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November 16, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Gravatar, ooVoo, and Farsi

Filed as Features with 1 comment

Happy Monday, folks! This week, we’ve got some new Movable Type plugins in the Plugins Directory. First, though, for those of you that want to keep up with the MT community, check out the excellent Twitter list assembled by Ken Edwards. Follow that list for constant updates from the MT crowd.

Now, for this week’s new plugins:

ooVoo Web Video Chat Room — The ooVoo service lets you video chat with up to six people at a time. This plugin makes it easy to embed an ooVoo chat room into any page of your site. It includes some basic settings for controlling the size and look of the chat.

Gravatar for Movable Type — Most people are familiar with the universal avatar service Gravatar — we use it here, in fact. This plugin, from Makoto Kawasaki, adds Gravatars to the comments on your blog.

Movable Type Farsi — This one is for the Farsi-speaking bloggers. Created by Pouya Salimi, the plugin expands MT’s support for right-to-left writing. It also adds a Farsi Calendar, Farsi tags, and a Farsi version of the Professional Pack Template Set.

That’s it for this week. Got some MT news for us? Let us know in the comments.

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November 2, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Comment Flag, Breadcrumbs, Catalyst, and More

Filed as Features with 4 comments

Happy Monday, folks! It’s November, which means the release of Movable Type 5 is just around the corner. We should be seeing a release candidate build soon. Until then, let’s take a look at some plugins, themes, and cool tricks for the existing verison.

First, Mike T. from Code Monkey Ramblings has a new MT theme: Dark Marble. Based on a WordPress theme by the same name, Mike says he should have a version that supports the professional website templates soon.

Mike also has two new plugins. Comment Flag lets users report comments to you via email. The plugin uses jQuery so that the interaction is seamless for the user.

Mike’s other new plugin is Executable File Filter. It checks whether uploaded files are executable binaries or PHP scripts and renames them so they can’t be run. read more

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October 26, 2009

WordPress.org Adds Crowdsourced Compatibility Check

WordPress.org has added a crowdsourced (beta) compatibility check for plugins. Every user can now report whether a plugin works with a certain (or upcoming) version of WordPress.

wp-compatibility-check

Above the results for the WordPress.com stats plugin and the 2.9 branch (pre-beta votes?).

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October 19, 2009

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

Filed as Features with 2 comments

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

Filed as Features with 1 comment

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 7, 2009

Movable Type Monday: MT 5, Media Manager, SEO

Filed as Features with 5 comments

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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July 21, 2009

The GPL and Themes/Plugins

HeckertThis is a continuation of the Blog Herald’s Guide to the GPL License series. You can read part one and part two here.

One of the more common misconceptions about the GPL is that it is “viral” in nature and can “infect” any software that touches it.

While it is true that the GPL does have a viral component, it is only to ensure that derivative works based upon GPLed code are also released to the GPL. It is possible, and even common, for GPL applications and proprietary ones to co-exist side by side. For example, there are many proprietary programs, including Skype and MyDropBox, that run on Linux, which is GPLed.

However, when one delves into plugins and and themes, something of a gray area begins to emerge. Though a WordPress theme, for example, might not be based upon a GPL theme, it relies upon a GPL application to function. As such, it has been widely held that they are GPL-licensed, even if they haven’t been explicitly licensed as such. read more

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