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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Frustration with TypePad

I'm a little bit behind today. The reason is that I redid the "Tweet" link at the bottom of each post. I had been using the code that TypePad offers for advanced templates, but the code is faulty is two ways. First, it doesn't shorten URLs so most of the tweet is the address rather than the text. Because the URLs are generally relatively long, the tweets were essentially missing the post titles and were not very informative as to content. Second, if the address happened to be longer than 140-3=137 characters, as they can be easily under TypePad's address system, the code would truncate the URL making it dysfunctional. A tweet that has only part of the address isn't very useful.

I let TypePad know about this on several occasions, even tried to embarrass them by asking why they left faulty code up after being informed about it, but they basically said they didn't care. It's annoying. This isn't a problem with TypePad's standard templates, only advanced templates, and as I've explained to them,  the fix is relatively easy if you have access to the internal database that holds the shortened codes (which are generated automatically if you send posts to Twitter, as I do).

The bottom line is that I can no longer recommend TypePad for people who plan to use advanced templates. There are other bits of code they offer that don't work either (e.g. the pictures for the social media buttons). I've informed them, but nothing happens. It's pretty clear that they have no intention of giving advanced templates the same level of support that they give standard templates. It's also pretty clear that they don't much care about code that doesn't work. That wasn't always true, but it is now.

Anyway, having faulty code on my site has bugged me in a way that doesn't seem to bother the people at TypePad. It annoyed me every time I thought about it, and Twitter came out with a new button a day or two ago that allowed me to fix this, so I did. I still have to turn it into a JavaScript pop-up rather than a full page as it is now, but my tests failed with one older browser type so I am going to hold off on that until I get this resolved, especially since it works just fine as it is. Also, it's now possible to amend TypePad's code so that URLs are only shortened if the title plus URL crosses the 140 character limit, and I thought about doing it for them. But since they didn't do anything for me, I see no reason to do their job. I will, however, probably fix it on my own site once I get the chance. For now, however, it adopts the Twitter standard and shortens all URLs even if there's room for the full address and the full title.

TypePad used to be very good at their advanced template support. Unfortunately, instead of concentrating on their core business, blogging, they are trying to be Facebook and Twitter by adding things that are poor imitations of what Twitter and Facebook can do. So long as they try to be what they aren't, a social media provider rather than a blogging service, their core business will continue to suffer. Too bad, I used to recommend TypePad highly.

    Posted by on Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 10:17 AM in Economics, Weblogs | Permalink  Comments (6)


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