Google to boot Blogger laggards (like me) off FTP publishing

Am I bitter? Not at all. They're doing me a favor.

I just got an e-mail from Blogger Product Manager Rick Klau informing me that Google will discontinue publishing blogs to Blogger via FTP on March 26. Klau pointed out that only one half of one percent of all Blogger users fall into this category. That's meant to reassure, but it doesn't in my case. My personal blog is published via FTP.

I launched my blog, The Raw Feed, in July of 2003 -- just five months after Google acquired the service from a company call Pyra Labs. Back then, that's how you used it. You bought a domain, entered in the FTP information into the Blogger service, and when you posted a blog item, Blogger would use FTP to copy the files to your server.

Over time, Google professionalized and standardized Blogger, and made it much easier to edit and manage. And they pushed new users to use their blogspot.com hosted domain.

From the very beginning, I've tweaked and fiddled with the code that displays my blog. Trouble is, I'm not a developer. I've made changes through an ugly trial-and-error process that has left me with code that's totally incompatible with Google's porting tools -- or at least the ones they've offered in the past.

Klau promised in his e-mail that Google would unveil a brand spanking new, idiot-proof porting tool on February 22. The tool will help users move externally hosted blogs into the Blogger-hosted (blogspot.com) system. In addition, Klau recommends Google's Custom Domains service, so users can use their own domain names.

Am I bitter? Not at all. They're doing me a favor, and forcing my lazy behind to get with the program. I publish another blog on the Blogger system, and it's a gazillion times easier to manage that my FTP-published blog.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on my journey. And if you're in the same boat, I'd love to hear from you! In the meantime, here's the letter from Klau:

Dear FTP user: You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/. The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows. Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing[1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing. Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year's post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you're interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users. For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end: We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations. We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released. We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger. Regards, Rick Klau Blogger Product Manager Google 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 [1] http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/05/ftp-vs-custom-domains.html [2] http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/01/blogger-custom-domains.html [3] http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/05/ftp-vs-custom-domains.html [4] http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55373 [5] http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/

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