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April 28, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Comment Authors, Stock Quotes, Github, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! We have some new Movable Type plugins to tell you about, plus some documentation to help you operate your MT blog better.

Comment Author Context — This plugin, from Six Apart employee Brad Choate, allows you to use the various author-related template tags to output information about a commenter. This can be especially useful if you’re wanting to use custom fields in your comment section.

Stock Quotes — Are you a business blogger? If so, this plugin might be for you. Based on the content of your post, it suggests stock quotes you might want to include. The ticker symbols will link back to Wikinvest, makers of the plugin.

Github Action Streams — In case you don’t know, Github is a source code repository provider. With this plugin, created by Brendan O’Connor, you can add your actions on Github to your Action Stream.

Finally, Byrne Reese has added another chapter to the Movable Type Open Source Operations Manual. This chapter covers the MT Publish Queue, and how to use it to reduce redundant publishing, offload publishing jobs to another server, and speed up commenting. Lots of good information here.

What have you done with Movable Type this week? Let us know in the comments.

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April 21, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Comment via Twitter and .htaccess Hacks

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Happy Monday, folks! First up this week, Mark Carey has released a plugin that allows you to comment on Movable Type blogs using your Twitter account. A user can sign into your blog using their Twitter username and password, and they can post their comments to Twitter. I’m particularly glad to see an oAuth version is coming soon, which will remove the need to have users log in on your site.

Also this week, Mark Kolich wrote a post with 10 .htaccess hacks for Movable Type. Mark has collected some very useful tips here for increasing both the speed and security of your site. Plus, many of them can be used no matter what powers your website.

That’s it for this week. What have you done with Movable Type lately? Tell us in the comments.

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April 14, 2009

Movable Type Monday: CSS, Template Tags, and Reblogging

Happy Monday, folks! This week, we have three new plugins to talk about, so let’s get right to it.

Reblog — A few years back there was a reblogging plugin that was part of the eyebeam reBlog software. That one was never updated to work with Movable Type 4. Now, Six Apart has released a brand new Reblog plugin. This one reads Atom and RSS feeds and creates entries for each one. This is particularly useful if you post to multiple blogs and want to pull all those entries to one site.

UnrecognizedTags — This is another Six Apart plugin. This plugin adds an option to the Tools menu that allows you to check all your templates for unrecognized template tags. This is something you’ll want to run after an upgrade, or when moving old templates to a new install. That way, you’ll know if your templates reference a tag from a plugin that’s not installed.

Custom CSS — And finally, another plugin from Byrne Reese. Custom CSS gives you a simpler way to edit the CSS for your blog. With this plugin you don’t have to change any templates or change your core CSS stylesheets just to change the style of your blog. Thanks, Byrne!

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

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April 7, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Etelos Partnership, Plugin Development, HTML Tidy, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! We talk a lot here about making Movable Type easier for customers to install. Many have hoped that MT would start showing up in some of the “one-button install” systems available to hosting providers. We’re starting to see that happen, most recently on the Etelos Marketplace. These kinds of easy installs go a long way in convincing businesses to give MT a try.

A couple of useful things this week for plugin developers. First, if you’re new to plugin development, David Raynes has started a series of posts on plugin writing 101. This looks to be especially useful if you have some Perl experience, but aren’t sure where to start with MT.

Also, for more advanced developers, Six Apart released their unit test suite for plugin development. To learn how to use the test module, check out the first full tutorial in David Rayne’s series.

Speaking of plugins, we’ve got some new ones to tell you about:

Tidings — Also from Six Apart, Tidings is a content filter based on HTML Tidy. You can use it to clean up HTML, XHTML, and more. It can be especially useful for ensuring user-submitted code doesn’t break your site.

SyntaxHighlighter — For those of you that blog about programming, this will definitely come in handy. Written by Makoto Kawasaki, this plugin lets you post syntax highlighted code.

MediaURLs — This plugin, created by Scott Boms, makes it easier to take advantage of separate domains and subdomains for different media files. This is an important technique for speeding up page loading, so it’s nice to see a plugin to simplify the practice.

What have you done with Movable Type this week? Let us know in the comments.

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March 30, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Motion, Plugins, Hash Tags, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! First, I’d like to kick things off with a blog post that generated a lot of discussion this week. Designer and developer Mike T. wrote about the many things that frustrate him with the current state of MT. Whether you agree with him or not, he brings up some important points, and generates some interesting conversations in the comments.

