December 19, 2007

Messing around with templates

I wonder: does my blog need more gifs, more widgets, more gadgets? More Santas, trees, elves, snow, stars... a new header, maybe...?

Seriously, the day after Christmas all the bells and whistles on this page will vanish into the ether. I was going to wait until Epiphany [Twelfth Night, the Day of the Three Kings, el Día de los Reyes Magos], but the page has gone a bit over the top -- taken on an unsettling life of its own, really -- and my dream blog is actually a cool, austere page with two or three soft colors and zero add-ons, so that all the focus is on the written word, as it should be.

Oh, who am I kidding -- my blog looks like a piñata exploded, and that's just the way I like it.

A Blogger "issue" [header images shrinking] and a bad ankle [I was housebound] triggered the fit of hacking. All I originally set out to do was fix the header, but along the way I wound up discovering a community of talented bloggers in Spain and Latin America with hacks to spare, and to share. Some of these generous folks are listed in the Trucos drop-down menu at the very top of the screen, and some of their widgets can be found at the bottom of the page.

I'm new to HTML and CSS and such, and the first time I changed anything in my Lassie template I was shaking like a leaf, even though I'd experimented on a few practice blogs and backed everything up hundreds of times. I'm a lot more casual now, and thoroughly addicted. If I lived in NoCal I'd be begging Google to hire me. (I can play with templates! Give me stock options!) Realistically, I've discovered a fun new addiction obsession hobby.

Big, giant hat tips and besitos to:
El Escaparate de Rosa for one of my most favorite changes -- breaking up the sidebars into sections. El Escaparate was also my source for the Christmas trees, the marching Santas and falling snow.

La Blogería provided the elf gif, the penguin & snowman and a wealth of ideas.

Futurox Blogx provided the link to the Network Bar Generator and other top-of-the-screen banners.

El Blog de César was the inspiration and source for another of my favorite changes: the date block that now appears on each post. There's a bit of a glitch with this feature: on my blog it appears on all archived links, individual posts and the home page, but seems to disappear from some of the "older posts" pages if you visit them by clicking the link at the foot of the main column. Nevertheless, I like the date block so much that I'm willing to live with the glitch while I hunt for a solution.

Edited to add: So I deleted the "older posts" link. Solved that little problem. [You can find all previous posts in the Archives section.]

Key Trucos blog was the rabbit hole that started this whole trip. Key Trucos, Cábalas Virtuales and other sites have given me enough ideas for new blog features and templates to keep me out of trouble for some time. Many of these sites link to some of the better-known and not-so-well-known English-language sites for blogger hacks. For me, the most helpful site in English was Tricks for New Bloggers.

Finally, thanks to the readers who have endured my stumbling around in the template. Download time should be shorter when the holiday stuff is removed [she said, hopefully].

Edited to add: the terrific new Google search feature is available through Blogger in Draft.

Edited again to thank César for the cool navigation bar at the bottom of the header!


Anonymous said...

I like all the eye candy but I have high-speed. Somebody on dialup would have to wait awhile for everything to load, even I'm finding it a bit slow.

On my blog, I like some graphics, etc but try to keep them low key for my dialup readers. Here in Ontario, people in rural areas get the shaft, servicewise and Bell won't change the lines for DSL unless there's a lot of demand, which of course, due to low density, there won't be. They're using the old modems, remember those? Took 5 minutes to load a newspaper? Don't know if it's the same in the US.

I am getting a huge kick out of all your Christmas decorations but of course, it's the writing (and bird-dogging) that keeps bringing me back!

Luisa said...

Argh, I should scale back. (My sis is on dial-up -- and she lives in Silicon Valley. Clearly, not everyone has an online addiction.)

I suspect all the flashing lights, stars, etc. are the culprit. Darn gifs. We'll find out on, um, Boxing Day ;~)

kabbage said...

Did you find any particular books or websites super-useful for learning html and css? I want to develop a website, and I am at the bottom of the learning curve on this stuff.

Luisa said...

This site is held together with baling twine and duct tape -- that's how bad my knowledge is of HTML and CSS.

I ran across a couple sites offering HTML [or CSS, or intro to blogging] tutorials while I was searching for stuff for this blog, but I can't for the life of me find those sites again, and I could use them. I'll keep looking.

Just for blogging, this site has a bunch of tips and tricks:
Tips for New Bloggers.

Luisa said...

Gah --- here's that link: