Monday, September 22, 2008

Separating Paragraphs in Blogger


Every week, you see the question

Why do my posts all end up as one long paragraph? I carefully type each paragraph, and put in lots of line breaks. What I get is a mess.

And in most cases, it's a simple problem. On the surface, that is.

Go to Settings - Formatting, and set "Convert line breaks" to "Yes".

But this will have repercussions. A lot of HTML is sensitive to line breaks - putting gratuitous line breaks inside Embed code will cause problems. And other elements, like Tables, will look whacky.

If you compose your posts using "Edit HTML" mode, you'll be creating code. Many bloggers instinctively make their code easier to read, by adding lots of white space separating the paragraphs. Unfortunately, that white space, with "Convert line breaks" set to "Yes", becomes part of the post. Look at this post, for instance.

Blogger is trying to make this better. In New Blogger June / July 2008 (currently in Draft Blogger), they are doing two things to improve this problem.

  • Making it more advantageous for us to use "Compose" mode, not "Edit HTML", for composing posts.
  • Making the post editor under "Edit HTML" mode be more sensitive to line breaks in the display.

But as post editor under NBJJ2008 makes things better, the opportunity to confuse may become worse. If you use "Edit HTML" under New Blogger, you may not have to worry about extra line breaks in the code. What happens if you switch back and forth, between the current post editor, and the newer version? My guess is, if the new post editor doesn't very intelligently (intuitively even) remove all extraneous line breaks, you'll end up with a worse mess.

So choose this setting, and use New Blogger June / July 2008, with care. Know the issues.

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Hi, I am Hua, a chinese expat residing in India excited about windows, linux and all things tech

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