January 09, 2007

New Features

There has been a major new release of BlogBuilder this morning with a few new important features that users may be interested in.

Rich Text Editing


Users of SiteBuilder2 may be familiar with the JScript editor that is used to edit SiteBuilder pages, called TinyMCE. This editor has now been implemented into Warwick Blogs to allow users to create entries in a much more user friendly way than the current Textile2 editor.

As this is a new feature and has been generally untested, this is turned off by default. To turn it on, click "Admin" in the top right hand corner of your blog's homepage, then click "Settings", and finally change the setting of "Default editor for creating new entries" to WYSIWYG Editor. All new entries that you create will then use the new editor (entries created in the WYSIWYG Editor can only be edited in the WYSIWYG editor, and the same goes for the Textile2 editor).

Editing with TinyMCE

Notable advantages of using the WYSIWYG Editor:

  • You can use keyboard shortcuts and formatting buttons similar to most word processors
  • There is a spell-check button that allows you to check the spelling on your entry
  • There are easy buttons to allow you to embed images (both in your gallery or from your hard drive) and videos
Google Analytics

One of our most requested features is to provide statistics for users' blogs - how many people are reading the blog, where are they coming from, which entries are most popular. Rather than create a fully featured stats package from scratch, we decided to make it easy to use Google Analytics to monitor your blog.

For information on how to use this, please refer to this FAQ.

Other updates

There have been a number of other minor bug fixes and improvements, including:

  • The photo editor has been upgraded to the latest version, with improved red-eye reduction and other improvements to features
  • Bugs related to posting trackbacks have been resolved
  • The "Create entry" page should now load faster than before (we realise it took a very long time sometimes)
As always, any comments, bug reports or notes can be posted on this blog entry or on the Blogs Forum.

- 20 comments by 7 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. Posh! Cheeeeeeeeeers buildermat builders

    09 Jan 2007, 10:58

  2. Well would you believe that I was just looking at Google Analytics this morning, and then Mr Mat comes along…

    09 Jan 2007, 12:55

  3. Christopher Doidge

    Don’t know what made me think of it, but is it possible to put a break in blog entries? Like this: http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/09/live-from-macworld-2007-steve-jobs-keynote/

    09 Jan 2007, 17:20

  4. Mathew Mannion

    That link really doesn’t explain what you mean, luckily as an engadget reader I do know what you mean… I’m guessing the way it’d work is to have a small snippet of content on aggregation pages/your blog’s homepage, but then to have the full content (accessible via a Read More… link) on the entry page itself. ‘Tis is a bit tricksy… An easier thing to do would be to just have the content appear in-place via Javascript (thereby not needing to store two versions of the content), but this would mean that even when you go to the specific entry you’d still have to click Read more.

    Tis not easy, that sort of approach is more suited to spoilers than for (what my old school mind calls) lj-cuts.

    09 Jan 2007, 17:41

  5. Christopher Doidge

    I chose my link wisely. Like the new features, although when using the WYSIWYG editor and then clicking ‘Preview’, nothing comes up. As WYSIWYG doesn’t actually do what it says (doesn’t include my blog’s style sheet), Preview would still be handy. Also, spell check crashed Firefox.

    09 Jan 2007, 19:57

  6. Christopher Doidge

    (P.S. See what you mean – should have linked to the homepage, not the article)

    09 Jan 2007, 19:58

  7. Eleanor O'Donnell

    But my favourite link still doesn’t change colour for entries I have read! :(

    Good stuff though, seems like significant changes afoot.

    09 Jan 2007, 20:51

  8. Andrew Ingram

    You can put this in your custom css, it’ll make the new entries have a bold link and the read entries to have a… non-bold link.

    #favourites #entries li.entry1 a:link strong { font-weight: bold; }
    #favourites #entries li.entry0 a:link strong { font-weight: bold; }

    #favourites #entries li.entry1 a:visited strong { font-weight: normal; }
    #favourites #entries li.entry0 a:visited strong { font-weight: normal; }

    The advantage being that this method works on any blog theme, not just a specific one.

