17 December 2006

Blogger 3.0 getting out of beta too soon

On december 11nth the Blogger team announced that they expect the new Blogger to be out of beta soon. I quote "Known issues on the new Blogger are few and getting fewer". Unfortunately I don't agree with them. If I take a look at the Blogger Help group (http://groups.google.com/group/blogger-help) I notice that there are a lot of people having problems with templates. I also had them, or at least my wife, who designed the wonderful layout for my blog. It was very hard to force the new very advanced and powerful template engine of Blogger to do what you really want, especially when you want your layout to be useful in both IE and Firefox (what about standards, huh?). Big problem was the fact that we couldn't validate the CSS through the W3C CSS validator (http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=http://ableijs.blogspot.com), because it complains that the document is not valid XML. Note that the same holds for the Blogger blog (http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=http://buzz.blogspot.com/), and the Known Issues for Blogger in Beta (http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=http://knownissues.blogspot.com/). When I try to validate my blog through the W3C Markup validator (http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://ableijs.blogspot.com) I find a discouraging number of 874 errors. When I analyze them, I find the following structural errors, which come from the Blogger template engine:

  • Use of invalid xml namespaces (using a DOCTYPE statement restricts the use of namespaces)
  • The template engine should remove them during the transform to XHTML. I can't remove them in the template because Beta Blogger stubbornly keeps adding them.
  • Unencoded & in uris, should be &
  • Encloses blogposts in blocklevel elements without checking if the blogposts themselves contain blocklevel elements (like <p>, <ul>)
  • <style>-sections not enclosed in <!--[CDATA[ ... ]]-->, at least not after the transform. I already solved part of the the problem by enclosing the <style>-section in comments <!-- -->, which of course means that when the blog is served as application/xhtml+xml it will ignore all of the <style>-definitions. So this is not a real solution.
  • Widget scripts not enclosed in <\!--[CDATA[ ... ]]-->>. I couldn't solve the <script>-problem the same way, because the widget-scripts are included during transform.
I posted about this in the Blogger Help group (http://groups.google.com/group/blogger-help-customizing/browse_thread/thread/fef5d72011ed7571/).
Note that the same holds for the Blogger blog (http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://buzz.blogspot.com) and the Known Issues for Blogger in Beta (http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http://knownissues.blogspot.com).

When I search the Blogger Help group for 'xhtml valid blogger beta' (http://groups.google.com/group/blogger-help/search?group=blogger-help&q=xhtml+valid+blogger+beta) I notice that I'm not the only one with these kind of problems. And as I stated xhtml-conformance is a prerequisite for validating CSS, which is necessary to be able to use the new Blogger template engine to its full extent. That's why I don't think the new Blogger is ready to go out of beta.