Sunday, May 20, 2007

Blogger annoyances and Emacs 22

When I set up my weblog on Blogger I made the error of enabling an option which caused all newline characters in my postings to be converted to literal HTML newlines (<br>). This was fine for a long time, until I wanted to write my blog postings in a text editor with HTML support (such as Emacs) and then copy them into my weblog. Emacs has really good support for general text editing and word-wrapping in particular, so once I started using it for editing blog postings using the automatic newline conversion mode didn't really make sense.

Unfortunately, I couldn't just turn off the conversion, because then I'd lose formatting in all of my older posts. Today I finally bit the bullet and switched it off, going through many (but not all) of my older posts adding explicit paragraph tags. I couldn't be bothered to convert every posting, however, so there are probably several posts dotted around with decidedly dodgy formatting. I did take the opportunity to delete some rather useless posts (like "Friday Five" and "Unconscious Mutterings" posts -- anyone remember those from Back In The Day?)

While on the subject of Emacs, I today discovered the joy of Emacs 22, built from CVS. This is going to be the next major version of Emacs, and has loads of awesome features, like the ability to use GTK widgets, and proper UTF8 support. In particular, it supports the g-client library, part of the Emacspeak project, which allows me to post to Blogger directly from Emacs. It would much more convenient than having to fire up Firefox (Blogger doesn't support Firefox) and mess about with the Blogger website, if it worked. Unfortunately, although I can edit blog entries, I can't seem to post new ones, which is most bizarre. I feel an e-mail to the maintainer coming on.

There are many other good things about Emacs 22: left clicking on links in dired and help buffers spring to mind in particular. I really recommend that regular Emacs users check it out from CVS and try it out.

Update: I think the problem with g-client was that due to (re)posting so many old entries, I'd triggered an anti-spam setting that requires me to complete a captcha -- and thus use the Blogger website -- for the next 24 hours. So hopefully it'll start Just Working tomorrow.

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