Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blogger & AngularJs - Is it a better love story than Twilight ?

May Allah`s peace , mercy and blessing be upon you

I shared recently a post about how I got that idea to use AngularJs with Blogger using RSS as a resource and modding comments. Today, I want to share with you my impressions after two weeks since I launched the experiment.

Disclaimer: The experiment was on this blog, it's a small personal blog with minimalistic design, limited number of posts and few visitors, so my judgement will be based on those facts. Behavior on larger blogs isn't guaranteed to be the same.

What I like about it ?

It's very light, swift and fast, the page is visible quickly even with using a custom font and many base64 resources, not to mention that Angular for a reason that I don't understand loads resources for all posts even if they aren't rendered nor in the DOM yet !!!
First time load :

From cache :

The first time load time is a bit high, but after that user can navigate almost instantly. For a blog it might not be a best practice because people usually look for a specific post so loading other posts isn't that brilliant. I'm planing to solve the problem by parsing portions of the XML from the RSS feed and not the whole file at once.

Comments are pretty too, I always hated Blogger's comment from it's an ugly thing with that terrible design and poor experience in an iframe. The wordpress inspired comments form seems like a usable one with Gravatar and URL.

What I don't like ?

The worst thing about this experiment is SEO, search engines aren't able to index pages because of dynamic content that changes in run time, which makes the pre-rendered HTML -in general empty- invalid for search engines. There is this great article that will work for you if you have your Angular app hosted on your server. Also, preview functionality doesn't work too

Moreover, Analytics doesn't work well with URLs with hashes, I can't get detailed analytics for a post anymore. I found a workaround that I will try later and post results.

There is a dark side for comments as well, sometimes it will redirect you to Blogger's comment form and display the supposed to be hidden JSON object and maybe impose a Captcha test, and it will redirect you to the old URL of the post.

It's sad that the Web still doesn't work well with hashbang URLs without fallback links, even if it's an old practice, I had a headache to make Twitter's button accept a URL with a hash !!!  The bottom line is that search engines and Analytics should provide tools to support hashbang URLs in a time that many people are relying on javascript MVC frameworks.


Blogger and AngularJs, these two sons of Google doesn't seem to like each other so much -which make them good brothers by the way- but of course It's a better love story than Twilight (everything on earth is), loading time and improved comments (when they work correctly) are a gain. But SEO and Analytics make it not the best thing to do if you really want to spread your posts while keeping an eye on your blog.
For me a homeless dude like me should keep good care of his spot on blogspot until I get a host :) but having blogs on blogger for 4 years makes me understand the platform and keep improving and experimenting.

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