Friday, February 10, 2006

Uploading photos to Blogger

A while ago (June or so), Blogger introduced photo uploads to their list of services. They give 300MB of free space for uploading pictures, and when you upload, they automatically save two versions of the picture for you: the “real” version, and a scaled-down version for showing in the blog. So in your blog, you can have a little version of the picture, and when you click on it, the big version will show up. I promptly made use of it—and then just as promptly stopped putting up pictures, because I don’t take pictures that often.

But I do put up pictures occasionally, and I’ve discovered something: they did a really crappy job with their photo upload tool. It’s surprising, because Blogger is owned by Google, and they’re really good at doing stuff like this, but they seem to have dropped the ball on this one.

First of all, here’s how the tool works:

  1. In the Editor window, there is an icon for uploading images. When you click it, you get a pop-up that asks you what image you want to upload, how big you want it to be in the blog post (the scaled-down version), and whether you want it to be centred, or off to the left or right, or what.
  2. Once you click the Upload Image button, you get a little icon that indicates it’s uploading
  3. When it’s done uploading, you get another screen, that says your image is finished uploading, and has a Done button.

  4. Clicking this Done button is supposed to close the pop-up, and put you back in the editor window. The appropriate HTML for your image will be inserted into your post, and you can move it wherever you want. (Blogger always puts it at the beginning of the post, regardless of where your cursor was when you uploaded, which is a minor annoyance, but nothing big.)
Now, here are the problems I’ve encountered so far:

Sometimes, when you click the Done button, and the pop-up closes, it neglects to insert the image into your post. And, since the upload tool chooses a name (and location) for your file at the time when it gets uploaded, you don’t know what to put in there yourself—meaning that your only option is to upload the image again, and hope that it works this time.

The other problem that I’ve encountered—and this happens more than 50% of the time—is that sometimes the image upload never returns, and the window just hangs there, never giving you the “finished uploading” screen.

Both of these bugs have the same result: You have to upload the image again. And, since you only have 300MB of space on your account, you’ve got a bunch of wasted images taking up your space! This wouldn’t be so bad if Blogger had some type of tool where you could see what images you’ve got, and give you the URI for them. Then, if the upload fails, you could at least go and see if the image uploaded properly, and insert the HTML for the image into your post on your own. Or, alternatively, you could delete the images that didn’t get used, because the upload failed.