Tuesday, 13 October 2020
First do no harm
A rare bit of housekeeping this time. Blogger, the platform I use for the FL blog, has recently changed its interface. How best to describe it... You know how if you buy a music gizmo for a baby it will have just a few big plastic buttons in primary colours so that the toddler can play do-re-mi? And then when he or she grows up, if the music bug has bitten then a synth and a mixing desk and all the proper kit can replace that? Well, Blogger used to be the grown-up mixing desk and now it's turned into the toddler's toy.
The idea, presumably, is to make it easier to post from a mobile device. You can snap that cat picture, add a quick note in textese, and you're done. But if you want a longer blog post, with formatted images and videos and so on -- sorry, you're bang out of luck. Google (they own Blogger) have decided to chase the mobile blog market and forget about the desktop dinosaurs like me.
Unfortunately in changing the interface they also broke it. The loss of features like being able to drill down into stats was presumably deliberate, but they've also made it almost impossible to place images where you want them to go. Yesterday I spent twenty minutes formatting a post, a task that used to take a minute or two with the old interface. Half the time you don't even know how to do what you want because some bright spark has decided to switch over to a purely icon-driven interface. You know, like Ikea.
I suspect all this is designed to make people give up on Blogger so that Google can drop it in a year's time without anyone kicking up a fuss. By the time it dies we'll all be glad to see it go.
But what does all this mean for the future of the FL blog? I am looking at migrating over to another platform like Wordpress. Alternatively, once I've got Jewelspider out into the world I could turn my Patreon page into the new home for FL. I'm afraid it would mean paying at least a dollar a month, but the occasional scenarios alone are worth that much, don't you think?
There'll be no immediate change, other than that I'll be checking on and replying to comments less frequently because it's so painful to have to cope with the new interface. And we have a whole stack of posts that I had the foresight to format before the old interface stopped working, so the blog will continue to look okay (if you call this okay) for months yet.
The other upside is that I've been thinking for a while now of doing some best-of books, taking the most popular posts and organizing them into topics - roleplaying, gamebooks, scenarios, and so on. Blogger buggering up its interface might be the spur I needed.