Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blogger Reverse Publishing

Blogger is disabling S/FTP publishing support from their platform. As of now, they are not offering any solution other than moving the blogs to being hosted by Blogger (either with custom urls or not).

Blogger claims S/FTP will be disabled because a Google infrastructure for doing so is being deprecated and will become unavailable.

In my view, a third option could be put in place that would still allow users to host their own content and not rely on S/FTP on Blogger's side: I call it Reverse Publishing. It works like this:

You use Blogger interface to manage your content, and having selected Reverse Publishing no visible URL is setup for you, but you receive an API key to access all content through GData API calls.

On your server you run a script (PHP most likely) that when activated pulls your blog data through the Blogger GData API and deploys it on your server, essentially doing the same work that the old S/FTP publishing did on Blogger side, just without using S/FTP at all.

If Blogger opts to support that, it could even go so far as to 'ping' your script when new content is available, so it can start pulling it automatically when you publish on the Blogger interface.

I would like to see Blogger staff comments about this idea. If they could enable such an option on their side, I'm sure an opensource script for doing the work on our side could be pulled off quite rapidly.



Blogger pero said...

I am working to figure out what to do with this mess as well.

My site (and weblog) are on my own domain. Other than having to "sign in" to blogger to post - I do not rely on their servers for anything.

I am hoping that they find *something* that will work - have you sent your post to their support / developers?

I'll stop by again to see what how this works out...

February 3, 2010 9:28 AM  
Blogger LKRaider said...

I have posted a comment to their Blogger FTP Info blog and also started a thread on their Suggestions & Feedback forum.

No replies yet.

February 3, 2010 10:19 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

This is an interesting idea. I think all the tools are there already on our side. As a quick approach, you could use the ?orderby=updated Atom feed to get posts with the most recent changes first. For more advanced pinging, look into PubSubHubbub, a standard that Blogger supports for getting notifications when there's new feed content.

You may run into a bit of an issue with URLs; you could host your blog just at a Blog*Spot URL and unlist it, or lock down the reader permissions and access the feed via OAuth or some other authentication.

Right now you can set the custom domain to be a host that doesn't point to Blogger, though we may be tightening that up in future so I wouldn't depend on it.

Whether or not Blogger knows the right URL for your blog may or may not be of significance to you. It would be used, for example, for pinging or sending out Blog Send mail. If you don't use those types of features, then you wouldn't have a problem with Blogger telling others wrong URLs for your blog.

Of course, if you just use the Atom feed you'd have to handle templating by yourself, which to a first order is not hard if you just stick post bodies and titles in an HTML page you've already built. What's trickier, however, is something like archive pages. GData will let you use published-min and published-max parameters to narrow down a feed, so just use a good date library and you should be set.

I'll subscribe to the comments on this thread if you want to bounce more ideas around. I'd be happy to offer advice; I think this is a neat idea.

February 7, 2010 10:57 AM  
Blogger LKRaider said...

Thanks for commenting, Pete.

I did not know about PubSubHubbub, and from what I could see setting up a subscriber endpoint as a php script on the blog url could work as the 'ping' I mentioned on the post.

The script would then have to get all data regarding the blog and be able to generate all static pages in the same way that Blogger normally does, so not to break links and layout. Also would have to generate the rss.xml feed, right?

It doesn't seem simple, specially since I don't touch php in ages and have yet to understand these protocols much better, but I'll try to hack something as a start and see how it goes.

February 8, 2010 7:21 AM  
Blogger Nick Carter said...

We have so many blogs published via FTP, we had to create a solution. So, viola: why not share.

Download the script free and keep your blog at your server.'s Blogger FTP publishing fix.

February 24, 2010 2:36 PM  

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