I’ve been using a heavily modified Blogger template, so when Blogger came out with their newer “layout” system (basically, new templates with pluggable “widget” modules, allowing you to do a good deal of modification without actually having to change your template) I stayed with my template instead of migrating.
I have a (hidden) test blog, which I use when I have a post with a complicated layout and I want to play with it before I publish it. The composer’s preview function is too rudimentary; I want to see what it looks like with my actual blog template.
Last weekend, I spent some time — quite a bit of time, actually — making the test blog look like the real blog, but using the layout features. I could do a lot of it with the widgets, but I did have to modify the template, still. Anyway, I got it working, and have now migrated the real blog to that setup also. Even with the work done on the test one, it took quite a bit more work to get everything right.
But right I think it be, now. The new layout should look very, very close to the old template version. There are a few differences that I couldn’t reasonably change, but that don’t matter (such as the placement of the labels at the bottom of the posts), a few differences that I like (it no longer says “Name:” and “Location:” in the header), and some new features in the sidebar — the category (label) archive list, and the “recent comments” section.
Please let me know if something doesn’t look right or work right. And tell me if you have comments or suggestions about the layout. Just leave a (moderated) comment on this or any post, and if it’s about the layout I’ll probably not publish it, but I will appreciate the feedback.