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October 19, 2009

Movable Type Monday: AssetGallery, Google Wave, SmartTrim, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! This week, we have a handful of new, newly revived, and yet-to-be-released plugins to tell you about. Let’s start with the newly revived AssetGallery. Originally created by Six Apart, it is now being maintained by Endevver Consulting. This release updates the photo gallery plugin to use the latest plugin architecture and fixes the bugs that kept it from working with Movable Type 4.2.

For those that didn’t know, Endevver Consulting is made up of two long-time MT developers: Jay Allen and Byrne Reese. Byrne has been busy this week. Besides AssetGallery, he also released CacheManager. This plugin helps you manage your template module cache, by allowing you to view what’s been cached and clear it out.

And we have one more from Byrne. AutoPrefs allows theme developers to include blog preferences in their themes. This allows themes to do powerful things, like set the default archive type or interact with other plugins via their preferences. This seems very useful for theme designers, since it allows them more control over the environment where their themes run. I wonder, though, how willing users will be to give themes that much control. read more

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October 5, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Zemanta, TypePad Platform, Comment Styling, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! Lots to cover this week, so let’s start with the release of Movable Type 4.32. This is a fairly minor release — no security issues, just a handful of changes. What’s remarkable about this release is the inclusion of the Zemanta plugin. If you’re not familiar with Zemanta, they help you find content on the web related to what you’re writing that you can include in your blog post. The Zemanta plugin has been around for a while, but now it’s being distributed with MT. I can’t recall Six Apart ever bundling a third-party plugin with MT before. Several times they’ve bought popular third-party plugins and made them part of the core — not really an option when the plugin is tied to a web service.

Clearly, this is the product of some kind of partnership between 6A and Zemanta. Since the plugin is open source, 6A can include it in MTOS with no licensing issues. Still, some users have complained. Since it’s tied to a commercial service it smells non-free, even though the plugin is GPL and it functions for free. There are those that feel this plugin should have been limited to the commercial verson of MT, rather than included in MTOS. So far, 6A shows no signs of changing things based on these complaints. read more

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September 28, 2009

Movable Type Monday: New MT5 Beta, Single Sign-On, Easy Install Video, and Theme Tips

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Happy Monday, folks! Movable Type Monday took a break for a couple of weeks, but now we’re back with the latest from the MT community.

First off, there’s a new MT5 beta. Lots of improvements and bug fixes over the previous beta. But, if you haven’t installed it yet, you might just want to wait: I’ve heard that beta 3 is supposed to be released in the next day or two.

Next, Byrne Reese has a new plugin that implements OpenSSO. This allows you to use an OpenSSO server as a single sign-on solution for your MT installation. For more on OpenSSO, see the documentation from Sun.

Need help installing MT?, Sahas Katta has created a video to walk you through the process. His process includes a shell script that does most of the work for you. Thanks, Sahas!

Finally, Tom McGee wrote a post with several tips for customizing MT blogs. Tom’s tips focus on creating custom themes and modifying banner images in default themes. Good information for those less familiar with MT’s current theme system.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

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September 7, 2009

Movable Type Monday: MT 5, Media Manager, SEO

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Happy Monday, folks! Big news this week: Six Apart announced the beta for Movable Type 5. The plan is to have a two month beta period, with the release coming sometime in November. Let’s take a look at some of the big new features in MT 5:

* Websites — MT 5 will have the concept of a website, which includes blogs and pages. This makes it more of a CMS, and makes it much simpler to use MT to maintain your entire site.

* Revision History — Entries, pages, and templates will all maintain a revision history. I’m particularly excited about this feature. The ability to modify templates, and return to previous version, is very useful.

* Custom Fields — Custom fields are now available on more objects and can be imported and exported. Plus, you can map them to a category/folder, so that they only appear if an entry/page is within that category/folder.

* Themes — MT 5 will have a whole new theme engine, which allows the bundling of templates, CSS, images, etc. together as a complete website theme.

…and lots more. MT5 will be a huge change from previous versions, pushing the platform more towards a CMS and further away from being a personal blog engine. We should get more details about these other changes in the coming months. read more

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August 31, 2009

Movable Type Monday: GoogleAnalytics, User Export, DebugMode, and More

Happy Monday, folks! We’re going to start this week with some plugin news. First, Dan Wolfgang has released an update to Better File Uploader that takes advantage of the new Entry Asset Manager in Movable Type 4.3. Better File Uploader is exactly what it says it is — a file uploader for MT that provides more features and a better UI than the built-in one. Get it and see for yourself.

