Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blogger frustrations

Blogger is a very pleasant (and free as in beer) place to start a blog. Some outgrow it, or decide they want features it doesn't have, and go elsewhere, but I've yet to do so. I'm still here and blogging since September 7th of two-oh-OMG-six. They've steadily improved it, and for that I am grateful, but... thing really bugs me about it.

It's the way the WYSIWYG editor deals with line breaks and what I'd like to think of as paragraphs in one's posts. I like a blank line between paragraphs, so I type away until I've finished a paragraph, hit ENTER twice, and start the next paragraph.

Blogger's WYSIWYG editor does the following:
  1. Creates a span with my font specification that encloses my paragraph and appends a br (line break) tag after the close of the span.
  2. Creates another span that encloses only a br, with a br appended.
  3. Creates a third span that encloses the next paragraph.
That empty span in the middle, as far as I can tell, causes the browser to have two blank lines between paragraphs when the smoke clears. It doesn't display that way on the supposedly WYSIWYG page; you have to click "Preview" to see what really happens, and then go into HTML mode to pull the br-only spans.

Perhaps Blogger wants very much to encourage just one ENTER between paragraphs. I'll have to experiment to find out.... but more than that, I have to wonder why is it that the editor doesn't use real live paragraph tags instead of just spans? HTML tags are supposed to represent document structure, after all.

While we're talking about pet peeves, if Blogger wants the WYSIWYG editor to resemble a word processor, it would be nice for it to do "smart quotes" and conversion of -- into an em dash. (The knob would have to be twistable; sometimes you don't want it to do that for you.)

There's a good blog post on making Blogger work and play well with Google Web Fonts. I'll be experimenting with it. Verdana's nice, but there are other good fonts out there that aren't overused.


Maggie Bluxome said...

I have to laugh a little as I am experiencing the same issue with the Busted Magazine website.

The WYSIWYG editor in Joomla really loves <span>.

I've had sentences where the editor does:
<p><span style="font-family: 'arial black', 'avant garde';><spam style="font-size: 14pt; color: #999999;">Some text</span></span></p>

I end up going cross-eyed fixing this nonsense by hand.

Wildefire Walcott said...

Oooh this has frustrated me to no end. I compose most of my posts in Google Docs first and I generally spend at least an hour formatting them once pasting the text into Blogger- and most of that time is spent stamping out unwanted space between paragraphs.