JAH Web Development Blog

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Blogger vs. Wordpress

As you can see from this Blog, I have been using Blogger for a while now. I recently had an idea for a new blog and decided I would give WordPress a try as I'd heard good things about them.

Setting up my blog in WordPress was nice and simple and although I wasn't overly impressed by the template designs, there were more to choose from than you get with Blogger. I guess the ease at which you can find a suitable template depends a lot on what type of blog you're creating.

After trying out a few different templates I did however start to notice a common theme with them. The margins around the sidebar widgets did not display consistently across different browsers. So although my blog may have looked fine in Internet Explorer, the same could not be said about Firefox or Opera. I also noticed on one popular template that the Search button was completely misaligned in Internet Explorer (although positioned correctly in all other browsers).

Of course, with my experience in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) all I needed to do was tweak the CSS code for my blog and fix these minor issues. Unfortunately however, WordPress charges you $15 a year for the privilege of customising your CSS code (I can't even begin to understand the mentality behind this). Blogger, on the other hand, allows you to edit your HTML template and CSS code with complete freedom.

In light of this revelation, I decided to fudge the situation by inserting empty paragraphs into my sidebar (hardly good practice for a semantic web, but I had come this far and was willing to live with it).

Oh but it didn't end there. The next thing I wanted to do was associate my new blog with my own .co.uk domain that I had already purchased in preparation for creating the blog. Blogger allows you to point your domain's DNS settings to their servers, effectively providing you with a completely free hosting service for your domain. But WordPress (yep you guessed it) charges you $10 a year for the same functionality.

Although I was disappointed by this, I decided to pay the $10 as I thought it was still a reasonable charge for hosting my blog.

I then thought, wouldn't it be good if I could get the blog to pay for itself by adding a few discrete advertisements on each page? So I tried to add some Google AdSense code to my sidebar. It appeared to save the code ok, but on checking my blog there was nothing there. I then went back to check the JavaScript I had added to the sidebar to find that it had simply been removed without any warning or explanation.

On further investigation, I discovered that adverts and affiliate links are not permitted on WordPress blogs. "Great", I thought - so I've just forked out money for them to host my blog and yet they won't even let me monetise the thing.

At this point I decided to cut my losses, and rebuild the blog using Blogger. After all, I already knew that you could place adverts on Blogger with just a few mouse clicks (you don't even have to copy and paste any code!) and host them on your own domain for free.

So there you have it - please let me introduce my Technology FAQs blog, complete with Google adverts, hosted on a .co.uk domain, and looking the same in all browsers (without paying a penny to Blogger).

As for WordPress, yes they have my $10, but at least I have gained the experience so I can safely say "never again".

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Google Chrome Is Here

Literally within the past hour or so, Google Chrome (Beta) has been made available for download. In fact, I'm writing this very blog post in Google Chrome.

Google Chrome is a new browser developed by (yep you guessed it) Google with some interesting new features that sets it apart from the crowd. I've only been using it for 10 minutes, but so far I'm very impressed.

You'll also be very pleased to know that my website displays perfectly in Google Chrome. Not that I was worried - it uses the same rendering engine as Apple's Safari browser and I've been testing all my websites in Safari for a while now.

If you're an existing client and you have any questions or concerns about Chrome, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Octavia Healthcare

Octavia Healthcare is the latest addition to my ever expanding portfolio of work. Although I certainly cannot take any credit for the design or artwork, I did re-build the site from scratch to ensure that it was standards-compliant, displayed consistently across all major browsers, and was much more friendly towards those all important search engines.

Octavia Healthcare offers rapid access diagnostic and treatment services in gynaecology.