September 16, 2005

BlogBuilder update: New designs

If your blog looks wrong, try doing a forced refresh (pressing CTRL and F5 together) or restarting your browser

There has been a new release of BlogBuilder with several improvements and fixes:

New Markup / CSS

Andy Ingram has created new markup and CSS for blogs pages now. You may need to press Ctrl-F5 in your browser (a forced refresh) to make sure you have the latest stylesheets.

Included in this:

  • HTML rearranged to put entries before the sidebar, gives improved accessibility and search engine results
  • Fixed various issues of content dropping below the sidebar
  • Left-floated images should no longer drop into the entries below
  • Utility Bar appears correctly in Opera 7
  • The background image in the header of all blog styles should now be visible in Internet Explorer
  • The whole banner area (except utility bar) is now part of the link back to your overall blog view
  • Removed opacity effects from various blog styles to allow more consistancy between browsers
  • Most blog styles tweaked in some way for browser consistency
  • Galleries should now be more readable (no more white on white)
  • The bluegreen2 style is completely redone
  • New style: black 2
  • New style: puce
  • New style: swift1
  • Favourites markup improved and styled to suit each individual blog style better
Known Issues
  • Existing styles don't appear exactly the same as before, if you feel an important part of the style has been overlooked or changed, please don't hesitate to mention it.
  • Javascript has been used to make some of the blogs styles appear correctly with the new layout markup and styling. If javascript is disabled the blogs may not appear exactly as intended. Resizing the text in the browser may also cause problems; this can be fixed by reloading the page. Pages should still be fully readable however.

New Blogs Search

New Blog Search has now been implemented into the front page and the sidebar. When you start typing in, search results will appear immediately below the box, and then you can click on any of the results or on "more results" (or press enter) to get to the posts you want.

Search works better if you're logged in, because if you're logged in then it will search protected posts as well.

New Features

  • Tags: You can now select which tags you want to display on your sidebar, or how many of your top tags to display, and also display a list of untagged entries if you please.
  • Tag Selection: You can now click on a number of suggested tags when making an entry
  • Comment Spam: When a non-logged in user tries to make a comment on your blog, they must answer an arbritrary question (by default, "What colour is an orange?") – this has allowed us to set the default commenting permissions back to "Anyone", which should make the WGA people "well chuffed".


  • My Comments: By default, your "My Comments" page now sorts by the date of the most recent comment on the entry, not the date of your most recent comment. You can still sort by the old format if desired.
  • Comment Information: When you're trying to make a comment, you can see a padlock next to the "COMMENTS" title which will tell you who has permission to comment - this will allow you to see easily why you're not allowed to comment (did you forget to login?) or if your own entries are accidentally locked (or unlocked)
  • Book/DVD/CD/Game Reviews: You can now attach a custom picture and URL to a Book, DVD, CD or Game review just like with Movie and TV reviews, so you could quite easily make Gig Reviews under the guise of a Music review and they would appear under the "Music Review" entry type.
  • Top Tags: The top tags page is now weighted differently; it will weight tags that appear on several blogs much, much higher than those that appear on a single blog. Also, the Top Tags page now only shows tags used in the past month by default, in order to show popular issues at the present time.
  • Miscellaneous: When on a tag page, you can now see the actual entry and image counts being displayed and how many are available on the other links. The "Tag" counter on the front page now only shows the number of unique tags. Tag counts in the sidebar no longer take into account draft entries.


  • Image Editing: You can now edit your images again. Sorry about that.
  • Tag Selector: You can also use the up/down arrows in your entries again. Again, sorry…

- 43 comments by 5 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. yay, good work blogbuilder team! I particularly like the comment spam question ;) It should be sufficiently taxing for dan not to be able to comment but will allow everyone else through!

    16 Sep 2005, 10:28

  2. Mathew Mannion

    I was going to change mine to "What is the plural of sheep?" to keep the X-Factor and Sweety The Chick fans out…

    16 Sep 2005, 10:33

  3. very nice.

    16 Sep 2005, 10:34

  4. Just in case you don't catch this on MSN, it seems Tags are broken. they are not getting the right number of entries in the title when you hover over their links, also I assume this is putting the sizing out of whack. See the 'Games' category for a prime example. It should be bigger than 'boys are stupid cockpossums' for eaxample.

