Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A mind-Bloggingly terrible nuisance!

I have just emerged victorious - but rather broken and disappointed - from a 72-hour struggle with what has clearly been my first ever - and hopefully my last - encounter with a *L*O*U*S*Y* product from Google. Blogger. Blogspot. Whatever you call it. Thanks to Blogger, I took a trip down memory lane and went back to school. Kind of. I had to revise my HTML basics and literally "hand-write" my post from scratch trying in raw HTML in the "Edit HTML" tab of the editor.

For those of you who blog on Blogger/Blogspot (the same blogging site on which this blog is posted), you would have seen the "slick" new editor. Since I only posted brief messages till now, I thought it was rather neat. My wife had previously sought my help clean up some posts on her blog - the long and short of her problem was that the editor seemed to have a mind of its own and arbitrarily inserted whitespaces and new lines. I dismissively attributed the clunky behavior to the fact that she was copying+pasting from the Word document where she had originally composed her notes and recipes - after all, if you paste rich text in a "smart" editor, the formatting will also carry. Right? Turns out, I was only partly right.

Turns out that WebKit (Apple's layout engine on which Chrome is based) does some mighty weird things every time you edit anything - the algorithm it uses to "interpret" hard returns and formatting is "intriguing" at best. In a nutshell, it creates "" tags for empty lines and these tags add vertical whitespace. Especially when - at times; the logic of which remains a mystery - it also adds a line-height attribute (125% and 20px seem to be WebKit's favorite values). And God help you - assuming even He is willing to touch the resulting mess - if you switch between the "Edit HTML" and "Compose" options.

Granted, I was trying to create a rather lengthy "post" and I will agree that blogs may not be the ideal forum for such lengthy content, but that is no excuse for the mind-bloggingly terrible nuisance this new editor has turned out to be. 

(Sigh!) The bright side of this experience is that I tried out Wordpress (and will probably migrate there), burshed up on my HTML, learnt some new things in Eclipse while experimenting for a fix and got a lesson in perseverance.

Thank you, Google! GRRRR!



Prasad said...

Wordpress is the ideal blogging place. But all good things comes at a cost :)

Suhas M Mallya said...

Hmmm... Thanks for the validation, but what do you mean "at a cost"? I thought it was free?