Also this week, Okayama has created a new Google Analytics plugin. This one pulls your data into your blog stats in your dashboard. This sounds very convenient for doing a quick check of your Google Analytics data.

Our last plugin for this week comes from, Byrne Reese. Have you ever wanted to analyze the data MT gathers about your users? Or generate a list of users you could use for a mailing? User Export can do those things. It will export all the data about selected users, including their custom data.

Finally, Beau Smith wrote a tutorial that shows how to use configuration directives — including ones you create yourself — to determine whether comments in your templates get written. This is a clever approach, and I can see it being useful for a variety of task.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

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August 24, 2009

Movable Type Monday: 4.31 Released, Plugin Profiler, Action Streams, and More

Happy Monday, folks! The minor update to Movable Type we talked about last week was released a few days ago. It fixes a number of small bugs, including a problem with the asset manager and custom fields. Be sure to check out the release notes to see everything that was fixed.

We’ve also got a handful of plugins this week. First, Byrne Reese has released the Template Profiler. This plugin will give you data on what’s happening when your index templates are published. Publishing speed is one of those ongoing issues with MT. This tool can help you find bottlenecks in your templates that need to be optimized. read more

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August 17, 2009

Movable Type Monday: 4.31 On The Way, Image Cropper, More Custom Fields

Happy Monday, folks! If you’ve upgraded to Movable Type 4.3, you may have encountered a bug related to custom fields and the new asset manager. A fix has been developed by Six Apart and is currently being tested. The upgrade, 4.31, is expected to be released this week.

In plugin news, Byrne Reese has announced Image Cropper — a new plugin that lets you crop and resize images to make more interesting thumbnails. Be sure to watch the screencast to see how it works — the interface looks very nice.

Finally, Dan Wolfgang has an updated version of his More Custom Fields plugin. This version adds a “Selected Entries” custom field, which can be used for things like custom related entries lists.

What have you done with MT lately? Let us know in the comments.

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August 3, 2009

Movable Type Monday: 4.3 Release, Sharing Your Posts, and More New Features

Happy Monday, folks! Well, it’s here: Movable Type 4.3. Lots of new features and performance enhancements, so you’ll probably want to upgrade to this one. Here’s a summary of what’s new, taken from the official announcement:

  • Performance for all publishing is faster than ever.
  • Your readers can now find content by author or date range (something Google’s site search doesn’t do) with the powerful new search feature.
  • You can create a new site based on an existing one in just a few clicks with smarter blog cloning.
  • Page views can increase by more than 50% with the new flexible pagination for comments and entries (based on the testing of one of our clients.)
  • It’s faster to insert and re-use photos in your posts, and simple to create slide shows, with the most powerful asset manager ever.
  • Documentation is more comprehensive and easy to access than ever before.

Some impressive claims there. I hope after people have had time to kick the tires they’ll let us know how it really performs. read more

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July 27, 2009

Movable Type Monday: 4.3 Features, Documentation, jQuery, and More

Happy Monday, folks! The Movable Type 4.3 beta continues with the third beta release this past week. Lots of bug fixes in this version. The final release is expected some time next week.

Over at MovableType.org, Matt Jacobs has been writing about some of the new features in 4.3. First, he has an explanation of the new entry asset manager. From a usability standpoint, this is a huge improvement over the previous system. And Matt shows how the new system can be used to generate slideshows for the images on each entry.

Matt also has a post about entry pagination in 4.3. With the new pagination system, your first page can be static, while additional pages use MT-Search to generate the results. One of the side effects of this is MT-Search now has some new options, such as searching by author or date. read more

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July 20, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Version Announcement, Twitter Comments, Custom Styles, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! Sorry for the lack of updates last week — I was out of town and didn’t make it back in time for Movable Type Monday. Which was a shame, since we got a couple of pieces of really exciting news. First, the beta for MT 4.3 has begun. A few of the new features include:

  • Entry Pagination via MT-Search
  • Clone a Blog’s Structure Without the Content
  • Comment Pagination
  • Per Entry Asset Management

Plus lots of bug fixes. The new asset management is what interests me the most — it means the end of the awful form tags currently used to associate an image with an entry. If you’re the beta type, download and try it today. read more

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