Monday, 30 July 2007

Ahem ... !

I blithely motored on describing how to implement the new banner headers that you are all impatient to try out, and managed to gloss over a hint or two about the images you are preparing to replace your current banner header.

This isn't a show-stopper, more in the way of a 'tip'. If you have a template that uses rounded corners then you should attempt to imitate the same display so that the new banner header integrates seamlessly. I have to assume that you are perfectly adept with your imaging software and that it can handle 'layers' - or this tip won't work.

You can slave over your imaging software and build your rounded corners laboriously. Or you can cheat!

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1. Navigate your way to the HTML code of your template (I shouldn't have to explain how!) and find Blog Header, and you should see a couple of URLs that are clearly pointing to graphics lodged on the Blogger servers:

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2. Typing in those URLs will get you a page with the graphic, but I will make it easy for you if you are using the Rounders-3 template: just click on the following URLs to take you there - in a new window! Each template uses different backgrounds and it is important that you 'lift' the graphics for the specific template you are using.

http://www.blogblog.com/rounders3/corners_cap_top.gif

http://www.blogblog.com/rounders3/corners_cap_bot.gif



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Both sets of corner images are GIFs on a transparent background. You need to copy them (right-click, 'save image as') and then all you need to do is to 'import' them to the banner image you are constructing, align them top and bottom overlaying the original image, and you now have an image with neatly rounded corners!

Easy, huh?

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Sunday, 29 July 2007

Change Your Header - NEW Blogger

NEW Blogger instructions, probably for the majority of users, and probably the one that will interest most of the visitors to this site looking for simple instructions on how to change a 'Header' or 'Banner'.

Have you got your image ready? Is the image width set to the width of your current template? Please remember I am dealing specifically with 'Rounders-3' and 'Rounders-4', and in those the width of the image is the same as the width of the template - 740 pixels. The height of the image is what you choose to make it, but I suggest 150 pixels for a balanced display.

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1. Backup your old template. Either by using the built-in backup feature in Blogger, or by copy/pasting it to a text editor of your choice, and saving it in a location you can find easily and with a name that makes sense to you!

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2. Clicking on 'Customise' on your main page, or 'Layout' on your Dashboard will bring you to the "Add and Arrange Page Elements" of the 'Template' tab. This is the new feature of NEW-Blogger in which you can literally 'drag-and-drop' modules wherever you wish. The one we are interested in is the 'Header' panel at the top:

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3. When you click on 'Edit' (see pic on top) it takes you to a new window in which you are asked to make a few choices. I have annotated the choices you should make so I won't reiterate them here:

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4. Nearly done - but not quite! Those pesky codes in the /* Blog Header still need to be changed so that the image will sit exactly where you want it, centred at the top of the page. It is exactly the same criteria that was edited in OLD-Blogger, so take a look at the graphic below and do the editing . . .

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That's it. You wanted more?

The examples for this sort of editing are all around you. The banner header on this site was inserted using exactly the same editing techniques. The banner header on David McMahon's blog (using the Rounders-3 template), and the banner header on Cecilia Mercado's blog, Dance with the Sun (using the Rounders-4 template), were also edited using the same instructions I've posted above.

If things don't work out first time, just restore the site to the way it was by using the saved template you copied before you started. Then e-mail me directly and I will visit your site and see what I can do for you. Don't forget to add as much information about what went wrong.

Over to you . . .

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Change Your Header - OLD Blogger

OLD Blogger instructions. Here we go. Please bear in mind that this will come in two parts - OLD and NEW-Blogger. Why? Because I hacked away at both, and it would be a waste if I didn't at least mention OLD-Blogger for some 'peeps' who are still using it.

So, before we get down and dirty with the template changes, have you got your image ready? You probably have or you wouldn't be interested in attempting to change it. Make sure that the image is the width of your current template. In 'Rounders-3' and 'Rounders-4' the width of the image is the same as the width of the template - 740 pixels. The height is whatever you want it to be, but I suggest 150 pixels for a balanced display.

The following is the picture I settled on after much editing in Photoshop. You will see a screen-caliper I use as an aid when 'measuring' stuff for the web and it clearly shows that the width of the picture is 740 pixels. Measuring things using the 'artists thumb' method isn't much good for web design. It has to be precise or your display will look shoddy!

OK, we have the replacement ready so let's go see what we need to attack. Once again, please let me remind you that this is OLD-Blogger that we are working on. If you want the information for NEW-Blogger, read the post that follows this one.

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1. Backup your old template. Either by using the built-in backup feature in Blogger, or by copy/pasting it to a text editor of your choice, and saving it in a location you can find easily and with a name that makes sense to you!

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2. Upload your image so that it gets to lodge itself on Blogger's servers, because you're going to have to call it up during the editing process. You can do this in a new draft post that you won't be publishing:

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3. The highlighted bit is what you need when replacing the template's own image. The rest is superfluous:

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4. Now choose the 'Template' tab and choose to 'Edit HTML' (if you're still reading this and you are a NEW-Blogger user, please note the differences in the options offered to you). Follow the instructions in the graphic below:

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5. And here are the changes:

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6. Still in the 'Edit HTML' window, find <!-- Blog Header --> and delete the bits that I've highlighted. This is so that the 'Blog Title' and 'Blog Description' don't show up over (or through) your carefully constructed graphic!

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7. That should have been all you needed to do, but when I made the changes to David's blog, one of his visitors commented that the 'link' that the original header provided back to the home page of the blog was now broken, and that she found it disconcerting that clicking on the new banner didn't take her anywhere! That's the strength of 'feedback', that a simple oversight made a visitor's browsing experience less than satisfactory. So I went back in and did another small change that the next couple of graphics describe. I would recommend that you do it as well. This graphic shows what needs to be edited . . .

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8. And this graphic shows it after it has been edited . . .

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That's all folks. If you haven't already done so, take a wander across to David McMahon's blog. What you see is precisely what was achieved editing his banner while he was still using OLD-Blogger.

He is, of course, now using NEW-Blogger. Which means I can use his site as an example for the 'tute' on changing things in NEW-Blogger as well. Watch out for the next post . . .

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What a Vista . . . !

A gentle comment left by papoosue reminded me that I've been putting off publishing the 'Banner/Header' tutes, using the switch to the new computer and the new OS as an excuse.

Well, a week has rolled by since I switched off the trusty 'old' computer and I haven't been tempted to turn it back on again. Looks like I managed to snatch all the files I needed, so it appears that the time for excuses is over!

What a Vista! - (click on the thumbnail for a larger image) My dual monitor display of a Vista desktop.
Photograph: © Terry Fletcher

 

I've put up that pic just to prove that life has moved on and that I have truly changed things. I should be able to get my head down now and become productive.

Give me a day or two, OK?

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Friday, 13 July 2007

Update . . .

New computer. New OS (Windows Vista). Same old problem. And NO, it isn't connected to paraskavedekatriaphobia, or what is commonly known as the "The Fear of Friday the 13th"!

Can't build a local network because M$, in their wisdom, have changed just about everything as far as Administering your account is concerned. They claim that it 'hardens up' your computer against vile on-line attacks. Sure! What they don't say is that they've changed things so much that, you can barely access the internet. Which makes your computer pretty safe!

It is now a game of 'trial-and-error' to build a local network, and until I've managed to do that then all my old files are sitting on the old computer and thumbing their collective nose at me.

Figuratively speaking, of course!

Bear with me, folks! I will be good to go in a few days . . .

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