For another critical look at MT, check out Ken Edwards’ first impressions of Motion. Ken discusses some of the pros and cons of upgrading to a Motion-style site. read more

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March 23, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Motion Launch and Password Protection Tutorial

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Happy Monday, folks! The big news this week is the official launch of Motion, Six Apart’s social networking application built on top of Movable Type. Motion is included with MT Pro 4.25, so if you have a license for MT Pro you can grab the new version now.

With Motion, you can pull content from multiple social networks as well as create a community of bloggers on your own site. Motion is designed for a variety of uses, including private aggregation of content based on keywords, publishing a moderated version of that content, and setting up your own social network.

We told you about Motion back in December, and we’ll have a more in-depth look at the release version later this week. For now, check out the official announcement and let us know what you think in the comments. read more

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March 16, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Operations Manual, Plugin Updates, Desktop Blog Software, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! I hope you enjoyed last week’s interview with Byrne Reese. Byrne is back this week with the creation of an open source operations manual. The goal of the project is to create a set of best practices for installing, running, and maintaining Movable Type. Byrne is looking for collaborators, so if you have experience managing MT, consider getting involved.

Plugins

Stop Design Photo Gallery — More from Byrne Reese. This is the set of original templates from the Photo Gallery plugin. As mentioned previously, it’s been spun off into its own plugin for those that want to keep that design rather than the new Mid-Century templates. read more

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March 9, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Motion, Action Streams, Apture, Interview, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! Today, we have a special treat — an interview with Byrne Reese, an independent consultant that’s done a lot of exciting work with Movable Type. Byrne will be talking with us about some of his recent projects, including his recent upgrades to the Photo Gallery plugin. But first, let’s catch up on what’s been going on in the MT community.

This week, Six Apart released the third release candidate of Motion, the social application built on top of MT 4.25. This release primarily addresses the same issues as MT 4.24 — it includes the security fix and the new password recovery system. Word is we’re getting very close to a final release. read more

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March 2, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Food Blogs, Custom Fields, and Movable Type 4.24

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Happy Monday, folks! The big news this week is the release of Movable Type 4.24. Both a security and a feature release, this version is considered a mandatory upgrade. Here are a few details you should know, straight from the official announcement:

  • Release Type: Security Release. This update fixes a serious potential vulnerability which has not yet been exploited in the wild.
  • Mandatory? Yes, this is a mandatory security upgrade.
  • Performance Implications: None.
  • Plugins Affected: None. Your current plugins should continue to work as expected.
  • Templates Affected: None.
  • System Requirements: This release has no new or additional system requirements.
  • Licensing considerations: None. MT 4.24 is a free update for users of any version of MT 4.x.
  • Upgrade Fatigue: No further mandatory updates are planned for Movable Type 4.2.

read more

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February 23, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Proposals, Affiliates, Themes, and More

Happy Monday, folks! We’re going to start this week with something that’s probably a little too “under the hood” for most people, but indulge me for a moment. On the Movable Type wiki, developers are discussing a proposal to refactor the variable tags in MT. Sure, it’s not flashy stuff, but if you’re a developer interested in how improvements are made to open source projects, proposals like this are interesting to read.

Now, on to the plugins!

BlogShow — This Flash photo slideshow sports an impressive selection of features, including keyboard navigation and cross-platform support. Created by ITDR, the download available in the plugin directory is a trial version that can be used for up to five galleries.

Yandex OpenIDAndrey Serebryakov continues to make MT more useful to Russian bloggers. This time, he’s added support for logging in using a Yandex account, the largest Russian web portal.

Automatix LightBox — This plugin makes it easier than ever to add Lightbox functionality to your blog posts. Submitted by Mixel Adm, the instructions say just install, upload, and rebuild.

EchoCurrent Affiliate Product Optimizer — EchoCurrent is designed to show your readers affiliate products selected specifically for them. Created by Mike Ruggieri, this plugin will make it easy to put an “APO Zone” anywhere on your blog.

Photo Gallery — Last week, we discussed the changes Byrne Reese was making to his Photo Gallery plugin. Well now he’s got a release out. The old templates have been replaced by the new theme, and there’s even an upgrade script for people still using the 1.0 version of Photo Gallery.

Finally, the CMR Movable Type Styles Blog has a new template set: iNove. Based on a WordPress theme, this comes in both Classic Blog and Professional Blog versions.

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

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