May 17, 2010

Better Post Previews - See how your post will look to readers

After a hardworking weekend, I found an awesome treat in my feed reader this morning! Blogger in Draft today published details of the enhancements to the post preview feature of our blogs which enables us to see how our posts will look to readers:

Up until now, when we preview a post we are writing for our Blogger powered blogs, we have seen only a white, format-less version of our musings, with none of the formatting and visual style which is added by our template and CSS.

With this new feature in place, we can see preview exactly what the post will look like when published, including any style attributes generated by our template code.

How it works

The updated post preview feature is available to those using Blogger in Draft to publish their posts, though as it seems to be working well for everyone so far I imagine it will become available to those using the regular editor soon enough.

This enhancement works similarly to the preview system offered by the Edit HTML template editor; rather than have a pop-up display, the preview is generated in a new browser tab (or page, depending on which browser you are using). Simply click the "Preview" button, which now appears beneath the post editing section to see this new feature in action:

I find this particularly useful when deciding which size of images to use in my blog posts as I can see exactly how the post will be formatted when the style generated by my templates is applied.

This works even with an immensely customized template such as mine. It's seamless and works beautifully right out of the box, and is a welcome addition to the series of enhancements we've seen the Blogger team push through over the past few months.

A note for Blogger hackers:

The only possible problem you may face when using this feature is if you customize the display of posts on the home page (for example, if you use conditional tags to add content/alter the layout of posts as I do for Blogger Buster).

As the post preview works in the same way as the template preview, you will see how your post would appear on the home page of your site, not on an individual item page. So if your template features customizations which affect the display of posts, you may not be able to see properly how your post will be formatted.

For most Blogger users, this will pose no issues at all.

Do you use the new template preview? What do you think?

While this enhancement is subtle, I find it immensely useful when writing and previewing my blog posts. What are your experiences with this? Have you had any problems editing and previewing your posts, or do you find this as useful as I do?

Please feel free to leave your comments and opinions below.

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All existing posts are still available to view while I'm working on the site, albeit seen in a much simpler interface. Feel free to browse through the archives to find tutorials, templates and articles to help you build a better blog:

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