I stumbled upon a swath of new features offered by Blogger while searching for a better way to integrate the Text Flex blog into its main website. Evidently Blogger has such a wealth of new features released or on the horizon that apparently it has a special place in its heart for all of it--http://draft.blogger.com. So what wealth of the new does Blogger in Draft bring us?
Perhaps the most visible feature is, well, what we all around us on this page, the very work of the new Template Designer. Setting up these new web 2.0 design (or is it 3.0 by now?) features was as easy as picking a template, then searching for alternate background pictures and adjusting a few sliders. At first I had trouble integrating the text into the mix of lights and darks in the sky and forestial scene. I tried updating text colors one by one, but I found that the template palette has a single slider that can adjust all colors at once. The sidebar text still gets slightly lost in the lower levels, but I like to think that one "feature" is the effect from the text "emerging" out of the foliage and into the sky above. Pretty deep, huh?
Over at Voice of Text Flex, I tried out a new two-column sidebar format that allows me to group up thin items in the same space. Now the labels, links, and a new "share it" gadget all fit in one neat little square patch of space. An older formatting customization that I found is to remove the navigation bar at the top, which allowed me to replace it with the Text Flex header as a sort of "branding." It's the first step toward making the Text Flex blog more of an extension of the main site rather than a separate entity.
I'm sure that Blogger will keep us on its toes with newer and newer features, and I've probably only just brushed the surface. One thing I'm looking forward to is the ability to add my own background images. In the meantime, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy and brooding English (or San Franciscan?) sky...