Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Blogger: editing posts - a trap

I recently mentioned that Blogger had simplified their "Create" page for new posts by hiding the date/time setting for the post under a "Post and Comment Options" heading beneath the posting box which you click to show/hide the settings.

If you use Browservulsel's Keep Current Time user script for Firefox with the Greasemonkey extension, whose usefulness I've blogged about before, then there is a trap to watch for, which seems to have come about because of the recent Blogger changes - at least, I hadn't noticed it before (hmmm, following Jasper's comment, or perhaps it's to do with the Firefox 1.5 upgrade).

The trap is this: Jasper has now fixed the user script so that the "Keep current time" checkbox is ticked by default (to save those of us who forget to tick it before hitting Publish). But that checkbox is now hidden away by the new changes.

That's all very well when you're creating a new post. However, when you try to edit an existing post (which I do not infrequently myself, as I like to keep related things together in the same place if I can), then you could get into trouble.

It seems the combination of the changes and ticked checkbox means that when you click Edit, instead of displaying the date/time that the post was originally created it now displays the time when you hit Edit (even if you then untick the checkbox, it won't revert to the original date/time). And when you finish your edits and publish, you'll find that it's published as a brand new post, it doesn't publish back to its original location.

Apart from messing up the order of your posts, this has a more serious effect: because of the way Blogger stores your post pages (the name of the HTML file for the post which it saves to the server contains the month/date of its "creation"), this could mean that the URL of say a November post which you edited in December gets changed to December, which would mess up any links to your post on another blog or website. (For instance the URL of my post about the user script is
and if the 10 gets changed to 11 or 12, or indeed the 2005 to 2006, any links to the original post will break).

Until maybe Jasper tweaks his script somehow (though I'm not sure how unless it's to untick the box by default again, which brings us back to the original problem of forgetting to tick it), the only solution I can see for now is this:

If you use the Keep current time script, then BEFORE you edit any existing post, make sure you note down its exact date and time.

Then after you finish editing it, untick the Keep current time box (you'll have to click "Post and Comment Options" below the posting box to see it), and change the date and time manually to the original date/time that you noted down earlier. Then publish.

[Edited shortly afterwards via IE!:] Alternatively, of course, edit posts using Internet Explorer, Opera or some other browser than Firefox. (Should have thought of that earlier...)

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Jasper said...

Ok, that's something that needs attention. I'll address this when I'll update my user scripts to work with Greasemonkey 0.6.4 (for Firefox 1.5)

Improbulus said...

That was quick, Jasper! Yes it could be the 1.5 upgrade rather than anything Blogger did. Thanks for addressing it. :)

Genevieve said...

Adding your blog to my bloglines!

the Finnie's said...

Thanks for this post. I'd been wondering where the Time/date' stamp had gone and wasted quite a bit of time trying to locate it but gave up. Then when I was flicking through my bookmarks I came across your blog (bookmarked after appearing on 'Blogs of Note') and hey presto you've solved my dilemma.

Improbulus said...

Thanks for the comments genevieve and d, p& j, glad you found this post helpful!

Jasper said...

The keep current time user script is fixed. The problem was not caused by the 0.6.4 wrapper usage.

Improbulus said...

Hi Jasper, thanks very much for sorting that out! Working beautifully now.

Jasper said...

I've also added a feature to keep the checkbox visible. The toggle option Blogger added some time ago can get you into trouble more easily.

Improbulus said...

Thanks Jasper, and I've blogged about your update too now.