New look for my ranting

To confirm the obvious, Ross Randomly Rants has a new look. Blogger revised its systems a while back, and recently pushed all of us into their new format. Since they allowed us to preserve our existing templates and page designs, this change probably had little or no visible effect aside from requiring some people to have Google accounts.

Here at ranting central, I finally got around to finding out what new features were available if I flipped my blogs to the new layout system from the old template system. The key feature that pushed me over the edge is that new Blogger has post labels. Labels are a lot like what we call tags over at Flickr: an ad hoc mechanism for categorizing blog posts.

Once I went back and re-read all the old posts and dropped a few labels on them, I realized that the blog itself needed a way to tell visitors what labels I had used and as a result a way to find posts with particular labels attached. Although there might be tricks available to show the labels in an old Blogger template, it was much easier to bite the bullet and flip to the new layout system where a list of the labels in use in my blog is a stock widget.

Then I got greedy. At Flickr, we are used to tag clouds as the best way to display a collection of tags. A cloud lists all the tags, but uses font size and color variation to signal which are used more than others. This produces a more interesting display than a flat list with counts of posts. A little searching around produced a page at phydeaux3 that did exactly what I wanted. I don't know who phydeaux3 is, but their fine script deserves credit.

I hope the change to a cleaner overall look is for the better, and now all that remains is to remember to actually label my posts in the future.

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