Broken Images with Blogger, Picasa, and WLW
There’s an issue that will bite you, hard, if you have a *.blogspot.com blog that you post images to using Windows Live Writer, and then later take that blog to a non-blogspot.com domain (either by opting for the FTP publishing option, or through Blogger’s own custom domain hosting). You’ll find that all images that were posted by WLW to Picasa and referenced from blog posts will appear broken.
I’ll describe the cause in detail below, but first, the solution.
- Download and run this tool to repair your old posts. You must save the .exe to your hard drive, not run it right from the browser, or else you’ll get security errors. It’s a good idea to spot-check the first couple of posts it repairs, before letting it rip through all the rest of your posts. (The tool is supplied by me as an individual, not Microsoft; no warranty expressed or implied, use at your own risk, yadda yadda.)
- Open Writer and switch to the Blogger blog in question. Go to Weblog | Edit Weblog Settings | Update Account Configuration. Replace the old *.blogspot.com homepage URL with your new custom domain URL, then step through the wizard.
Going forward on your non-blogspot.com blog, your images will be effectively limited to 800×800. If you have a web host, you can avoid this constraint (and the ever-annoying "clickthrough image downloads instead of displays" problem) by using FTP for image uploads instead. That option is under Weblog | Edit Weblog Settings | Images.
Details after the jump. Buckle up–it’s going to get a little bumpy.
When we upload an image to Picasa, we get a URL back that links straight to that image as originally uploaded. Picasa also offers a myriad of scaled-down sizes for any given image, but since we have already done the image scaling before we upload the image, we really want to link back to the full-size image that we uploaded.
That would be fine, except that Picasa disallows hot-links to the full-size images unless the referring page is on blogspot.com. However, they will allow any page to link to the various scaled-down images. The largest size they offer is 800×800; any image whose width and height are both less than 800 will be returned in its original size, but anything larger will be proportionally reduced to fit within 800×800.
For *.blogspot.com users, Writer will use the full-size image link. But if you’re using a Blogger blog whose homepage URL doesn’t match *.blogspot.com, it will use the 800×800 thumbnail link instead (by appending ?imgmax=800).
If you were able to follow all that, it should be clear why migrating from foo.blogspot.com to foo.com presents a problem. First, we can’t magically fix all your old image references. (That’s Step 1.) Second, we don’t magically know that you have switched to foo.com and thus we should use 800×800 thumbnails for future posts. (That’s Step 2.)
Really advanced Blogger users may be wondering whether this is a problem with images you upload through the Blogger web interface–after all, those pictures end up on Picasa as well. The answer is no. Although Blogger images appear in Picasa albums, they are served up from dedicated servers that have more lenient rules. It would be great if Writer could access those same servers and get the same behavior as Blogger images, but that seems unlikely to happen.
Filed under: Blogger, Windows Live Writer | 26 Comments