference.

The downside is going to be maintenance. Every time I write a new post, I have to open my HTML file, paste in the post's permanent link, and then upload again. But then we're talking about what, two minutes? Hardly a huge chunk of my day.

So this is what I did:

        1. pasted the source code of my main page into TextEdit.
        2. deleted all but the first post.
        3. decided on my categories and overwrote the existing post with their headings, giving each heading an internal page link: ie <a name="cat1">Allotment</a>
        4. edited the footer to delete the comments and trackback, and changed the permanent link - in this case to the address I was planning to host the page at.
        5. opened my blog and copied the permanent link of every entry (this is why it's good there aren't many of them yet!), and then pasted them under the appropriate category heading in TextEdit.
        6. removed from the sidebar all dynamic content: ie the list of recent posts, archives and image links. Other links that I don't anticipate changing often can stay for the sake of consistency.
        7. opened my Blogger template and added links to each of the category headings on my new page.
        8. cut and paste the changes to my template to TextEdit, again for consistency.
        9. saved my template changes and republished my blog.
        10. wrote this entry!
        11. added this entry to the "Meta" category, and uploaded my new page.

It was a very educational experience. I know categories can be faked by setting up multiple blogs with identical templates to your main Blogger page, but I imagine this takes even more faff than my method to maintain.

I like what I've done. If anyone can improve it, or knows other methods of using categories in Blogger, please leave a comment.

Category: Meta

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