Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blog Fade, Cache Fade, and Resurrection - Part 2

In the time since my first post in 2005, blogging technology has changed dramatically, so it was time that this site change as well.  In part two of this post, I want to briefly share what is new and different on this site before I return you to your regular geocaching programming. 

For those who might not know or remember what this site looked like before - and I'm not so vain to assume that you do - this site used a somewhat customized version of the Rounders 3 template provided in the old template library in pre-2008 Blogger.  

The old blue/green/tan template worked well for a number of years.  But it was not widget-based, so any customizations including side-bar changes required direct editing of the main template file itself.  To work around this limitation, I used multiple embedded JSON feeds from delicious.com (del.icio.us back then) to display both the popular posts list, tag-based categories, and the other blogroll-type lists on the page.  At the time, this was a fairly unique use of social bookmarking.  Now, it is just old and kludgy.

The new site uses a version of the Picture Window theme built from the Blogger Theme Designer that was customized slightly for my personal use.  It is widget-based and allows me to reorganize and rearrange the sections of this blog simply by dragging-and-dropping.  It uses Blogger's built-in (powered by Google) search, popular posts lists, list of followers, and category labels.

The old site contained Google Adwords at the top of each and every post.  The new site doesn't.  I still use Google Adwords, but never within the posts themselves.  They are limited to the small gap between posts and only appear after every 3rd post.

I also changed the manually-coded sharing/subscribe section to use a customized widget from http://www.addthis.com/.  This new "Bookmark and Share" section displays popular sharing/bookmarking options that are unique to each visitor based on the sites and services that each visitor has used recently.  All visitors will see the GoogleFacebook, Twitter, Instapaper, and Evernote buttons [my personal fave five], but the rest could differ for each visitor.  For example, if visitor "A" normally shares links on Digg, that button will appear higher in the list.  If visitor "B" normally shares links on Tumblr, that button will appear higher in the list.  If visitor "C" normally bookmarks links on Diigo, that button will appear higher in the list.  Altogether there are over 300 various bookmarking and sharing services available to users that can be accessed under the last AddThis button.  So regardless of where you like to share or bookmark links, you can now do so quickly and easily!

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