Friday, August 28, 2009

Changes in Doug Dawgz Blog

Updated September 2, 2009

Visitors in the past 10 days or so may have noticed some changes in Doug Dawgz Blog. I've reluctantly (reluctantly, since I didn't want to break something that wasn't broken) made major internal changes to the blog by completely changing the software template which is a pretty scary thing. What if everything that has been done in the past 3-plus years suddenly gets trashed with no backup? What if you (and I) liked the old setup better than the new? What if the Pilgrims had shot cat instead of turkey ... we'd all have pussy for Thanksgiving.

Pondering that last thought, and nudged on by my good friend Steve Lackmeyer who kindly informed me that it would be good for me to consider making some user-friendly changes to my blog (after which I initially told him that HIS Okc History blog was far less user-friendly than MINE), all things considered I decided to take his advice and make the precipitous plunge.

So, now, though kinks remain to be worked out, Doug Dawgz Blog is different.

HOW? Aside from some "appearance" matters, some major substantive changes have and are being made.
  • Existing and future content is, I hope, not affected at all ... and that potential worried me just a little. But, all old content seems to be OK.

  • Blogger template modification has made at least two things much better than they were before:

  • Search. Search features are MUCH better than they were before. Try out the new "Search Doug Dawgz Blog" item in the left panel and see if you don't agree. Click here for examples of how the new search feature works.

  • Truncated Articles. New articles will be split into two pieces ... an introductory/preview part generally describes the article and is followed by a "... Read The Full Article ..." link which opens the whole article.
    Clicking that link opens in a separate window or tab (depending on your web browser). When finished with that newly opened article, close the page and you'll be back where you started from.
    All articles previously written have been modified to set them up in this fashion, and all future articles will have this method. With this change, page loading when browsing the blog should be faster and 5 abbreviated articles plus the opening index page are now visible on the same page.

  • Site Feed History/Downtown Blogs. This new feature presents preview snippets of the most recent articles listed in the group. Located in the left pane, click here for more detail.

  • Labels/Categories. In the new template, it is possible to show "Labels" associated with articles in the left panel and then click on a Label for a preview of all such items. All labels/categories have been revised for that purpose, and the labels are all present in the left panel.

  • Older Posts. At the bottom of each "new" page, in the lower right corner, a new link is present ... "Older Posts." You can click that link to move back to the 6 previous articles that have been written. This should be handy for those who want to browse and aren't looking for anything in particular. But, those who are wanting to find something in particular should use the new Search feature in the left panel or the general Index.
I'd appreciate any feedback, good or bad, that you'd care to give.

New Search Features. In its newer templates, Blogger (host of my blog, a Google component) has really spiffed up the search features in blogger. This shows two examples.

1st Example - Using Search. I want to search for "core to shore."

Search is in the left pane
Type in search text
Search results are returned in the main pane of the page, as shown below. Click on the images for larger views.

Notice the tabs at the top - the 1st tab is "This Blog."

Search results from websites listed in my left pane are also returned.
A pair of examples are shown below for 2 other tabs.

2nd Example - Using Category Search. Similarly, searching categories (Labels) that posts are organized in returns results in the main pane. In the example below, I clicked on the "OKC Historical People" label. A list of truncated articles appears.

Site Feed For History & Downtown Blogs. In the left pane near the top is a new feature which shows snippets of the most recent posts from blogs having an Oklahoma City history and/or downtown focus, as shown below:

Others would have been added, e.g.,, but they do not generate site feed so that the most recent post would be generated in this feature. It provides a quick way to see the most recent article written for the blogs identified.

Any comments about the above or other suggestions about improving Doug Dawgz Blog are welcome and appreciated.


Ryan said...

Hi Doug. I like the new look/feel to the blog. Thanks, also, for the great post on the Tower!

Doug Dawg said...

Thanks, Ryan!