Alas, Page Creator is going - even though Sites isn't ready. So I really ought to find a new home -- and add some new searches. In particular, I wanted to add a custom search that searched all the web but had the following biases:
Of course this turned out to be far harder than I'd imagined. In fact, I'm stymied at the moment.
Creating the new search engine was easy. I exported my Google Reader OPML file and imported into into a new custom search engine using the Advanced feature of "upload annotations".
When I looked at moving the search engines however, I discovered the CSE function that had generated the code for my my old Page Creator Google hosted custom search page was gone!
In its place were a scattered set of ways to embed a search engine. Some appeared in the code tab of a search engine control panel, others appeared only in the "homepage" of a search engine, and one on the CSE overview page that added the entire set to my iGoogle page.
I think there's a bit of entropy setting in here!
That worked, but Sites pages look awful on the iPhone.
So then I tried taking the various code fragments generated by the CSE links and embedding them in the (obsolete) Google pages -- but they either failed to work on Google Apps Pages or they worked with Firefox but not the iPhone.
Lastly I tried creating a barebones blog as a faux page management solution. That actually worked well from an editing perspective, but even with some template hacks (remove search bar) the iPhone display was not as good as a simple web page. I tried looking for an iPhone template -- no problem there. I found hundreds of blogger iPhone templates. Turns out there's a mini-industry of Blogger templates and WordPress themes. Trouble is, half the sites look crooked as can be. Blogger doesn't provide an official template.
I've stopped for now. It's sad, but I bet I'll get the best results crafting a page in ... FrontPage 98.
I'll come back to this one -- I feel like I've taken a walk on the dark side of Google.
Update 9/8/08: Wow, was this ever trivial do using FrontPage 98. Instead of wasting an hour with various messed up Google authoring tools, five minutes with FP gave me a decent result. I've created a subdomain redirect, so search.faughnan.com should shortly go to my iPhone friendly custom search page.
It's not quite right -- somehow iPhone is guessing a bit off for initial page size. I'll have to read a bit about iPhone web optimization. Also the code that Google's CSE generates embeds a fairly bulky gadget -- I preferred the old simple forms. It works though, I'll tweak it as needed. ( think this meta tag might help; I used viewport=720.
Proof that Google needs to reexamine their Page Creator/Sites strategies.