Saturday, December 16, 2006

Calling All Blogger Beta Hackers

Update 12-16-2006
Well, Stephen at Singpolyma has come to the rescue and fixed the bug in his "Peek a boo" link lists code, helping out me and others who were "stuck". The links now seem to be operating beautifully in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. At last!

By the way, check out Stephen's blog for some great Blogger Beta hacks. Also see my new Blogger Beta Hacks/Hackers resources section...

Finally, look for my new post on Reformed vs. Arminian Theology early next week.

Update: 12-11-06
I've heard from Stephen, who thinks his hack code has a bug in it that can be fixed. Hopefully the "+/-" links will soon work in IE just as well as in Firefox (though the glitch seems to affect both browsers at times). Please be patient!...In the meantime, I have been working on follow-up posts to my series on Reformed vs Arminian Theology and hope to have them published shortly.

Update: 12-9-06
I have implemented "+/-" style links for many more sections, since Stephen at Singpolyma updated the code, correcting the previous "float" problem with the "+/-" symbol.

However, there seems is another glitch that is giving me a headache! Sometimes the link sections just don't open correctly. I am finding that this happens particularly in Internet Explorer browsers. Firefox seems to get much fewer errors and right now seems to open/close all links perfectly. So if you're reading my blog in IE and having trouble with link lists, I would highly recommend getting the Firefox browser to view Jordan's View (also in my opinion, it's a much more user-friendly, fun browser to use in general). Please also try refreshing the page if a link section doesn't open correctly.

To deal with this problem I have been experimenting with layout, trying to place these "+/-" sections in such a way that they are not right next to each other, since this seems to help. However, this hasn't completely eliminated the issue. Also, not being able to place the link sections exactly where I want them (in terms of logical order) is frustrating. Hopefully a solution will be found, or I may need to switch back many sections to regular link lists.

Update 12-6-06:
I'm no longer using the "+/-" style links for the "Inspiration for the Mission" section. I am, however, using it for the "Best of Jordan's View" section.

Update 12-2-06:
I've used the hack I was kindly provided, but I'm not entirely satisfied with the results. For example, see the "Inspiration for the Mission" section, which I have recreated as an expandible/collapsible link list, near top of the left column. Functionally it's fine, but the fact that the "+/-" symbol is so far above the Link Title bar is not satisfactory.

I have seen examples in other blogs of great looking expandible/collapsible links that when opened appear within scrollable boxes. However, this is beyond my technical ability to create. Unless I can find someone to help me I don't want to spend too much time with trying to figure out how to make them. In any case, I am happy with the layout improvements I've been able to implement thus far. I'll get back to some thinking and writing now...

Well, I threw down the gauntlet to some of the best Blogger Beta hackers out there, sending them a private email to see if anyone could come up with a widget that I could install to make regular link lists into collapsible/expandable ones. With all the links I have here on Jordan's View and my desire to continue expanding these lists, it makes sense to try and consolidate space by using collapsible/expandable links, or some other space-saving way of presenting links, as I have seen ingeniously implemented on other blogs.

Also, I figured such a hack would be useful to many other Blogger users who are making the transition to Blogger Beta.

Stephen/Singpolyma has risen to the challenge and created an article titled Peek a Boo Link Lists, in which he describes how to add a widget that will accomplish this goal.

I have however been having a bit of trouble implementing his solution so far. First, I noticed that the results were appearing differently, depending upon whether the blog was opened in Internet Explorer or in Firefox (my preferred browser). Then also the little +/- symbol seems to be floating around rather than going where I want it to. Singpolyma has given some helpful follow-up answers to my questions, and I will continue to try to implement his solution. In the meantime, please be patient if you find some of this blog in disarray while I'm trying to make the changes.

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