February 28, 2007

Neo Upgrade - Post list navigation

Neo template, the one being used in this blog and several others, shows the list of recent posts or the list of posts under a particular label in the middle column. The original version of Neo did not have any Older/Newer navigation links for this list and showed all the posts under a label at once. This results in an insanely long list if you have lot of posts and there was a limit of 100 posts too (the limit imposed by Blogger feeds). Some of those who bought Neo felt that it is important to support navigation and break the 100 post limit. I couldn't think of an easy way to do this and so I didn't attempt it for a long time.

Just recently I came to know about the start-index parameter that can be applied to feeds to specify which post the feed should start with. This parameter combined with max-results control was all I needed for navigation. I have implemented navigation in this blog using this method (it's been there for a few days now). If you have bought Neo and are interested in this feature, I can upgrade your template if you download and send me your current template in email.

In other news, Blogger hack search engine has served about 500 search requests within a few days of it going on air! People seem to find it useful to avoid going through irrelevant search results and find what they want quickly. My part in this effort was very small (just adding the list of hack blogs). We all should thank Google for allowing customizations on it's powerful search engine. A big "Thank you" to all those brainy folks in Mountain view :)

February 22, 2007

Introducing Blogger Hack search engine!

Blogger hacks are getting more and more popular and many new players have entered and shown their insatiable interest to hack Blogger template :). If you have seen the list of hack blogs in my sidebar, you know we have plenty to offer. But still, when you need to find if there's a hack for something you want, Google search may not be effective (it might show unrelated pages etc). Or you have to browse/search each hack blog individually and you might miss some hack in the process. To help you find and apply hacks, I have created a custom search engine based on Google Co-op that searches only the hack blogs.

Yes, we have the Hacks wiki but it doesn't always contain all the hacks. Also, the entire post describing the hack doesn't go into the wiki and so it won't work well for complex searches. I happened to find Google Co-op by accident and immediately thought it can be put to good use for this purpose. Visit Blogger Hack search engine page and search for something you want. You could search for "recent comments" and it will pull out the hacks related to recent comments display. If you search for the same term with "Web search" alternative, you will see that it shows pages regarding Wordpress, Livejournal recent comments. Currently, I have added most of the known hack blogs to the list of sites searched - Hackosphere, Hoctro's Place, Beautiful Beta, Singpolyma-tech, The Last Word, Stubborn fanatic, Blogger Hacked, Phydeaux3, Freshblog, Blogger University, PurpleMoggy, Blogger tips and tricks and the Hacks Wiki (Once Bloggeratto becomes a public blog, it will be added too). If you have/know a blog that has some hacks, let me know. I will review and add it. Any feedback/suggestions?

February 19, 2007

Did Feedburner surprise you?

Two days back, subscribers to my Feedburner feed jumped from 300 odd to 600 odd. At first, I thought it was a mistake and the number will come down. After reading Aditya's post (subject of which was some other Feedburner issue), I came to know that Google didn't publish the number of subscribers through Google Reader/homepage all this time. Just recently, they started publishing and that's why Feedburner stats are jumping for everyone. For me, an overwhelming majority of my subscribers (272) are using Google Reader/homepage and that was a pleasant surprise. So, if you were surprised by your Feedburner stats as well, now you know the reason.

I am glad so many bloggers benefit from my hacks. Once in a few days, somebody is applying peekaboo posts hack or 3-column hack to their blog. I try to help people as much as possible in this process. Thanks to all these people, my Technorati rank has just crossed 3000 and my blog has a page rank of 5. I can hear you saying "All that is fine. Is there any new hack?". My work pressure has cooled down a bit (to 8 hours a day :)), so I will try to come up with some hacks.

