Monday, July 30, 2012

Blogger ate my post, Google Search gave it back

I am a writer at heart. Just look at the number of blogs I contribute to (listed as the Techsplatter network at the bottom of this page). So I prefer Blogger over Word press because it takes care of a lot of details and hassle of running a blog. Don't get me wrong. I've setup Joomla systems and know my way around httpd.conf. But like all racing car drivers and chefs, sometimes you just want drive and cook and not worry about the car or whether the fridge is fully stocked.
Well, I blog everywhere and I used to use Springpad to capture thoughts and snippets that I would include later in my blogs. But then Springpad decided to be more Pinterst-like and that messed up the way I take notes by simply making it harder (it's gotten better since then). It drove me nuts and I sought out and found the Blogger app from Google. I had tried it earlier and it was in a rough shape then. But any other app I tried didn't work all that well.
So I installed it and with the caveat that the post would be typed in html in mind I started using it. I didn't care about formatting because I just wanted to write and have it ready for final editing on Blogger web itself. Well it turns out that the posts can be formatted when you start off. After the first save, it gets wonky and decides to dump you in this mode where you could put in html markup but you really can't see what Blogger will put in. I didn't care because I just wanted to write. And for that, it served me well. I could start a post in the phone and pick up later at home. As you can see in the archive of the blogs, the number of posts have picked up. And because I was out of a job and had tons of free time.
In the end, I thought that I had it licked and was working well within the confines of the app. Then I found out it had one more dark 'feature'.
I had started on a post in my self-help blog which turned out to be quite long. I edited it on the PC at home on the browser but still couldn't finish it. I found myself on a train with some free time and decided to continue working on the post. Being on a train meant that I was in and out of coverage and just so happened I was out of coverage when I saved. The Blogger app saved it locally on the phone. Now I knew that when this happened, it won't save to the site unless I published it. The trick here to force it to save is to just publish it and quickly revert it back to draft. Well, I did that when there was network coverage.
I went on finish the post on the PC. I had changed the direction the post was going so that I made a lot changes. I published it and that was that. Or so I thought.
I continued editing other posts in my other blogs using the Blogger app successfully. I had a new idea for a post in that self-help blog and switched back to it on the Blogger app. It still said that the post I was working on was in draft and had the older version. As I scrolled down, I accidentally hit Save. The app ignored that fact that the post was already published and went ahead and replaced the version on the web with the version on the phone. It didn't care that the post it was replacing was already published.
I was livid. The app should have at least asked for a confirmation because it was replacing a newer post. Later it dawned to me that it wasn't the case. What likely happened was that the post got saved on the phone just before being sent out. That meant it had a newer timestamp than the version on the web. So standard sync rules is that whatever is new replaces the old. And that was the case.
I solved it by using the 'cache' search option in Google to see the latest cached version of my site. If you add the term 'cache:' before an address, it'll show what Google has in it's database of that page. E.g. '' would give me the page that Google has in it's cache of my movie/tv review blog. So I entered '' and it showed me the post I had overwritten. I copied the text from the cached copy and pasted it back into my post. The graphics were already in Blogger so that was just a matter of re-inserting it back.
Google taketh away and Google giveth back.
For more Google Search Shortcuts, click here.
Epilogue: the post still continued to be shown as draft and the Blogger app refused to overwrite it with the version from the web. I went into the Andriod's Application Setting for the Blogger app and deleted all the data. Restarting the app re-synced the posts correctly.
Checkout my full review on the updated Blogger for Android App.


  1. Hi,

    I know this is an old post, but if I hadn't found it, I would be destroying things in a Hulk-like rage right now. So thanks!

  2. Thanks. I'm glad you found it useful.

  3. Thanks for the post it is very interesting.

  4. Is there any way of getting back a draft if Blogger autosaves over with a second draft. I'm in a Blogger rage right now. I've just lost hours of work and am so close to just giving up on it entirely and moving to Wordpress >.<

    1. I'm sorry but it's lost. The cache trick above only works for published posts. I've soured over Blogger but can't seem to move away. My strategy is to do my drafts elsewhere and transfer and format and post later. But that's just me because I'm a wordsmith and not into the visual stuff too much.


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