2004-07-16

Blogger's new interface

Something strange happened last night. Blogger's really useful "Preview" function disappeared, and a seemingly useless (but impressively large) "Change Time & Date" bar appeared instead. This is in Safari. If you remember the keyboard equivalent for "Preview", you can use it, and the text area disappears, but you don't get to see the preview.

It turns out that there's a new "rich" editor. Only it doesn't work on the Mac. If you use Safari, you lose your old "Preview" function (which was really, really, useful) but everything else still works. If you use Camino, you can't type in the text area. You can title a new entry, but you can't add any content. So I don't know whether "Preview" works or not.

An interesting way to implement a WYSIWYG editor, that. You see nothing, you get nothing. (But then, you pay nothing.)

As far as I can see, there's no way to get the old interface back. So I have to wait for a new Safari (H1 2005, with Mac OS 10.4?), or – presumably – wait for a new Camino. I'd like to think that Blogger will fix itself, but if the Blogger programmers cared about the Mac, they wouldn't have released the update like this, would they? [See update at bottom.]

So, what do I have to look forward to when it does work on the Mac? A tool bar of icons that don't mean anything to me (but it's okay, I can wait for tool tips to appear, one by one), offering functionality I won't use. Multiple fonts? Colors? Links to my cat pictures? A clumsier implementation of spelling checking than Cocoa gives me for nothing?

Awesome.

I wouldn't mind so much if it had always been like that, but I was seriously impressed last week when I first saw Blogger. Here, I thought, were people who really got it. If you'd have asked me what to expect in future, I'd have mentioned things such as automatically translating -- to – and automatic quote-sexing and stuff like that. Invisible clever stuff that just does the right thing. LaTeX did it, and to be honest, I was quite surprised Blogger didn't.

Oh well. I'd better go and mail them a complaint. Remind them that the 7% of web users who aren't using MS Internet Explorer do exist, and know how to whine...

[Update: "Preview" has returned in Safari, and works properly. There are only two tool bar buttons ("ABC cuneiform" and "cat pictures"). Camino now has a text area you can actually type in, and has less on its tool bar, but more than Safari (in addition to Safari's icons, Camino gets "b", "i", "big-eyed frog" and "flip-top bins").]