Sunday, January 23, 2005

Mercy... U.B. Codin'...

Some of our trainees were so smart yesterday, they already jumped ahead, surfed to and started a blog of their own... and now they're asking questions about the blog coding.

Why? So you can do some things that you may not be able to do otherwise, as just the 'normal' blogger. Like add links in the side-bar, to all your friends. And adding pictures to your blog.

[The 'coding' of blog pages is found in the 'template' tabbed-section. And it's not as spooky as it looks when you spend a few minutes looking down through it. Try to find some things you recognize.... For instance, lots of Blogger webpages contain a section called "Previous Posts"... so you might look for that, to get your bearings a little bit. Try experimenting just a little -- change it to say "Recent Posts". Then preview what you've done by using the PREVIEW button. And when you're happy with it so far, SAVE your newly-modified template. Easy, right?]

Here's what I call "night burglary programming" -- learn to do things to your webpage by checking out how other folks do it, and cut/pasting their code... into your webpage's "template" (the part with all the programming code).

Example: Go look at how lists all their friends (Indy Bloggers section of their navbar).

To see the code, when you're using MS Internet Explorer, just look up at your browser's menu bar and click on View -- Source. Here's the section of their source-code we might want to cut/paste into OUR template...


<h2 class="sidebar-title">Who's Who - Indy Bloggers?</h2>

<ul id="recently">

<li><a href="">Neil Cox,</a></li>

<li><a href="">Becki Jenkins, Missionary Connection</a></li>

<li><a href="">Bill Bean, Unnecessary Pastor</a></li>

<li><a href="">Brian Groce, Tech</a></li>

<li><a href="">Josh Claybourn, In The Agora</a></li>

<li><a href="">Justin Young, Chinese Church</a></li>

<li><a href="">John Hay, Bike Hiker, Pastor</a></li>

<li><a href="">"U B Bloggin"</a></li>

<li><a href=""></a></li>

<li><a href="">Pastor Andrew Hunt, III</a></li>

<li><a href="">Noah Kersey, Lifecare Counseling</a></li>

<li><a href=" Add me to Indy Bloggers?">Add me to Indy Bloggers?</a></li>



Y'know... If a person simply knew <WHY ALL THE BRACKETS?>... we'd be well on our way to modifying the code to use it ourselves at any website, right?

I found out that the coding inside of brackets are called 'tags'. Using my 'night burglary' method of coding, I found I didn't need to understand them to be able to use them. I just experimented and watched to see what happened when I used certain ones.

Example: That very first one... <h2> seems to be the header-tag that prints stuff real big.

And importantly, I found that when we 'open a tag', we also have to later 'close a tag' using the slash mark... example </h2>. Apparently that tells the program to STOP making big header-styled fonts.

Pretty simple, once I knew that.

Oh, and it also helped to know that all the indented space or white blank areas between lines of code just don't matter. Apparently programmers just write code that way to make it a little simpler for themselves to read and not get lost in all the goobledygock coding.

So go look at the code above and notice the 'opening tags' and their corresponding 'closer tags' (with the slash). See how they match up?

Everything else in between you can pretty much figure out what it does, by experimenting. Say change the names of their blogging friends, to YOUR blogging friends. And change the URL's of their friends' web-addresses, to YOUR friends' web addresses. That would be easy enough, right? Just cut/pasting from their programming-source-code to our blog template.

Question is... where, within our template's code, do we do this?
Answer... Just look down through the template coding til you see something you recognize... say the "Previous Posts" header. So you may want to insert your new code before that section.

[Tip: When I experiment, I just change a little at a time and then PREVIEW it to see how it comes out. And then after I'm comfortable with what I've done so far, I SAVE the template.]

Want more tips & tricks for playing in the code? Check out "Oh Yeah, U.B. Connectin' "

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