With Google analytics, I see that the topmost entry page to my blog is my main page itself. This surprises me a bit. If you have subscribed to my feed or reach my blog through Google search, you will land up in a post page. So, I am wondering how so many people land up in the main page. Are there many of you who don't subscribe to my feed and just check my main page once in while? I am thinking it is a possibility because feed readers are still not that popular. If you have not used a feed reader so far, I would suggest you to try one - like Google reader, Bloglines etc. You will get notified when there are new posts in your favorite blogs and so, you can avoid repeated trips to blogs' main page. And Feedburner is a great way to keep track of the subscribers to your blog. If you have any doubts about using these, leave me a comment.

February 14, 2007

Blogger feed corrector: Yahoo Pipes based hack

UPDATE: You can try this hack now. Yahoo has fixed the date issue. I thank all those who voted on my feedback.

As many of you know, Blogger feeds are ordered by updated date and not published date. This becomes an inconvenience when you edit your old posts because it results in the posts resurrecting in your feed. Recently, Yahoo released an amazing feed manipulation service called Pipes and Aditya came up with a nice idea that we can re-order the Blogger feeds by published date using Pipes. I thought I will build upon that and make it easier for everybody.

This hack is for those who don't use Feedburner and depend on the feed provided by Blogger itself (the links that appear at the bottom of your page as "Subscribe to:"). I have modified Aditya's pipe slightly so that it can work with any feed. By making a small change in your template, you can provide the link to your blog's re-ordered feed instead of Blogger's feed. If you want to try it, first goto the pipe's page and give your blog's feed URL. Check if the pipe re-orders your posts by published date instead of updated date.

If you are convinced about it, here's how to use it in your template. Find this includable in your template.

<b:includable id='feedLinksBody' var='links'>
<div class='feed-links'>
<b:loop values='data:links' var='f'>
<a class='feed-link' expr:href='data:f.url'
target='_blank'><data:f.name/> (<data:f.feedType/>)</a>


Replace the line in red with this line.

<a class='feed-link' expr:href='"http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/KEflSli82xGIHxezIBeTaQ/run?feed=" + data:f.url + "&amp;_render=rss"' expr:type='data:f.mimeType' target='_blank'><data:f.name/> (RSS)</a>

If you save the template and check your blog, you will see that 'Subscribe to' link now points to the re-ordered feed. You could write a post asking your current subscribers to resubscribe to your new feed so that any updates to your old posts will not affect them.


1. As the new feed is created by the pipe, the resulting feed's title will be the name of the pipe which is "Blogger feed corrector". In your post, you could ask your subscribers to rename the feed in their feed readers. Or you could clone my pipe and rename the pipe itself.
2. Yahoo only provides the piped feed in RSS and JSON formats (Naturally, they are not a big fan of Atom format because Google is behind it). So, the re-ordered feed is only available in RSS format. This is not a problem because almost all feed readers work with RSS.

If you try this and find any other caveats, let me know.

February 9, 2007

Help our friend Deniz

UPDATE: Deniz's blog has been re-enabled. I got a response from Blogger support informing this. I informed Deniz too (probably he got a response from Blogger as well). I thank all those who supported Deniz after reading this post.

Deniz Akay aka Protesto is a well-known figure among the hacker community. He had used many of our hacks and provided inputs to our efforts. His blog iMessengr was a good source of messenger information and Blogger templates with built-in hacks. Today, he informed me that his blog was disabled by Blogger because their spam blog (splog) identification software incorrectly identified his blog as a spam blog. Further details can be found in iMessengr.com. He had asked me to help out by writing an email to Blogger support indicating that this was a mistake. As this kind of stupidity can happen to any of us, I think we all should support him at this time. Can you please take a few minutes and send an email to support@blogger.com (also cc:denizDOTakayATgmailDOTcom)? If you wish, you could use the following text that I sent.

Subject: iMessengr.com disabled as spam blog incorrectly

I have been reading the blog iMessengr (http://web-messengers.blogspot.com) and recently the blog has been disabled because it was wrongly identified as a spam blog. I can assure you that it is not a spam blog and so, please re-enable it.