I had a Blogspot blog containing hundreds of posts. I wanted to add an Archives page that would give me a dynamically generated (i.e., automatically updated) list of posts within that blog. Unfortunately, Blogspot did not seem to offer anything like the simple archives shortcode available to WordPress bloggers. Even after some extensive searching, I was unable to find a simple way that actually worked in my case. A question about this generated no immediate responses. (Later, it did produce a response, but one that seemed complex at my ability level.) Instead, while I was screwing around, I managed to wipe out my template, only to discover that it was apparently no longer available for reconstruction. Fortunately, I had a backup.
At some point, I more or less gave up in disgust. Then I realized that there might be another way. Two other ways, actually. One would be to use my XML backup of the blog to try to create a new copy of it on WordPress, where I could use the archives shortcode. But that is not the path I chose. It probably would have been OK if I did delete the Blogger account, except that deleting it would have meant losing whatever links or word-of-mouth advertising I was getting. Not that it mattered financially; I just liked to see that people were finding my work useful.
I had stopped adding new material to that Blogger post two years earlier, anticipating that Google might eventually drop the ball in the blog hosting area, as it had done in other areas. Lately, the news seemed to be saying that that time was approaching — that Google was cutting back on numerous projects. I hoped that at least the blog would remain in place for a while longer. As long as I didn’t try to change anything, perhaps I wouldn’t need support or features from it.
I wondered, in other words, whether I could make do with a static, manually generated list of posts in the blog. Granted, a completely manual list of more than 500 posts could take a while to create. But when I say “manual,” I mean something that would not be automatically generated or updated. I don’t mean necessarily typing it all out by hand.
So here is the approach I took. I went into Blogger’s list of my posts. For the blog in question, within that list, I chose Posts > All. This gave me a list of posts. I was able to set that page to display 100 posts at a time. I highlighted the information related to the individual posts (i.e., not the webpage header or other extraneous material). I copied and pasted that material (Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V) to a Microsoft Word 2010 file. I added the next 100 posts, and so forth, until I had copied that material for them all.
I made a copy of the Word document. I also printed a copy to PDF, to preserve its information about the numbers of page views per post, just in case I was ever curious about that. Then I deleted unnecessary columns. This left me with just the column containing the title and tags for each post and the date when it was posted. To separate out the title and tags in more readable form, I pasted the contents of the Word doc into a blank WordPress blog post in Visual view, switched to viewing it in HTML, copied that HTML code into a Notepad .txt file, and opened that text file in Excel, manually removing all of its guesses as to where data columns might break. I inserted an Index number column to remember the original order of rows, re-sorted to isolate and eliminate large numbers of unimportant HTML codes, did search-and-replace operations to the same end, and used various Excel functions to produce the desired HTML. Finally, I posted it into a blank Archives page in Blogger. The resulting page gave me the desired list.