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Using the Generic Blogger Template

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Blogger Template Design: Tutorial 6
Here I'll explain how you can use the Generic Blogger Template to practice on tweaking the codes and modifying your templates. The ultimate goal is surely for you to know how to design your own template, but knowing how to modify the template first (and to get a feel how the template 'react' to your code modification) is an important step that you need to go through before starting to design your own template.

Changing your template is not as simple as changing or adding some codes, hitting the "View Blog" button, and thinking that everything will go as perfect as you plan. Lots of the time you'll see things go off differently from what you've expected. Especially if you're not a web programmer. I'm not one and I did go through a lot of going back and forth between the "Edit HTML" page to the "View Blog" page before getting what I really wanted.

So the best thing to do is really to experiment first with the 'behavior' of the template codes, see how they make your template change, and finally understand (more or less) why they change the way they change: simply put - be ONE with the code!

To make it easier for you, I've created a Generic Blogger Template that you can download to play around with. To be honest, it's an ugly template, but the different container colors will help you see how things actually change. The first thing you need to do is create a Test Blog using your Blogger account. Then upload the Generic Blogger Template into your Test Blog. Put a few posts with lots of text, images, and add some sidebar widgets too so that you can see a more realistic effect.

The next step is just to start playing around. It's best to do things one by one. Say, choose one of the containers, the header-wrapper maybe (look in Tutorial 5 ), and change some of the command codes for that container. Then view the new templates to see if the changes is really what you've expected. As starters, try to play around the most with padding and margin (playing with colors, fonts, or any appearance-setting commands are not as challenging as playing with layout-setting commands). Don't play yet with the template size-setting commands like the width of containers because this involves other containers also and can get really messy. We'll do this later. Once you're confident with how things behave in one container, move on to other containers or do multiple containers in one go.

Within a short time, you'll be confident enough with this Generic Blogger Template that you can start tweaking your own blog template codes. At this point, I won't say that you'll know everything there is to know about tweaking codes, but you'll know enough to do considerable makeover on your template and enough to start learning new things and dealing with new problems on your own. The key point here is your coding skills will grow in time - May the CODE be with you!


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