The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Visitors to my site fall into 3 categories: People into grilling, other iWeb users and lastly friends and family. This blog is directed at fellow iWeb users. Others are welcome to read on, but this entry is not about food. Instead it is a heads up to other iWeb users about what I consider to be the weakest link in iWeb: the blog commenting capabilities. More specifically I’ll mention precautions you might want to take to preserve your comments and keep them from disappearing forever.

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iWeb must be running to see if you have any comments

When iWeb first came out there was no ability to do blog comments at all. Several third parties rushed to fill that void with utilities that allowed you to use 3rd party commenting sites like Haloscan. I used this service but it was not foolproof. You are supposed to get an email notification when there was a new comment, but this worked only about 75 percent of the time. Than Apple added in Commenting in an update to iWeb version 1. It was built in and I liked the interface better than the 3rd party sites. The big weakness is you don’t have the choice to be notified by email if you get a new comment. Instead iWeb adds a little number on the badge you see in the Program Switcher interface or the Dock (see image above). What this means is iWeb must be running in order for you to know you received a comment. The good news is you can read the comment right from within iWeb. The bad news is you must visit your site on the internet to type a r reply.

The result of this notification system is I have missed several questions visitors have posted. There are times where I may be very active grilling, but it is nothing new that I would be posting anything on the site for. A few weeks might go by where I don’t need iWeb and I find I’ve missed someone’s question. Now I don’t have a lot of comments as a rule. For whatever reason man people chose to contact me through my @mac.com email address. Maybe it’s because they see it takes me a while to respond if they post on the web site. It is not just blogs that are affected. Since iWeb doesn’t actually have a Guestbook page type, I used a tricked out blog page to serve the same purpose. These are comments I’d definitely like to keep around.

Twice now I have almost lost my all of my comments. The first time was when I had issues with the size of my site growing larger than iWeb 1.0 seemed capable of handling. I detailed some of these issues in two blogs:
IWEB DO’S & DON’TS and SITE NEWS: A CAUTIONARY TALE. There have been improvements in iWeb 2.0, but the blog comments are not one of them. The first time when my Domain file got too big I had to downsize the photos republish the entire site from scratch. This past week I went to my site on the web and found all of the comments had vanished. They were still visible in iWeb but not on the page in any browser I tried. I visited the Apple help forums for iWeb and this was not unheard of. Some people pointed to a 3rd party iWeb utility called iMap that I’d recently started using. Others who were not using iMap had the same problem. One suggestion was instead of doing an incremental update where just the changed pages are republished, use the Publish All menu item. This jogged a memory for me. Once before my comments had gone missing in my browsers and Publish All had saved the day.

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You can print to PDF in any OSX application. Click on the blue PDF button on the lower left of the print dialogue box. This was the key to recovering my blog entries

Unfortunately this time around Publish All made things worse. Now I had no comments in either iWeb or on the internet. Since I had a back up of my Domain file for iWeb from one hour ago (thank you Time Machine-see CAN WE ALL JUST BACKUP A MINUTE) I opened it up. I restored the one hour old Domain file and the comments were there and then disappeared after iWeb checked in with my .Mac site.. The second time I restored the Domain file from the backup, I turned off my internet connection. This time the comments stuck. I then printed each page that had comments as a PDF. PDF generation is built into OSX, simply issue the Print command and go to the bottom of the page and popup the PDF button. The next part I was unaware of until recently. When you open a PDF in the Preview application on your Mac any text is selectable. This means you can copy and paste it.

You can also make a PDF of your web page if you can still see the comments there. But there is a twist with doing it through a browser. what you see in your browser that looks like text may not be text at all. If you used a non standard font and iWeb turned that text into an image you are in trouble. iWeb does this so text using uncommon fonts can be viewed by others that don’t have the font. It might be worth checking this out before your back is against the wall.

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As long as your blog entries are coming up in your browser as text, they will be text in the resulting PDFs. Then you can highlight the text and copy and paste it back into the comments field on your site.

So I made PDFs of each page in iWeb that had comments on them. I then went onto the internet and opened my site in Safari. I went to the appropriate pages and hit the Comment button. One by one I copied and pasted the text back in for each blog entry. A disadvantage to this method is all the new blog entries made this way have today’s date and time on them. To make up for this: I added a line at the bottom of each restored entry stating the original post date and time. So in this way I restored my comments. Not ideal if you have a ton of comments, but until someone figures out a better way this works.

Bottom line. If you want a hedge against loosing comments make PDF of any pages having comments from iWeb. Scroll down and make sure all the comments are there as I had a couple at the bottom be no shows. You can also do this from a browser if they still show there. But check to see if they are an image or text. If they are text you can copy from Preview. If they are getting turned into and image, you might try changing the font to a standard one like Times or Arial-at least for your blog entires. From this point forward I plan to keep PDF backups of any comments-just in case.


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