Hitler Finds Out Blogger FTP Service is Ending

I do not post the Hitler videos very often, but thanks to Blogger Shutting Down FTP Service Erik Aronesty left a comment telling us about his script to keep using Blogger with FTP. I have not tried the script out but it looks interesting. If you are being afected by Bloggers decision to close FTP publishing take a look, might be what you need. Erik had the Hitler video embedded on his site and it made me laugh, so here you are to enjoy.

Blogger Shutting Down FTP Service

It seems like a long time since I logged into Blogger.com to update a Blogger.com powered blog. Blogger.com was the only service I knew of that offered FTP publishing. FTP publishing was a great way to publish a Blogger.com powered blog to your own domain name, before they started offering custom domains. Soon I will not be able too since FTP published blogs since Google and Blogger.com are closing down the FTP publishing feature effective March 26, 2010.

For those blogs that I did occasionally update I will have to consider switching them to a custom domain hosted on Blogger.com. This will have an impact on some of my clients, since it was an easy way for them to update a blog on their website that was easier to learn than WordPress. For those clients that this will effect I will be in touch with you later this week with some easy alternatives for you to continue updating your websites.

Here is a copy of the email that I recieved regarding Blogger.com closing down FTP publishing.

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/.

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.

Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing[1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year’s post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you’re interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

o We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
o We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation
o Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released.

We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger.

Easy Top Post Widget

One of the things that has always bothered me about using Blogger.com as a blogging platform is how limited it is for adding extras to your blog such as a top posts widget. Sure it has gotten better, but if you use their FTP publishing service you are still limited to either some kind of server side scripting hack, doing it manually by editing the template HTML or some kind of Javascript widget. I have not found a decent top posts widget for Blogger.com up until now. I came across AideRSS a little while ago and quickly realized I could use it to add a dynamic top posts widget to my FTP published Blogger.com blog.

AideRSS is more than just a top posts widget. AideRSS is actually a way to sort through a lot of the noise by filtering out posts by different levels based on your interests. For example you might not want to read every single post Boing Boing posts. Using AideRSS you can subscribe in your RSS reader to the best posts that they create, thus eliminating some of the noise that can clog up your RSS reader.

The side benefit of AideRSS is that they create top posts widgets. You can submit your own blogs RSS feed, such as your Blogger.com blog and AideRSS will create a top posts list sorted by what they call postrank. You can choose the time period that you want the top posts to be created from. Either year, month, week or day, and the number of top posts you would like to show. Here is a sample of Epibloggers top posts widget showing the top five posts for the year.

If you are looking for a top posts widget for your blog the AideRSS widget might be just the one you are looking for. Because it is Javascript it will create no extra load on your web hosting if you use a self hosted blogging platform and if you are on a hosted blogging platform, such as Blogger.com, most allow some Javascript widgets to be added. You could even use it to show off your friends blogs top posts if you want. With a little CSS styling you could probably make it blend in perfectly with your blog.

Blogger Buster – Interview

Blogger Buster Logo

Through the use of Entrecard I have come across the most unique Blogger.com blog I have think I have ever seen. It is called Blogger Buster and it offers tips, tricks and templates for Blogger.com bloggers. I was so curious about the site that I got in touch with Amanda, the owner of Blogger Buster, to ask her some questions about the site. Below are the questions I sent Amanda and her answers. The only edits I added are some links and screenshots to the appropriate places.

Q. How long did it take to put together the template for Blogger Buster?
Blogger Buster ScreenshotIt was roughly two weeks of solid work in total. I barely had the time to post on my blog during the redesign as I was so engrossed in testing and experimenting with new ideas!

I wanted to create a showcase of what is possible to achieve with a Blogger blog, but in the end I had to compromise a little. The result is actually two blogs and a PHP based (off blog) section which are all made to appear like the same site, with the use of sub-domains and external hosting.

Overall I’m pleased with how this turned out, though I still make little tweaks now and again!

Q. You have some unique Blogger templates available at Blogger Buster. What is the most popular? What is you favourite?
Blogger Buster Butterfly ThemeOf all my templates, I think “Butterfly” remains my favorite. It certainly seems to be the most popular download on the site! I also like the “Web 2.0” templates too (red, pink, blue). These were designed as a more user friendly template which work a little like BB, but are much
simpler to use and install.

Q. Where do you get inspiration for your templates?
Online I regularly visit sites like Smashing Magazine, Deziner Folio and Weblog Tools Collection. I’m always hunting for articles showcasing the best in web design and blog templates which I also use to inspire me.

The Designers Republic has always been inspirational to me (they’re based in the town where I live). But anything related to great design can be useful;: the Butterfly template was actually inspired by the color and design of a T shirt I saw while out shopping!

Q. Do you recommend that people using Blogger for blogging use FTP publishing or should they use Blogspot hosting? How is Blogger Buster published, FTP or on Blogspot?
These days, I would strongly recommend Blogspot hosting. Now you can link a custom domain to your blog (this is how Blogger Buster is published), and Blogger will host your blog for you, with no limitations on bandwidth or page views. It seems to be the cheapest method, and is certainly more user friendly!

Publishing by FTP does give slightly more control over your blog, but FTP blogs cannot use the Blogger layouts (XML based templates with widgets)

Q. What do you like best about using Blogger to blog?
I love that you can edit Blogger templates using only one file, especially that you are able to preview changes before committing to them! Also, Blogger is very simple and easy to use. Anyone can start a blog with Blogger, without needing any prior knowledge of HTML, databases or code.

Q What do you dislike most about using Blogger to blog?
Unfortunately, Blogger can be more restrictive in terms of what can be achieved, with regards to both templates and publishing options. I’ve worked with Wordpress too, and am often frustrated by the lack of Blogger’s functionality in comparison to Wordpress. But then I’ve always loved a challenge, so finding ways around such problems is something I enjoy doing.

Q. What feature would you most like to see Blogger add?
It would be tough to choose just one thing, as there are two main features I would love Blogger to add!

Firstly is a built in post summary feature, so users can choose how much of their posts are displayed on the main pages, without having to hack their templates so extensively!

Secondly, I would love to see a “plugin repository” for Blogger, which would enable users to add so much more functionality to their blogs and posts. Currently Blogger does provide many different widgets for the sidebars, but for everything else we have to rely on externally hosted
javascripts which can really slow page loading time. A repository hosted on Blogger which people can contribute to would be a really great resource!

Q. What is your most popular Blogger tip?
Of all my posts, the ones about “creating a three column template“, and “setting up a custom domain” are the most popular to date. Lately, I’ve been publishing a series of posts in the “Customizing Blogger Templates” series in which I’m helping my readers through the process I use to create a completely customized template, and these tips are also quite popular.

Q. You released your ebook “A Cheats’ Guide to Customizing Blogger Templates” recently. How has it been received?
I’ve been thrilled with the responses so far! I’ve had loads of comments and emails from readers who have downloaded this to say how useful it has been in learning the basics of Blogger template customization.

In the future, I will also publish a follow up (“The complete guide to Blogger Template Design”), which will be a much longer, and more detailed ebook based on my Blogger Template Design series.

Thank you Amanda for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope things go well with Blogger Buster. It is a blog that was needed for Blogger.com bloggers.

If you don’t want to deal with some of the more technical aspects of running your own website, I still recommend Blogger.com to people. It is easy to use and offers bloggers a way to easily create their blog without some of the more technical hurdles that can get in the way for people. If you do use Blogger.com for your blog take a look at Blogger Buster and some of the templates and tips that are offered there. They could save you a lot of time and make your blog stand out from the crowd of other Blogger.com blogs.