Monday, December 26, 2005

Always a New Adventure!

I sat down today to redo the template of my blog for a 'Happy New Year' Theme. For anyone who plays with their templates, and has switched them out for something new, will probably feel my pain!

For those who haven't done this.... let me explain just what it entails! I do most of my 'experimenting' in my Test blog that I have set up.

First, for me, it meant finding a tiling background image. I found one I liked, but when I typed on it the words were a little difficult to read. Since I didn't want to give my readers eyestrain, I set out to figure out something else! My solution was to make my background be the pattern, and make the header, content, and sidebar have a black background on top of it. Since I didn't want to start entirely from scratch, I went to the blogger free templates and found a basic black one. This would save me from having to go thru and change the color of every link/header/etc to a color that can be read on black.

The first step was simple..... change the background to my tiling one. Then it started to get interesting. There were 3 separate places I needed to 'add' a black background to so I could see/read my blog... but, it wasn't over yet!

I did NOT like the fact that my words bumped right up against the edge of the black.... ::sigh:: time to figure out how margins work. A quick trip over to a CSS tutorial revealed that margins can be set with 1 to 4 numbers. And, of course, the number I needed to be concerned with was the last one! Going thru and changing these margins (often having to ADD the command), and testing each time before saving was time consuming, but not insurmountable. Things were starting to look the way I wanted... So, now we move on to the Sidebar!

Just a heads up to anyone who hasn't changed out a template.... when you put the new one in everything you've added to the sidebar/header goes bye-bye! I find the easiest thing to do is bring up your 'real' journal in one tab of Firefox, and the test one in another. Now, switching back and forth you can copy/paste the old info from your sidebar into the new template easily. After you paste each item, check it, and if it looks o.k., save it and go on to the next item. Trust me... you do NOT want to do several items only to make a mistake and have to start over with item #1!!! If you don't have a 'test' blog, you will need to copy your old template before you start and have it in a notepad document so it will be handy to cut/paste from.

Once you have all of your changes in place, republish your test journal and take a look... If everything looks good, do a copy of the code and paste it into a notepad file and save it with a name that you will remember. Now open up your 'real' blog and save THAT template (just in case you want to go back to it... or you missed copying some item!). You are almost to the last step now... or so you think! Copy the new code into your template space, click on preview, and take a look... If all appears well, click on the Save button and republish.

Now for the interesting thing.... Once your code 'goes wild' (i.e. is actually published) be sure and view your blog. Often something will be not quite right. Somehow my comment count got messed up.... I had to search my code and discover why... Turned out to be a spot where somehow the code got broken into two rows in a bad spot. A quick backspace to bring the code back together and I was golden!!

As a quick sidenote, I was also able to locate what was causing my blog to look 'odd' in AOL. My sidebar had been dropping down below the first column. In looking at some posts while changing things around, I discovered I had copied a long link someone had sent me in an email into a post. The link was causing my left column to be too wide for AOL. I quickly went into edit html, changed the link to a 'click here' type and viola! sidebar returns to the top of my page! HTML & CSS can be fussy... you have to 'dot every i and cross every t' if you want it to work correctly!

I'm really enjoying the freedom of expression that we have over here. Lots of interesting things to try! If you have any questions about how I did something, just ask! That's what a community if for... We help each other out!!!


Gull said...

I love the design and totally agree with you on the differences between aol and blogger options .... I currently prefer blogdrive, however -- not much difference, but it's USUALLY more reliable than blogger. I just keep alternating between team sites when something goes down!!

Maybe AOL's beta-design will offer more options. I hate to leave aol because I have no choice BUT dial up currently AND it's by far the best in terms of connection service.

Celeste said...

I think until I find a permament background I want for my journal I will just stick to adding backgrounds to each entry.
Note to Gull, AOL is planing on doing templates for thier journals alsoo.

Ari said...

Ah yes, I definitely do feel your pain, as I recently just did the exact same thing a few days ago. I don't know any html, so mine was all by trial and error. Somehow I figured it all out.

Your blog looks great. Congrats!


DesLily said...

ok ok so your a "smartie pants".. sheesh... lol... as long as you post your animal pictures i give you my permission to fool with the rest of your journal LOL LOL...

you know i only went to the aol one until i knew your video was gone.. that was a killer on dialup lol lol.. actually, even my own journal on aol is a killer for me lately!.. I've got to learn to write without pictures and graphics!!! (is that possible?)

Antonette said...

I definitely know your pain. I cursed at my puter monitor at least a dozen times.

Becky said...

Well, all I can say is...COOL! It looks great!

Anonymous said...

It's looking good!

There's a site I use for html code & testing ... you can see it here: Merchant's Encyclopedia of HTML -- I have no affiliation; I just like the site :)


Jod{i} said...

Oh I feeeeeeeeeeeel your pain all the way over here! But it is fun in a sorta sick way, isnt it?LOL
I love it! Nice job!!

Happy New YEar!!!!!!

Chris said...

Which is exactly why I am content to leave mine alone for the most part, ha ha!

My Blog
My BigOven Page for food & recipes

Anonymous said...

Nice design! I'm sticking with AOL jornals for now.


Promise said...

hey love the new look. Makes me feel all ready for the New year! And that takes a lot! :)

TJ said...

OH GOD! I am so glad you shared the Doom of Template Change with us. I wondered what all would have to be replace...oh man thats alot of work!!
It looks great though!

V said...

Wow! You did a great job!

Gabreael said...

Happy New Year!


AlbGlinka said...

It looks wonderful! I'm impressed with all it takes to do all of this, and I'm also trying to accept the fact that I myself am just not that into .html and advanced computer stuff. Maybe one day...

Happy New Year! --Albert

Chris Moonbeams said...

Hi there, I was surfing the internet and I found your blog. I like the way how this all works. I'll come by again.

Many thanks,