Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More playing about with Google, but this time with googlepages. My old website has been moderately popular, mainly because of the cut-up machine, but has been in a considerable limbo since UKOnline disabled the facility to upload changes through any mechanism except directly logging on to their servers. This always seemed to me a shame but at the same time I moved onto Blogger and found that maybe I didn't need a website anymore. However, with Google's new service I decided that maybe it was time to have another look at what a personal website should be.
I did take a quick look at googlepages when it was first announced but found the lack of javascript (an essential for the cut-up machine) and no abiliy to create your own template a bit too limiting. This time around there are still no personalised templates but there is the addition of google widgets, exactly like those used on the Google homepage, which can use javascript. So I spent Sunday evening playing with that and created a cut-up machine (which you can add to your desktop by clicking here: Add to Google).
That evening I fell ill with some kind of nasty food poisoning and spent most of Monday and Tuesday in bed. This morning, not really wanting to get on with very much else, I've been playing with the site and have now created a new(ish) homesite. So far it's just content from the old one and I haven't moved everything yet. But not bad for a morning's work.
Not that it has all been that easy. The lack of templates means that I am stuck with the scheme that Google has created and cannot modify it at all. So, if I want to change something on one page I have to go through all of them and change each one. It also means that it is impossible to create a generic menu system. To get around this I had to create another special widget and add it manually to each page. This seems ridiculous when compared with the functionality that blogger already offers and hopefully will be fixed soon.
Aside from that it works quite neatly. The page editor is simple and allows anyone to create a website. You can also upload pages and images (up to 100MB) so if I had wanted I could have used that facility to create a carbon copy of my old website without much fuss (except for the lack of folders).
So now I just have to decide what the website is for. Afterall I do have my blog so what's the point? I've yet to really decide. I think I want to look at the site as a platform for my writing, another plank on the muddy path of treating it as a career, and so there will be content and organisation changes over the next few months. Much of the older content will, I think, be archived off to the side to make way for other stuff. Now that I can. Unless the changes announced to Blogger today change my mind again.
The new home page can be seen at:
Setup your own pages at: (you'll need a Google account)
Information on creating Google Gadgets:

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