Based on some new features that I have noticed after migration and others' posts about Blogger Beta, I get the feeling that folks at Blogger have been closely following the pain points of bloggers and the solutions offered by the hackers so far. Apart from the "most complained about" lack of categories, comment feeds etc, they have also noticed other shortcomings in Blogger and silently provided 'Easter egg'-like solutions.
One of the Easter eggs that I have noticed is the links at the bottom of post pages named "Newer post" and "Older post". Yes, Blogger Beta has better navigation within the blog. Not many seem to have noticed this because Blogger folks have not talked about this in their intro post for Beta. Greg had already developed a hack for this called Blog Navigator which is being used in this post of Freshblog, for example (left and right arrows next to title). Did somebody at Mountain view notice it?
Another easter egg that has been discovered recently by Phydeaux3 is that when you search for something in a Beta blog's navbar, the results show up in the same blog instead of a Google page. Posts that match the search term are showing up in the main column itself. Just try searching for something in my navbar and you will see what I am talking about. Aditya's Ajax brainchild (Native Blog search) was the one that enabled many to search within blog so far. Somebody at Blogger did like the idea, looks like. But, their solution is a bit unintuitive in my opinion. If you search for a term that doesn't match any post, there is no explanatory message and the main column just goes empty.
By the way, did you see the date of this post? I rode a time machine and posted it from 3006 :0) As you see in the image below, Blogger Beta provides some options while creating a new post such as using your own date/time, allowing/disallowing comments/backlinks for the post. Silently.
All that is fine. But, after having derived some ideas from the hacker community, they seem to have closed all doors for any hack in Beta!
1. Old Blogger tags don't seem to work in Beta. I have confirmed this in this blog.
2. Greg and Phydeaux3 have reported that the dynamic page generation doesn't work if any parameter is added to the post URL. This seems to have broken the hacks for categories.
3. To top it all, they are teasing us by not opening up the html editing in Beta. Well, they have promised to open it up "in a few days" but how can a hacker use something without being able to lay his hands in the code?! Quite difficult.
Some people call Blogger Beta as "Blogger for idiots", "Blogger for dummies" etc. But I think we should not deride Blogger's honest efforts to make it easily usable by not so computer-savvy people (not necessarily idiots). While I understand the difficulty of having our hands tied because of this, let's hope that the curtain will raise soon and we will be able to play our parts in the new show.