Sunday, February 06, 2005

Blogger tip: finding open blockquotes

Blogger: Dashboard

My blogs are authored in Blogger and hosted by Blogspot. The service works better than it used and the editing tools are improving (on Firefox anyway, Safari is not well supported), but there's one longstanding defect. The BlogThis! bookmarklet tool, which is fundamental to Blogger workflow, doesn't support the blockquote tag.

Since much of Blogging consists of quotes and response, this is a curious omission. Holy missing semantic markup Batman! (sorry, our kids just watched the 1970s movie). So I have to type the blockquote myself.

Of course I occasionally miss a letter or a tag or a closing quote. This effects the summary page that contains the quote. Depending on the underlying template, the page may render correctly in IE or Firefox, but it always renders oddly in Safari. The right column drops to the bottom of the page.

There's nothing in the post display, however, to tell one which post is "bad". Trying to find the missing tag in the Blogger editor is fruitless. (Worst of all with Firefox compose, it fixes the missing tag so there's nothing to see -- but it doesn't save the fix)

I finally figured out a reasonable approach. Open the flawed display in Safari and choose "view source". Then I just search on blockquote. It takes only a few minutes to spot the missing tag and identify what post needs fixing in the Blogger editor. Opening the page in an HTML editor (even old FrontPage) might do the trick too, but the editor might also fix the defect automatically -- which wouldn't help.

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