A funny thing happened…

…or Anali’s WordPress Widget Adventure.

At yesterday’s TechTalk meeting, I volunteered to create a Google account for the group, make a calendar for TechTalk events, and link said calendar here on the blog.  Today, dutifully, I have done these things.  We now have an mclctechtalk @ gmail address, and a public calendar listing our meetings.

All the trouble started when I wanted to embed the Google calendar in the side bar.  Apparently,  WordPress is pretty particular about the types of script they allow us to use (despite quite a demand for this particular feature), so the text widget with the Google-generated html wouldn’t work.  I cracked my knuckles and used my super librarian skillz to look for a work-around.  Or rather, I read all the comments on the forum.  By combining two separate solutions, I was able to come up with the result you see on the sidebar now – an RSS feed of events, with the next two meetings listed.  By clicking on the event, you’ll see the Google Calendar entry for it, including more detailed information.  Or, if you’re so inclined, you can subscribe to the calendar in your aggregator of choice.

I just want to rant for a moment and say that after using both WordPress and Blogger for over a year now, I greatly prefer Blogger.  I am not ashamed to admit that my coding skillz are pretty basic (not BASIC-hehe), I can navigate my way around some html, and have a general understanding of xml, but I have no clue when it comes to CSS.  Blogger generally makes it easy for a dummy like me to add cool widgets and things to my blog.  WordPress seems a lot more restrictive if you don’t know a lot of code and aren’t willing to dive headfirst into the CSS templates.  I constantly feel like I’m repeatedly hitting my head against a wall to do simple things that I can easily do on my other blog.  I know that WordPress has a very rabid fan base, but with the experiences I’ve had, I just don’t understand it.

Blogger, coincidentally, is owned by Google, the topic of our next TechTalk meeting.   If you’re curious, make sure you come!  Perhaps I’ll rant in person!


~ by Anali on February 27, 2008.

5 Responses to “A funny thing happened…”

  1. Hey Anali,
    I use Blogger myself and the one thing that WordPress has that Blogger doesn’t is the ability to create “pages” or tabs like the Tech Talk Blog (home, about, RSS Presentation, etc) or maybe I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.

    As a relatively new blogger, I’ve tried experimenting with the code* on my blog but don’t really know what I’m doing. So far I haven’t completely ruined it yet. I did mess it up once and now have a green background colored blog instead of a black one and lost some widgets, but it’s pretty much still intact.

    *I was trying to go from a 2-column format to a 3-column one.

  2. You’re absolutely right, Rossan. I have read (I’ll have to look it up later) of people creating links to static pages in Blogger to resemble the pages in WordPress, but it is a clunky work-around.

  3. Really, someday I’m going to get to the meeting!

    I love blogger. I’m still a bit wonky on inserting code. I have a code from Feedburner that would allow me to put in the “add to digg/facebook/et. al. that I’m still trying to get to work.

    Using googlereader, I’m able to share and star items. My shared items then show up on a shared blog at librarylandroundup.blogspot.com. My starred items (non-libraryland), show up on my private blog at booktender.blogspot.com. I can even take my blogger feed and, using a Facebook widget, have it show there.

    I just use one of the templates to format my blog so I’m not much help there

  4. Here’s the work-around for static pages that I’d read about previously:
    Blogger Static Front Page, though it deals mainly with creating a front page, rather than a list of pages like we have on THIS blog.

    Here’s another option for that, but does require you to have an alternative web hosting service.

  5. I don’t think WordPress will let you change the CSS or create your own unless you have a paid account. A lot of the configurations on this page are limited to what is offered by the template we chose. However, I have to admit the templates and widgets available to non-paying WordPress users are somewhat limited.

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