    16 Sep 2005, 11:07

  5. Mathew Mannion

    Actually, because of the weighting, Games should be exactly the same size as "Boys are Stupid Cockpossums". On the normal Top Tags page, it only shows tags used in the last 28 days – for Games this is 5 entries on 4 different blogs, giving a total weighting of 5*4 = 20. This weighting is then divided by 5 and 10 is added, giving 14. In the HTML, you can see that Games is 14px. "Boys and Stupid Cockpossums" is only from 1 blog, giving a weighting of 9, and divided by 5 and added 10 gives 11.8px, which is the size in the page.

    16 Sep 2005, 11:14

  6. is well chuffed

    16 Sep 2005, 11:15

  7. Steve Rumsby

    The "coolblue2" style appears to be broken when viewed with IE. Works fine with Firefox…

    My blog is currently using this style, if you want to check it out.

    16 Sep 2005, 11:18

  8. Mathew Mannion

    Doesn't seem to be loading the stylesheet for coolblue2 at all in IE… Very very strange

    16 Sep 2005, 11:23

  9. Is it intentional to have all the other stylesheets in the design, as alternatives?

    16 Sep 2005, 11:24

  10. It's broken for all styles after (and including) the leaf design. Perhaps it's just too many alternate stylesheets for IE to grok?

    16 Sep 2005, 11:31

  11. Mathew Mannion

    Captain marvel says: "We're on it

    16 Sep 2005, 11:33

  12. Mathew Mannion

    Fixed now, thanks to Max, who hit the nail right on the button: Internet Explorer is RUBBISH

    16 Sep 2005, 11:43

  13. Steve Rumsby

    Thanks guys – much better:-)

    16 Sep 2005, 12:04

  14. The sidebar search on my blog returns results as white text, which on a white background, isn't very helpful!

    16 Sep 2005, 12:05

  15. Mathew Mannion

    Noted on the "to fix" list, thanks David

    16 Sep 2005, 12:10

  16. I knew there was another reason not to use alternate stylesheets that i'd forgotten about…

    16 Sep 2005, 12:38

  17. My Comments: By default, your "My Comments" page now sorts by the date of the most recent comment on the entry, not the date of your most recent comment. You can still sort by the old format if desired.

    This isn't quite working right – although the right box is ticked, it's actually sorting in "date of my comment" order by default. If you press the button, it works though.

    16 Sep 2005, 15:30

  18. The "My favourites" page on my blog looks different from before, I don't know if it's because you intentionally did it like that, but the line spacing between each entry on the page has disappeared. It looks the same in IE and Firefox.

    16 Sep 2005, 15:30

  19. Mathew Mannion

    I believe it's intentional, but I will let Mr Ingram answer…

    16 Sep 2005, 15:32

  20. the line-spacing is supposed to be the same as on a normal blog page, *adds to list*

    16 Sep 2005, 15:35

  21. Problems i'm aware of:

    • various spacing issues (paragraphs, entries etc)
    • styling of comments popup (i've already fixed this, just need to test it all)

    Do people like the whole banner area being a link? It certainly makes the css and markup simpler having it this way. Personally I find it's better, but obviously this is subjective.

    16 Sep 2005, 16:15

  22. Ok, *adds comment bullets to the list*

    16 Sep 2005, 16:16

  23. Matthew

    The grungy style (I think that's what it is called, but here is an example) looks absolutely dreadful with Safari (v.2.0.1). In fact it is worse than that, it not only looks awful, but the links in the main page don't seem to work. Strange, as everything is fine with Firefox. Any ideas why?

    16 Sep 2005, 17:42

  24. do you have a screen capture of it in safari?

    16 Sep 2005, 18:02

  25. Mathew Mannion

    My guess would be that Safari is the stupidest browser in the world, ever, and refuses to fetch new stylesheets if you have one with a "newer" modified date in your cache than the one on the server. Piece of crap.

    16 Sep 2005, 18:12

  26. that's possible, grungy is completely and utterly broken if you don't refresh the stylesheet, but that doesn't seem to be what's being described…

    16 Sep 2005, 18:19

  27. Chris May

    Grungy looks fine to me in safari 2.0.0, though I did need to do a hard refresh. The broken-ness of Safari's cacheing is well-documented, though.

