Monday, June 18, 2012

Why I Left for Blogger

As most of you probably didn't know, I started this blog off on here. But I left that service for the superior Blogger so graciously provided by Google.

There are a few reasons why I did this but they generally come down to control. makes money off selling "premium" features. They provide many nice free themes but to customize them you need to pay extra. Google provides a free service with no ads. Maybe they make enough money off of the Google ads people put on their blogs, who knows.

Custom Styles

This isn't major but for a blog that often deals with code I like to add some styles for readability. For example I put inline code samples in boxes by styling <code></code> tags so that you can clearly see when code starts and ends. Now there are some themes that do this but it narrows down my options. When I add in other factors I run out of themes to pick from. On the contrary Blogger provides you with two ways to edit your CSS. You can use the UI and your css will get placed in the head or you can manually edit the template you are using and change any CSS or HTML you wish, you can truly make the blog yours. In summary, with templates are the rules where as with Blogger they are merely a starting point.

Syntax Highlighting does provide syntax highlighting via SyntaxHighlighter, the same highlighter I am using here. The difference is that without javascript you can't control it and without CSS you can't style it. That would be aright if most of the themes styled it for you, but they don't. To work around this I manually highlighted my code via Pygments with inline CSS. This was a maintenance nightmare because the code wasn't even readable. If I wanted to change the color scheme I would have to copy the code from the web-version and then highlight it and paste it into the editor. for every block of code for every article. Let me tell you that changing a bit of CSS is a lot easier.

Adding SyntaxHighlighter to Blogger is pretty easy, open your template and add the JS and CSS, good to go. Or you can use custom "widgets" so that your code is separated from the rest of the template, providing easy management. In fact, I even wrote a nice widget that you can install to your blog with a press of a button. Making it stupidly simple to enable syntax highlighting on your Blogger blog. All you need to do is provide your own CSS.


I'm a programmer, and I'm lazy (you could also use "so"). I try to do as little work as possible and make maintenance easy. That is why I want JavaScript. All the little things that you can do manually but don't want to is when I call for the code. I mean I'm not writing huge apps, but it is nice to be able to do some hacky stuff when you feel like it.

In Conclusion

Basicly Blogger gives me more power. I can put whatever I want on my blog and I can do it however I want. It hurts me to leave the fantastic, free CMS, but the free hosting at just wouldn't cut it for me. If I was going to spend the money to go self-hosted I would defiantly use WordPress but for now, Blogger it is.

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