    09 Jan 2007, 22:08

  9. Steve Rumsby

    Just tried the new editor this afternoon and discovered that the image insertion function doesn’t seem to be as useful as that in the textile editor. There didn’t seem to be an obvious way to insert a thumbnail that links to a bigger version, unless I missed it.

    Is there any way you could make the editor selectable from the “Create” screen?

    10 Jan 2007, 16:03

  10. Mathew Mannion

    The editor currently on blogs is a first evolution – we’ll be improving the features gradually to begin with. Not being able to insert a thumbnail is an oversight that will likely be corrected before the next release. In fact, here’s a feature request for you to follow :)

    Could you elaborate on making the editor selectable from the “Create” screen? If you mean make it selectable from the screen you get when you click on “Create entry” (where it gives you a list of what kind of entry you want to create) then that’s fairly simple, but making it selectable from the actual create entry screen is extremely difficult. Basically, the main problem is that the two editors are incompatible with each other in terms of content, so you’d lose any content you’d already written, which I imagine would infuriate people :)

    10 Jan 2007, 16:26

  11. Steve Rumsby

    Could you elaborate on making the editor selectable from the “Create” screen?

    What I’m really asking for is an easy way of selecting which editor to use for a new entry. Having to change the blog settings each time is too inconvenient. For as long as there are features that work well in one and not the other (like inserting images) it would be useful to set the default as whichever works for you most of the time, but be able to easily select the other when you need it.

    I did have in mind being able to select from the “create entry” screen, and I did realise that that would mean discarding any existing content. A “do you really mean this” pop-up should be warning enough. You could also make the select inactive once content exists in the text box, I guess. I never use the higher level create screen, always choosing the relevant entry from the menu, but I could live with having to go through that screen if I wanted to switch editors. On the assumption that ultimately both editors will do all things equally well so there should be no need to switch like this, it seems better to go with the easiest solution.

    10 Jan 2007, 16:46

  12. Mathew Mannion

    I agree wholeheartedly. Just gotta think of a clever way to do it…

    10 Jan 2007, 17:38

  13. Mathew Mannion

    When using the WYSIWYG editor and then clicking ‘Preview’, nothing comes up

    There didn’t seem to be an obvious way to insert a thumbnail that links to a bigger version, unless I missed it.

    Is there any way you could make the editor selectable from the “Create” screen?

    All of these issues are fixed for the next release of BlogBuilder, as well as adding a blockquote button (not sure how I missed that). You will be able to switch from one editor to another on the edit screen, but beware that there may be a loss of content (though this has been minimalised).

    There’s also new features, of course. Yay!

    11 Jan 2007, 15:30

  14. The FAQ link above to Google Analytics would appear to redirect to the general FAQ page. Has this been pulled?

    14 Jun 2007, 16:50

  15. Mathew Mannion

    Hi Richard,

    The FAQs were all moved around in the new IT Services website. You can now find the FAQ here:

    http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/its/servicessupport/web/blogs/faqs/managing/analytics/

    14 Jun 2007, 17:21

  16. Alastair Smith

    Could we have a “report a comment” feature? I had a particularly offensive comment posted to my entry of 10 July 2006, and whilst I have since deleted the comment, I feel that I should I have been able to report the user’s IP address (86.29.30.90) as well.

    14 Aug 2007, 12:30

  17. Mathew Mannion

    If you continually get abusive comments, you should report them to blogs@warwick.ac.uk – if it’s just one or two, they should just be deleted. Trolling is an unfortunate consequence of the Internet.

    14 Aug 2007, 12:36

  18. You know that better than most Mat. ;)

    So what about the case where a user find a comment offensive but the author doesn’t? Is it for the offended to report the entry, or email admin with regard to the blog, or contact the blog owner?

    14 Aug 2007, 19:39

  19. Mathew Mannion

    The stance we have taken is that each user is responsible for the comments on his or her own blog. If another user is offended by those comments, they should go to the blog owner.

    14 Aug 2007, 20:29

  20. Alastair Smith

    Thanks for the tip, Mat, I’ll bear it in mind for the future.

    15 Aug 2007, 18:05


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