8 June 2016

The Code: a short tale about challenges of blog design

Hello again, my fellow book lovers! Have you noticed anything different about this page? Of course, you have. How can you not notice the new menu bar when it sticks out of the background like a cheap romance novel in a classic sci fi bookshelf? It's weird, it's awkward and it looks like it's been put there by accident.

You may also have noticed that I keep my blog design very simple. I have a very basic template and no art work. And that is because when it comes to the technical side of blogging - to all the behind-the-scenes stuff - I have a few... let's call them "challenges". I have never been good at things like HTML, CSS or even Photoshop.

Claiming technical ignorance, however, is not an excuse to avoid doing the technical tasks that come with running your own blog. And if the truth is to come out, I have been avoiding it. HTML and CSS don't looks so difficult to learn, and surely, I can at least learn how to tweak pictures in Photoshop. But it's just so mind-numbingly boring and time-consuming, that I simply didn't want to get into it.

As far as excuses go, "I don't want to" is even less acceptable than "I don't know how". And whether I want it or not, the need to learn even the most basic coding and photoshopping has now caught up with me.

For instance, there is one feature in particular that I've been wanting to add to the blog. And that is the drop down menu. Since I've been writing quite a few movie and TV reviews alongside with my usual book reviews, creating separate pages for these subcategories seemed like the most logical step to take. And the drop down menus look so good (if done right).

So I found a few tutorials, and I started copying the codes. And thus began the most tedious and frustrating task that ended up eating up a large portion of my day. No matter how I tweaked the codes, and no matter how many more tutorials I turned to for help, I still couldn't get the menu right. The drop down function refused to function, and the menu bar kept looking like a cluster of grey blobs in a Petri dish. Mind you, that this was all happening in real time, so all the mistakes I kept making with the coding, showed up in the blog immediately.

What was I doing wrong? Why couldn't I get a simple code to work? Why must I fail at every attempt that I make? 

I was ready to throw in the towel and save the project for a better tomorrow, when I had an epiphany: I must have been using the wrong codes! You see, the codes that I kept using were designed for websites, not for blogs. It all made sense now: I had to use the codes that were designed specifically for Blogger.

Yes, quite an epiphany.

So I googled "drop down menu html code blogger" and came upon a website called - I can build a blog, which, among other things, shows you how to do drop down menus for Blogger.

Copy, paste, and: viola! The drop downs work, the links work. Hurray for everything!

But as you can see, the design is still rough around the edges. I still need some tweaking to do in order to make the menu look like it wants to be friends with the background.

For now, I'm happy with the way the blog looks, but I am going to work on making it look less amateurish more professional. 

What is your least favourite part of blog maintenance? What is the most fun and rewarding part?

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