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December 16, 2008

Six Apart Announces Motion: Roll Your Own Social Network with Movable Type

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Screenshot of a Motion social network

Screenshot of a Motion social network

A few hours ago, Six Apart announced a new social networking application: Motion. Built on top of Movable Type, Motion is billed as a DIY social network, as well as an aggregator for content from around the web. Motion allows you to create your own microblogging community with a simple posting interface for quickly blogging images, video, links, and more. It uses the Action Streams plugin to aggregate your users’ content from other social networks onto their profile page. And it supports Google Friend Connect, Facebook Connect and OpenID for signing in to comment.

I had an opportunity to try out a private beta of Motion. I have not installed the public beta that was released yesterday, so I can’t say what, if anything, has changed from what I tried. It was definitely a beta, so I wouldn’t advise putting it into production. I would suggest playing with it, though — this product has a lot of potential. read more

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December 15, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Pagination, Template Sets, Plugin Installation, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! Since it is a Monday, let’s start things off with some complaints about Movable Type. Phil Gyford wrote a detailed piece on some of the annoying things he’s dealt with in MT. The great thing about Phil’s post is that he doesn’t just complain about MT, he explains how he worked around its issues. Hopefully this post will help others that have dealt with the same things, and inspire new enhancements to MT.

Now, let’s see what else is new in the MT community.

Plugins

Assetylene — Written by Brad Choate, Assetylene lets you customize the markup used to insert an asset into a post. If that sounds familiar to you, it should: Jay Allen wrote a similar plugin. Great minds think alike. If anybody’s tried both, let us know which you prefer and why. read more

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December 8, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Pownce, Notifications, HashMT, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! I’m sure by now you’ve heard the big news: Six Apart bought Pownce. The Pownce team will join 6A, and the Pownce service will shut down. It’s a shame they’re closing the site — it had some really nice features. Hopefully, we’ll see some of those social networking and microblogging features show up in a future version of Movable Type.

Speaking of MT versions, MT 4.23 — the security fix that I told you was coming over a month ago — has finally been released. This is just a security fix, so it should be an easy upgrade. If you’re using the community templates, though, you will need to update those. read more

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December 1, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Archive Uploader, Action Streams, Disemvoweller, and More

Happy Monday, folks! Before I get into this week’s news, I wanted to mention a blog post written by Chris Alden, Chairman and CEO of Six Apart, a little over a week ago. In it, Chris discusses the effects a US recession will have on blogging. His theory is that a down economy will encourage people to “invest in themselves,” which will mean spending more time blogging.

Whether or not Chris is right remains to be seen, but if he is, it should affect more than just blogging. Most blog theme and plugin creators are independent developers. Investing in themselves means creating more designs and writing more code. If Chris’s theory holds we should see a lot of new blog tools in the coming months.

Speaking of which…

Plugins

Archive UploaderToI Planning released ArchiveUploader, which allows you to upload a zip, gzip, or tar archive of files to load into the Asset Manager. This is a great tool when you’ve got several pictures to upload to your blog. read more

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November 24, 2008

Movable Type Monday: TypePad Connect, vpod.tv, Layout Switching, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! The biggest Movable Type-related news this week was the release of TypePad Connect, a service from Six Apart that combines a Disqus-style comment system with MyBlogLog-like profiles. TypePad profiles extend the existing TypeKey service and allow you to connect it with your other social networking sites, turning it into a lifestream of sorts. TypePad comments supports OpenID login and has TypePad anti-spam built in. TypePad Connect will integrate with any MT blog, and it works with other blogging systems as well. More features are on the way, including the ability to import comments into your existing comment system.

I’ll admit, I’ve never personally seen a need for a hosted commenting system like this, but Disqus has become quite popular, and now 6A is entering the market. Have you had any experience with one of these systems? Let us know in the comments.

Plugins

vpod.tv — Six Apart Europe announced the release of a plugin that integrates vpod.tv into your MT blog. With this plugin you can upload video to your site and have it published on vpod.tv. The press release makes it sound like it should be available now, but I haven’t found it available for download anywhere. read more

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November 17, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Layoffs, Plugins, Screencasts, and More

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Let’s get the bad news out of the way: In an effort to reorganize and cut their expenses, Six Apart is laying off 8% of their employees. Hopefully, those affected will get back on their feet quickly. The thing to watch is whether this slows development of Movable Type and how it impacts community involvement and documentation efforts.

Speaking of our community, let’s see what folks have been up to this week:

Plugins

ToI Planning released several plugins last week. Their descriptions in the Plugins directory are lacking in details, but from ToI Planning’s website and trying the plugins myself, I think I’ve figured them out. read more

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November 10, 2008

Movable Type Monday: White Space, Logging, and Documentation

Happy Monday, folks! I don’t know about you, but I sure was glad to see the U.S. elections finally come to an end. Of course, considering the past election season lasted almost 2 years, it may have finished just in time for the mid-term election season to begin!

I bring this up in order to share a bit of MT Presidential trivia: Both current President Bush (in 2004) and President-Elect Obama (in 2008) used Movable Type for their campaign blogs. Perhaps that will give them something to chat about as they are preparing for the transition of power.

Alright, enough politics, let’s get down to business.

This week, Brad Choate posted a proposal for trimming white space in templates. I love this idea, and hope it gets implemented soon. When you’re writing complex templates, it’s easy to have long blocks where all you’re doing is setting the values of MT variables. When your page gets published, you end up with lots of empty space. As an occasional Ruby on Rails programmer, I like the proposed implementation — the syntax is similar to that used in ERB templates. read more

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November 3, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Profanity Filters, Blog Link, and Speed Improvements

Happy Monday, folks! I have to say, in the short time I’ve been doing these updates, I’ve received a great response from the Movable Type community. If there’s any way I can make MT Monday more useful for you, or if you know of a blog or website I should feature here, please let me know.

Now, on with the news!

Plugins

WebPurify & Mouthwash — Commenters must be getting particurly vulgar lately, since two profanity filters were released this week. WebPurify uses an online service for its filter, while Mouthwash — written by Dan Wolfgang — leaves it up to you to build your own list of bad words. read more

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October 27, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Publish Queue Manager, ShareThis, Security Issue

Happy Monday, folks! We told you last time about this being Movable Type’s 7th birthday. The celebration concludes this week with a huge party at MT HQ. If you’re going to be in San Francisco, don’t miss it.

But before the party starts, we’ve got work to do. On with the MT news!

Plugins

MinifierHirotaka Ogawa released Minifier, which adds block tags for minifying CSS and JavaScript. If your CSS and JS files are already templates in your blog, this shouldn’t take you more than two minutes to set up and should significantly reduce download time for those files. read more

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October 20, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Photo Gallery, Custom Search, Happy Birthday

Happy Monday, folks, and a happy 7th birthday to Movable Type. Looking back through my old blog posts, it looks like I’ve been using MT for about 5.5 of those years. I remember that first installation well — I converted from my hand-rolled system to MT in the hallways of the Austin Convention Center during my first SXSW. There were some hiccups, but I was happy with the results and I’ve been using MT for various projects ever since.

While we wait for someone to bring us some birthday cake, let’s see what’s been going on in the Movable Type Community.

Plugins

MT-NotifierChad Everett released an update to MT-Notifier, a popular plugin which notifies users of new posts, new comments, and more. read more

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