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

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

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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.

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