Movable Type Monday: Action Streams, FriendFeed, Greyhound, RC3

Filed as Features on June 30, 2008 11:12 pm

This past week saw another round of incredible plugins being released with the majority focussed on integrating your Movable Type blog with third party services including FriendFeed, action stream plugins for BrightKite, Seesmic and Sporepedia! The bi-weekly Movable Type Conference Call was also held and featured updates about upcoming and future releases. Release Candidate 3 of the next version of Movable Type (and public betas of the Commercial and Community Solutions) was also released last week.

Welcome to Movable Type Monday!

Movable Type Community Updates

Seesmic for MT: Seesmic, an innovative “video conversation” service has released a new plugin for Movable Type that allows readers to record and post video comments. The Seesmic Wiki has more information on how to integrate the plugin more closely with your site. It will be interesting to see how popular video comments become!

Yves Luther also followed up and released an action streams plugin for Seesmic.

BrightKite Action Stream: Another plugin from from Yves Luther brings BrightKite actions to Movable Type’s Action Streams plugin. BrightKite is a relatively new location-based network and Yves’ plugin allows you to display your checkins, photos and messages with the service on your blog.

Sporepedia Action Stream: Richard Benson released an action stream plugin for Spore – what appears to be the start of a new creature-based game! Currently, Spore allows you to create a variety of creatures and Richard’s plugin allows you to display them in your action stream! Fascinating!

FriendFeed Comments: Mark Carey, one of the leading plugin developers for Movable Type, released FriendFeed Comments, a new plugin that allows you to display comments from FriendFeed on your entries. Mark not only provides screenshots of the plugin in action but even has a live demo available! The plugin appears to be free but you have to register with Mark’s site first.

Custom Asset Markup: Veteran Movable Type developer, Jay Allen, released two plugins last week. The first was born through discussions in the #movabletype IRC chatroom and the MTOS-dev mailing list and tackles a problem many users faced. When adding an asset (an image, video or any file) to an entry, Movable Type wraps it with markup that is near impossible to customize (this leads to customization problems as Jay elaborates). Jay’s plugin gives users an easy way to customize this inserted markup using Movable Type’s built in templating system!

Log4MT: A plugin that’ll undoubtedly make plugin developers happy, Log4MT brings the powerful Log4Perl framework to Movable Type allowing you to debug your code, handle exceptions and send notifications in a much easier way. As a plugin developer, I’m definitely looking forward to play around with it. Thanks Jay!

MailChimp Signup Form: MailChimp is an email marketing service and their plugin for Movable Type allows you to add the MailChimp signup form to your blog with a simple drag and drop process. A step-by-step guide, with accompanying screenshots, is provided.

Lixtal: A plugin targeted towards Scandinavian bloggers calculates the readability index of your entry to give you an understanding of how well your writing corresponds to your audience. This plugin sounds intriguing, I’d be really interested to see a similar plugin that analyses English!

Bi-Weekly Phone Call

Every two weeks, Six Apart hosts a phone call with, and open to, the entire Movable Type community. Notes and a podcast of last week’s call have been posted for anyone unable to attend. Topics included an update about Movable Type 4.2 with a release in late July being announced (to give the large changes introduced in this release to be better tested). Byrne Reese, product manager for Movable Type, also elaborated on the planning for the next-next version of Movable Type, codenamed Greyhound. Finally, consultant and community member Dave Aiello sparked a good discussion on making the case to clients to upgrade to 4.2 as well as enhancements to template editing.

A tentative agenda for the next call, scheduled for July 9, has been posted and includes

  • Improving Transparency
  • The process of deprecation
    • IP Banning
    • Template Tags
    • Timelines
    • Notifications

Movable Type 4.2 Beta Test

The third release candidate for Movable Type 4.2 was released last week along public betas for the Professional Pack, which includes the Universal Template Set and Custom Fields functionality, and Community Solution, which, among many things, allows your readers to easily submit entries and even includes a template set to turn your Movable Type blog into forums!

As mentioned in the call, the release of Movable Type 4.2 was pushed back until late July such that the large number of low-level changes (introduced to improve performance) could be better tested. In preparation for the release, documentation is being swiftly improved!

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