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January 5, 2009

Movable Type Monday: Custom Header, jQuery, ImageMagick, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! First off, I’m sorry there was no Movable Type Monday last week. Seemed like most of the community had taken off for the holidays, so I decided to hold what I had for an extra week. But now it’s a new year and there’s lots of new stuff to talk about.

Plugins

Custom HeaderByrne Reese put out a new plugin for uploading and customizing the header image on your blog. Custom Header handles the whole process of uploading, cropping, and positioning your banner image. This will be great for personalizing template sets, and it modifying an existing template set to use this plugin looks very straightforward.

Share — This plugin lets you add an “email to a friend” form to your blog posts. Created by Dan Wolfgang, Share is customizable and works with MT’s junk filters. Thanks, Dan!

Tips & Tutorials

Besides his Share plugin, Dan also recently wrote instructions for using his Poll Position plugin with jQuery. Poll Position lets you add polls to your blog. I’m a huge jQuery fan, so I’m glad to see Dan write this up.

Beau Smith wrote improved installation instructions for the Action Streams plugin. Looking at Beau’s method, it seems odd Action Streams isn’t set up this way to begin with. Glad somebody explained the right way to do it.

Writer Susan McNerney posted instructions on changing your banner image. It’s clear that Susan was frustrated by how much trouble it was to change her banner. Sounds like she needed Byrne’s Custom Header plugin.

Over at TMCnet, Tom Keating out does himself, writing a tutorial that offers several things one can do with MT assets. He starts with listing recent image assets linked to entries, then creates a related entries widget that includes images, and finally shows how to add images to the FastSearch plugin. Thanks, Tom!

Finally, John Walker describes how to install Image::Magick on CentOS 5.2 for your Movable Type blog. His instructions may not be limited to MT, but since ImageMagick is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to install for any blog platform, I wanted to share his instructions.

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

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December 22, 2008

Movable Type Monday: Motion, Facebook Connect, Premium Themes, and More

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Happy Monday, folks! Lots of buzz this week over Six Apart announcing Motion, a new microblogging application built on Movable Type. We had a first look at Motion here, and while it’s still in beta and has some bugs, it has potential to be a very useful social networking application.

Besides Motion, a few other things were released for MT this week: read more

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December 17, 2008

Premium MT Themes: An Interview with iThemes Co-Founder, Cory Miller

iThemes

This is turning out to be a busy week in the Movable Type world. On Monday, Six Apart released Motion, their social networking application built on MT. Then on Tuesday, iThemes — maker of premium WordPress themes — announced the opening of their MT themes store. The availability of themes is one area where MT lags way behind WP. This is especially true when it comes to premium themes. That’s why it’s exciting to see vendors move into the MT themes market.

Yesterday I got in touch with Cory Miller, co-founder of iThemes, to ask him a couple of questions about the premium theme business and his company’s jump into the MT market. read more

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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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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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