Putting A Spanner In The Works

I'm really not a luddite, I have no problem with new technical inventions that make life easier or cheaper. What I object to is using technology simply for the sake of it, when the result is inferior to what there was before. Unfortunately, in my view, a lot of recent "innovations" on blogger seem to fall into this second category. Today my object of hate is dynamic views.

Dynamic views are a nice way of showcasing the new web standards, HTML5 and CSS3, but personally I think they are horrible. In my experience they are slow to load (and believe me my machine ranks above average on CPU and memory), and they remove any sense of individuality from the blogs on which they are used. Whilst the presentation shouldn't be as important as the content, I think we all judge books by their covers and blogs by their layout. Unfortunately once a blog owner has decided to use dynamic layouts us as readers have no option to view the original template unless we turn off JavaScript. Unfortunately, if you turn off JavaScript you will be able to see the main page of the blog using the normal template but you won't be able to look at older posts and none of the widgets will work. Fortunately the rest of this post introduces a solution that means if you hate dynamic views as much as I do you can banish them for good!

When you turn JavaScript off Blogger doesn't gracefully show you the old template for a dynamic blog. What it does is give you a link to the front page of the blog with ?v=0 appended to the end. It turns out that adding v=0 to the query string of the URL for any page within a blog causes it to be displayed using the old template. Unfortunately Blogger doesn't re-write the links in a page when you add v=0 to the URL, so they all point back to the dynamic view. And even if you have JavaScript turned off they just send you back to the homepage not the actual page you wanted to look at. This is a horrid mess, but it does give us a way of fixing things.

My solution is a GreaseMonkey script that runs as the page loads, redirects you away from the dynamic view and back to the original template pages and re-writes all the out going links, where necessary, to include the v=0 parameter so that they all just work. If you use Firefox then you will need to install the GreaseMonkey addon before you can use the script, if you use Google Chrome then support for GreaseMonkey scripts is built in. Once you are ready you can install my script by clicking this link. Currently it will only be applied to blogspot hosted blogs so unfortunately you might still see the odd dynamic view blog (Blogger Buzz for example) but hopefully there shouldn't be too many.

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for improvements, and certainly links to any blogspot hosted blogs where you still see the dynamic views.

7 comments:

  1. I am SOO with you in not liking dynamic templates. Love the v=0 trick - but I'm wondering if another option would be to just manually add it to links ourselves? I'm nervous about installing a script that does it all the time, in case I do need to see some things in "dynamic" layout.

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    1. You could manually add it to each link yourself, it would just be fairly tedious. To look at an old post you would have to apply the "fix" to the home page and then copy the link you wanted to follow into the address bar and then add the v=0 to the end.

      One thing to note about GreaseMonkey scripts is that they are really easy to disable or uninstall. In Firefox, for example, you should find a little monkey's face appears on the addon bar (usually at the bottom of the window), clicking the face disables GreaseMonkey completely (including all scripts) or you can click the arrow to being up the menu from where you can disable a specific script. Once disabled simply go back to the original blog address and it will appear with it's dynamic view.

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  2. Was redirected to your blog by Adrian.
    Very useful info for me who is using the new interface (which i love, i seem to be among a minority of people who do so...) and am asked various questions from some of my followers! Thanks

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    1. Hi DeeBee, I suppose that I can see the attraction of the new view styles, especially while not many people are using them and they still look different from other blogs. Once lots of people start using them though then all blogs will start to look the same and I think that would be sad. Part of the personality of a blog is how it looks as well as it's content. My main concern though is that on many computers they are so slow as to be unusable and I'd worry that it would but off people from reading my blog.

      Of course, if you like the new styles then you should be free to express yourself by choosing one of them for your blog. I guess once they get gadget support and some more customization options then I might even change my mind!

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    1. Unfortunately not :(

      When Blogger last made some changes to the dynamic views they seem to have completely removed support for viewing the blogs with javascript disabled, which means this trick no longer works.

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  4. Thanks for sharing. Its good to see fresh content always.
    open source developer

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