    I'll try it out in 2.0.1 when Software Update finishes it's interminable download

    16 Sep 2005, 19:45

  28. Safari has had major work in recent months though, so once all those changes get deployed it should a pretty awesome browser

    16 Sep 2005, 19:49

  29. hmm…is it this update that's changed the layout of the favourites page (I have no blog but read a few) into one column on top of another? Is there any way I can put the two columns next to each other?

    Oh…and sorry for being thick!

    16 Sep 2005, 20:51

  30. you just need to make sure your browser cache is refreshed, a hard refresh of the favourites page should make them appear side-by-side. I think it's ctrl-F5.

    16 Sep 2005, 21:02

  31. Yay and the Utility Bar looks so much more organized slash less crowded! Or is that just the specific style I picked? Now if all those links could shift one pixel or so upwards my perfect-alignment-obsession will be satisfied!

    17 Sep 2005, 01:44

  32. The utility bar would be shifted a pixel upwards, but I had to settle for something that looked reasonably good in all of IE, Firefox and Opera. I could look at them again I suppose, there might still be a way.

    It's likely that the pipes (vertical lines) will be going back in the utility bar though (not my choice, I like it without), unless a huge number of people prefer it this way (you're the first).

    17 Sep 2005, 01:57

  33. Sorry, I meant the utility bar links would be shifted upwards, not the whole utility bar, that would just be silly

    17 Sep 2005, 02:02

  34. I think I could have the links shift up at least on my own blog, so that at least that looks alright (in Firefox). The thing with the pipes… I see why they're there, but their alignment seems to be a problem and if anything I'd opt for a full vertical line with a slightly bland color close to the utility bar. But yeah I won't go mental if the pipes return. But… it would be nice if link underlines would end where the word or phrase ends, instead of filling the full space till beyond the pipe (check blogs homepage for instance).

    17 Sep 2005, 02:38

  35. Thought I'd check with IE if those underlines do the same and only just then I noticed that in my IE the bottom part of the utility bar in the blogs homepage covers half the links! :O so when I hover over them I don't see any underline. Guess that solves a problem but brings a new one! Oh if only I would get a life…

    17 Sep 2005, 02:41

  36. I think there was some problem with Opera 7 which made taking the pipes outside of the links a problem, i'll keep looking at it though. I toyed with using a border the full height of the bar instead, but it didn't look anywhere near as clean as I was hoping. Web design is all fun and games until it doesn't work how you want :(

    17 Sep 2005, 02:46

  37. Matthew

    Resetting Safari apparently cures the problem, apologies for the confusion. However, there is another oddity: Safari doesn't (always) display blockquotes correctly. For example, on this page there are little question mark signs (of the type you get when an image is supposed to be loaded but can't be found) at the beginning and end of each quote. In Firefox, there are no signs and no images. This happens at various other places as well. Any suggestions?

    17 Sep 2005, 15:52

  38. John Dale

    I think there was some problem with Opera 7 which made taking the pipes outside of the links a problem

    As a matter of principle we are happy to get ideal behaviour in IE, Firefox and Safari and accept imperfect behaviour in Opera, because our stats show that there are almost no Opera-using visitors to WB.

    17 Sep 2005, 16:00

  39. Yup, there aren't any images. I didn't change the blockquote stuff so i'm suprised this wasn't picked up before, but all the windows browsers just show nothing if an image specified in css can't be found, apparantly safari shows a placeholder. So any design which doesn't have the quote images will probably show a placeholder in safari. I'll just strip the rules out of any of the themes which don't have the images.

    17 Sep 2005, 16:02

  40. John Dale

    I would prefer to add the images in rather than strip the rules out. It's not as if they're difficult to create.

    17 Sep 2005, 17:25

  41. I guess that now I have something that can read psd files installed I can do them fairly quickly.

    17 Sep 2005, 18:24

  42. *is well chuffed*
    about the comments thing too

    17 Sep 2005, 18:27

  43. Morti

    Bit of an issue with the spam filtering. It asks me "What colour is an orange?", I reply "Orange." and it tells me that's incorrect. Obviously the answer it wants is "orange".

    Small niggle, but it's not hard to make it strip all punctuation from the user's response and make it all lowercase before checking the string is the same as the required string. I don't like feeling as though I have to sacrifice punctuation in order to satisfy a computer.

    09 Nov 2005, 05:21

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