Blog Comparison

I am comparing two blog-hosing sites by running essentially identical blogs, one at each. The two blogs are:

  • MathBlog (this one), hosted by my web-hosing service, 1&1, and using WordPress software;
  • MathVentures, the Blog, hosted by BlogSpot, a Google’s Blogger service

Both services are free of charge and have different features. I am already running into features that I like and dislike in both and my wish-list is growing.

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Since these notes have nothing to do with math but concern the management and UI of these blogs, I will dedicate a separate page to this comparison. As it turns out, WordPress supports additional pages but BlogSpot does not. So, all of these notes will be on this page and I will have a link to it at BlogSpot. [I tried to have copies of these notes as posts there but they cluttered the math posts and were hard to maintain the two formats.]
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An alternative solution is to have a separate blog dedicated to this comparison.

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I have noticed that the most flexible and feature-rich blog-hosting service/software is TypePad. But it costs.

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Paragraphs, Blank Lines and White Space
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In posts, new paragraphs are nicely separated by white space in both blogs. But on the separated pages at here, all paragraphs are bunched together all blank lines and white space in between are omitted. Worse yet, bullets and indentation force wrong nesting, which cannot be undone and which may appear after subsequent editing, even if initially they were formatted as intended. [See more below.] The only way, I have figured out, to better separate paragraphs is to insert a period as the only character in an otherwise blank paragraph, as I do on this page. What a terrible hack. (First-line indenting doesn’t work either. I even tried to directly hack the HTML code of this page but all additional blank spaces were removed.)
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Bullets and Paragraph Indentation

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Only a single level of bullets and no paragraph indentation is possible at BlogSpot. WordPress has nesting levels of bullets and indentations but the support is very buggy and the results are unpredictable and, at times, quite troubling. Worse, while the WYSIWYG editing displays the desired outcome, the preview displays something different and once the post is published, its formatting is different yet. Sometimes some of the text disappears completely. And upon returning to the edit mode, while attempting to correct a bullet at the bottom of the post, the action may actually take place somewhere else, even at the very beginning of the post. Having external links within the bullets may be part of the problem. Repairing such a damaged post is time consuming a tedious; the simplest workaround is to save the text in an external program (e.g., MS Word), delete the post and start over again.
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Posting Order
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Both blogs display posts in reverse-chronological-posting order, most recent at the top to to the oldest at the bottom. Editing a post does not alter the posting date-time stamp. Both blogs also let you edit the posting date, thereby altering the position of specific post, which may be useful after editing a post.

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Home Page, Customizing It

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BlogSpot lets you customize the home page to a limited extent, like adding new objects (text, images, etc. ) or removing existing ones. BlogSpot also lets you change the order of the objects on the page by dragging and positioning the objects in the order you prefer. WordPress does not let you make any change to the home page.

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Left-hand Column, Customizing It

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BlogSpot lets you customize this column by creating objects that will appear in it. However, the variety of options is limited. For example, I added the “Titles I Like” text object and below it a list of books by Eli Maor in a list object. I also removed the object with the link to my profile. BlogSpot also lets you change the order of the objects in the column by dragging and positioning the objects in the order you prefer. WordPress only lets you enter items into the predefined sections of the column.

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Fonts

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With BlogSpot you can change the font, select font size for a small list and change the font color. With WordPress you cannot any of these.

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Tags (“Labels” at BlogSpot, “Categories” here)

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BlogSpot supports only a single level of tags while here you can have multi-level of nesting tags. But I haven’t yet figure out what the subcategories are good for; when used, the sub-tags appear just as the top-level ones. That is, there is no difference between child and parent tags and there is no reference to the parent tags.

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Search-Engine References

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Within just a few days after I started the blogs, Google (obviously) found and tagged both blogs . So far, at least one other search engine tagged MathVentures at blogspot and has yet to tag MathVentures.org. (as of 5/28/06)

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Posting Video Using Clipmarks

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In both blogs I was able to post videos from YouTube using Clipmarks very easily. It inserts a table in the blog and in it it embeds the video. BlogSpot let me edit the text around the video with no problem. However, WordPress, which manages the MathVentures.org blog caused a serious problem. For a while I was able to edit the text and all seems fine. But then the video player disappears. The table remains but it is resized because the player is no longer there. Instead, all that is left is a link to the corresponding YouTube page. Another problem is that with the video posting, any blog management, such as accessing the editing, managing or adding new posts pages is extremely slow. (as of 7/22/07)

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This is the first significant difference between the two blogs. In this blog, using WordPress it is not possible to edit and format the text that is associated with a video after it is posted. Blogger which is the software behind the other blog (hosted by BlogSpot) handles such additional editing just fine.

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Adding Digg Button, Does Not Show on a Flickr Post [on BlogPost]
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I sometime add a Digg button to some posts on both blogs. On BlogPost (Google’s Blogger) I created a Flickr post that includes an image and then edited the post. But after I added the necessary Digg-button code, the button is not visible. I have yet to test this post by removing the image and the Flickr code and see if the button is then visible. I have yet to do this on this blog.




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