Blogs in Freeway

19th of December, 2011

Blogs (short for web logs) are a very popular way of presenting information on the web, they allow you to add content directly into the page through the browser (like a content mangament system), and they can also allow your readers to add comments to your posts too. There are a huge number of ways to create blogs, ranging from the free to the subscription based, and the simple to the more complex and advanced. This article will outline some of the options available to you.

Blogger

Blogger is a free blog hosting service provided by Google. It is well known and respected—but designing a template with your own content can be tricky and time consuming. Freeway’s Blogger Actions makes creating templates for this popular blog platform simple and fast. Within minutes you can have your blog looking just how you want it! To do this you will need:

A Google account and a blog hosted by Blogger, when setting this up make sure that the blog is hosted on Bloggers servers, this will come with its own address such as http://example.blogspot.com. Privately hosted blogs are unsupported by the Freeway Actions.

To create a Blogger template:

We have created a video tutorial that shows how to create Blogger templates in Freeway. Design your page as normal, insert a couple of Actions and upload. Your custom blog is ready to go, just add content.

You can watch the movie tutorial here.

If you prefer written directions, these are the steps to create a Blogger template:
  1. In Freeway Pro, set the output level of your page to be XHTML in the Page Inspector palette's third pane (you can skip this step if you are using Freeway Express).
  2. Open the Document Setup dialog from the File menu.
  3. Click on the Upload tab and type your web address or the path to the place you will be uploading the template to in the Web Address field (for example http://www.yourdomain.com or http://www.yourdomain.com/path/to/template/). Click OK.
  4. Click and hold on the Actions toolbar icon and choose the Blogger Header Action.
  5. Draw the Action item on your page—don't worry about the dimensions for now.
  6. Use the Actions palette to change the appearance of the Title and Description items (in Blogger, the description is turned off by default—you will need to change your settings on the Blogger site to turn this on).
  7. Use Freeway's Preview to see how your blog will look (dummy text is used at this point).
  8. Add any other Blogger Actions (Blogger Posts, Blogger Archive and Blogger Profile) and other content to your page until you are happy with it.
  9. Upload your site using the Upload command in the File menu. Note: This step is important—if your blog has any images they will need to be uploaded to the web for Blogger to see them.
  10. In the Actions palette click on the Copy to Clipboard button. This will automatically copy the Blogger template code to your clipboard so it can be pasted in the next step. Note: if you have applied more than one Blogger Action, you only need click on one of the Copy to Clipboard buttons.
  11. Log into your Blogger account and go to Edit HTML in the Layout section. Paste the code into the large field in the center of the page and click Preview. You should see the Header and the Blogger navigation bar at the top of the page. When you are ready to save the template click the Save Template button.

Wordpress

Wordpress is an incredibly popular blogging platform that has had a large number of templates created for it. It requires PHP and MySQL to be available on your server (most good hosts provide these at the most basic level) but this also means the MySQL database needs setting up yourself, and some of the PHP configuration files will need manually editing.

There is no equivalent to the Blogger Actions for Wordpress so if you decide to use this service you will either need to make your Freeway site look similar to your Wordpress theme, or vice versa.

Directions for setting up your Wordpress blog can be found on their website. Once setup you can link directly to it from within your Freeway site.

Roll your own

Due to Freeway's ease of use, along with a very useful service that allows readers to add comments to your page, it's also possible to create and manage your own blog - all within your Freeway document. You could create a page that lists all your posts, create new pages for each post and link your front page to them. You can even use the RSS Feed Action on a new page and link it to the main page of your blog so people can subscribe to it!

Here's how:

  1. Create a new Master page in your Freeway document, this will be your blog post Master.
  2. Get creative and make the page look the way that you want it to look.
  3. Add the snippet of code from Disqus for adding comments to the page. Freeway Pro users can use the Comments action instead of the code.
  4. Create a new page based on this Master and write your first blog post.
  5. Create another new page, this will be your main blog page. This could also be a Master if you want.
  6. Add a title, the date and the first sentence or paragraph from your blog post to the top of the page.
  7. Link the title to the related blog post page.
  8. Create another new page, this will be the RSS Feed that will allow people to subscribe to your blog.
  9. Apply the RSS Feed Action to the new page - steps for creating an RSS feed using this Action can be found in this KnowledgeBase article - each feed entry will link to a different blog post.
  10. When you want to add a new blog post you can create the page from the post Master, add the new link to the main blog page and update the RSS feed page.

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