Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogs and Articles

I'm not much of a fan of Slate for technical articles but they have an excellent article on the changing face of blogs and magazines.

While Gawker is dropping the blog format, sites of magazines like Wired and The Atlantic are embracing it. (At both outlets, all articles, other than those that first appeared in print, are published in a blog-like format.) Or check out Newsweek, whose home page lists headlines and snippets in reverse-chronological order, just like at your friend's Blogger site.

The design shifts—with blogs looking more like magazines, and magazines looking more like blogs—aren't just superficial. These changes in presentation are collapsing all distinctions between "blog posts" and "articles."

Slate, This is Not a Blog Post

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why am I waiting so long for some websites to download?

Too many sites I go to take a long time to render - often times over 30 seconds. The page displays but freezes so that the user is unable to scroll down and often the site temporarily freezes the browser so that one is unable to go elsewhere. (I find this issue to be more prevalent with IE than Firefox. It also applies only to the tabs and windows associated with that particular session.)

I've looked at the coding of these pages. Most of them are professionally done. The coding is fine and the graphics of reasonable size. So why do the pages take so long to render?

These pages had one thing in common. They had dozens of external javascripts for content scrollers, assorted widgets, jQuery, analytics and dozens more external CSS calls. Many of these .js and .css calls were unnecessary. The lesson here is that developers need to pay more attention to these external HTTP calls and limit them to what is necessary. It may be necessary to recombine the css and js to optimize the page loads.

Another big offender is the practice of preloading videos and podcasts. Developers cannot make the assumption that users will want to view these items. In delaying the page rendering in order to pre-load the videos they are alienating viewers. It may be a tough decision but pre-loading may not be an option.

See an earlier article: @Font-Face and Page Rendering

Monday, October 4, 2010

How to Add Different Meta Tags for Different Posts in Blogger

This is one of the questions I get very frequently.

One trick of the trade used by all developers is to save a back-up. This way, if you can't undo your changes, for whatever reason, you can still revert to the original. After saving a back-up to your harddrive find the following piece of code: all-head-content

(In Windows do a CTRL F)

It will take you to the following:

<b:include data='blog' name='all-head-content'/>

Just after the above code add the following.

1. Tell Blogger which page you want to give the unique meta tags.
2. If you want to use the META Description Tag describe your content in a sentence or two.
3. If you want to use the META Keyword Tag put in your keywords and separate them with a comma.

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == ""'>

<meta content='How to add different meta tags for different posts' name='description'/>

<meta content='meta tags, blogger' name='keywords'/>

You can repeat this step as often as you want to.

It is my opinion that using these tags is not worth the effort. Ten years ago, yes, they were useful. Today, after all the abuse by SEOs, these tags are close to useless.