Who is ArcoJedi? A life-journeying Christian, ecstatic husband, proud father of four, web guru, all-around geek and Star Wars fanatic. Read these thoughts that he felt were worthwhile. Then wonder why he thought that way.

2010/03/04

Blogger Says Goodbye to Full FTP Feature Support

Blogger has delivered more work for me to do for free. Thanks!

By now, this will be old news in the technology universe. But by the end of the month, Blogger will be phasing out support for blogs published over FTP. You can read more at Blogger Buzz. Previous to this change, you could use their service to host your blog at an "example.blogspot.com" address on Google's servers OR your own domain pointed at Google's servers OR published over FTP to your own hosting account. But the FTP option is going away.

There are changes and improvements internally to how they're systems work and the FTP option has always been a bit unstable and difficult to support. Too many engineering resources are being assigned to fixing these specific problems when only a small portion of the users of this free service need it. Basically, this means that they removed one optional feature used by only 0.05% of their users. This small percentage included me.

Six of the blogs that I use for different sites are posted over FTP this way. It was late at night and I was pretty tired when I found out about this. Before I cooled off and thought about it, I got a little irate trying to post constructive comments.

ArcoJedi said...

Well, I'm so very very very glad to see we finally dropped that very problematic and difficult to follow rule about "doing no evil". That's been slowing you guys down. Do I have your attention now?

I've been using Blogger since 2003. I have a mix of FTP and custom domain blogs (total on Blogger: 17) that I use for a variety of my hobbies and interests.

One of the things that I've used to my advantage is that you can post via FTP to two separate blogs into the same hosting account or even the same folder. For instance, these blogs were all in different sub-folders of the same main site:

Since all of these were posted with .ASP file extensions and my own includes on the back end, I got to do some more advanced stuff over the years that 'widgets' just aren't going to cover.

One of my blogs - http://arconati.net/ - is even hosted in the same site as a separate WordPress site - http://james.a.arconati.net/ - and the two do not interfere. I could have the first site also be .PHP, though it's just .HTML files right now. With your plans to drop FTP, I'm not even sure there's a way to continue what I'm doing now. Unless of course, I simply install WordPress and import all posts and be done with it.

Additionally, for clients that want a simple blog added to their existing site in a sub-directory, your FTP was a lot easier to implement than WordPress. I've got some projects on complete hold now because of your changes.

The more knowledgeable 0.5% of us who know what we are doing enough to get FTP to work and care enough to do more advanced things with the blogger tools on our own hosted sites, we are your most loyal fans. When asked the WordPress vs. Blogger question, I have always stated that they both have very valid and useful features with plenty of expansion. I have recommended Blogger just a little bit more because I simply had more experience with it and I couldn't think of anything I couldn't do with it.

Now? Yeah, not so much.

Okay, wow. That's a lot of venom considering this is a free service. I don't normally go that far, but I've loved this service and used it for ... huh, 7 years now! Has it really been that long? Well, anyway, I didn't get a response comment but I owe an apology to whomever might have had to read that poison.

The good news is that the migration tool is actually pretty promising and I can easily get five of the six blogs that this affects moved over with a minimum of effort. The last one, Arconati News, will be a little harder to somehow get migrated properly. As I mentioned above, it's posted to the same account as a separate blog powered by WordPress. I'm not sure yet how to get the DNS settings right for this to work. But I'll keep hammering away until I get the option to work.

And coming from the other side of the fence, I can understand why they need to streamline things and simplify what they can and cannot support. From their point of view, it's got to be hard to continue to support a feature that doesn't work as well as they'd like and to get it to be up to standards will require way too much development and engineering resources than they can commit to a free service.

It still stinks. That's it, I guess.

Update (2010/05/25)

I've gotten all the blogs migrated over except the last one. I've tested some settings that proved to my satisfaction that I could get it to work. I'm a little tied up with other stuff right now to finish this last one so I'll let it sit on the back burner for the time being.

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