Friday, October 22, 2010

Backing Up My Blog

I just spent an hour or so searching for options to print Blogger entries (printing just the blog entry itself, not all the widgets and other clutter) and/or back up the content.  Ideally, I'd hoped to add a "print this" widget, but apparently none exists, and the best solution I found (which involved adding custom code to the template) didn't work for me because I couldn't figure out the right IDs to use for the bits I wanted to make vanish.  There's still the browser print feature, but that gets you all sorts of things you probably don't want.

On the backup issue, I had better luck.  There are various options for (essentially) spidering the site and storing pages, including the ScrapBook extension for Firefox (which I already use for other purposes).  In my case, I found a simpler option.  The key is that I already have source documents for any images I use (because I have to create them myself).  For lengthier posts, particularly those with lots of math, I sometimes compose the post in LyX and transfer it to Blogger, which means the LyX document serves as a backup.  So my main need is to back up just the text itself (with or without all the extra clutter), primarily for the posts that I create directly in Blogger's editor (such as this one).

Enter the DownThemAll! extension for Firefox.  Once you've installed it, the process is pretty simple:
  1. In the Blogger dashboard, select Posting > Edit Posts and list all your posts (or all your recent posts if you've backed up the older ones).  There's a limit of something like 300 posts on any one page, so if you're very prolific, you'll need to iterate a few times.  (Then again, if you're that prolific, you obviously have no shortage of idle time.)
  2. While staring at the list of your posts (each post title being a link to view the corresponding entry), click Tools > DownThemAll! Tools > DownThemAll! in Firefox to open the a dialog in which you can select the files to download.  Highlight the ones that say "View" in the description field. A quick filter on "*.html" selects them all without (so far at least) grabbing anything else.
  3. Select where to save them, futz with other settings if you wish, then click Start! and watch DownThemAll! suck down all your postings.
Need to back up images (or other media files) as well?  So far, the best way I've found is to open the actual blog post and download them (by right-clicking individual images or using DownThemAll! again).  Note that the links in your downloaded copies of the HTML file still point to the Blogger server, so you can open the downloaded copy to get to media files; you do not need to actually navigate to it on Blogger.

If there's a better way to do this (and particularly if there's a simply way to print just what's in the actual post), I'd love to hear it.

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