This week saw an incredible amount of activity in the Movable Type community with a slew of new plugins (including new plugins for Action Streams) and tutorials (including a couple of pagination, an oft-requested feature!). By far the biggest was Six Apart’s announcement of TypePad Antispam as well as the rechristening of the next version of Movable Type as Movable Type 4.2.
There’s never been a better time to be a Movable Type user, welcome to Movable Type Monday!
TypePad Antispam: TechCrunch wrote a review of this new Akismet competitor as well as announcing that they had switched from Akismet to TypePad Antispam and were experiencing better results. ProBlogger reports the same! Six Apart’s new service, unlike Akismet, is completely open source (from the plugins available for both Movable Type and WordPress to the backend engine that powers the service) and free for all users. When commenters expressed skepticism, Chris Alden, CEO of Six Apart, replied by pointing to Six Apart’s track record and called for people to not judge them by one mistake committed four years ago!
MTOS Community Updates
First lets start with all the fabulous new plugins released this week!
Action Stream Plugins: I’m a huge fan of the Action Streams which allows you to setup a more powerful version of FriendFeed within Movable Type. The beauty of the Action Streams plugin is its potential, plugins for Action Streams allow it to work with any service that launches. This week saw the release of a number of new plugins for Action Streams including:
Amazon Music Wishlist is another Action Streams plugin by John Eckman and allows you to display new CDs added to your Amazon.com wishlist along with grabbing a thumbnail of the Album Art! John has a complete list of all his Action Stream plugins, along with updates on his website, fantastic stuff!
XRDS Simple: Steve Ivy released a new plugin to bring XRDS Simple Service discovery to MTOS. He presents it as a compliment to the Action Streams plugin as many services are now providing XRDS Simple feeds to aggregate activity.
OpenID Plugins: As Byrne Reese writes, Movable Type Open Source 4.2 is one of the first blogging platforms to support the new OpenID 2.0 protocol. One of the cool things about OpenID support in Movable Type is its ability to work with any OpenID endpoint, all you need is a simple one-file plugin. Byrne released Yahoo! OpenID today which allows you to log into to comment with MTOS using your Yahoo! username. Other similar plugins include the WordPress OpenID Plugin also by Byrne Reese and AIM OpenID Plugin by Minh Nguyễn.
Easy Video Embedding: Emiliano Bruni launched a cool new plugin which should make embedding video a piece of cake. MTVideoEmbedding introduces a new button to MTOS’s entry editor and allows you to embed videos through a simple BBCode like tag. Check out the description and screenshots!.
EmoticonButton: A new plugin by Six Apart Japan employee Fumiaki Yoshimatsu adds a new button to MTOS’s entry editor and allows you to easily add spice up your entries with emoticons! Check out the screenshots for a better look at how this plugin works!
BuildTime: The next version of Movable Type is all about speed! BuildTime helps you analyze how long it takes to build pages of the MTOS administrative UI and will undoubtedly be useful for system administrators!
TidyTags: Although not technically a plugin, I hope Beau will forgive me for including it under this header! Movable Type 4 introduced a new, more readable format for its template tags and I’ve always lamented the lack of an easy way of converting old templates to the new format! TidyTags finally scratches that itch and is a new command line tool that allows you to easily your template tag formats! Beau provides some examples of how to use it.
Many members of the MTOS community also published a number of great new tutorials to help you get the most out of Movable Type Open Source:
Pagination: Jesse Gardner published an article that summarizes the options available to MTOS users who wish to paginate their content (i.e. spread it over multiple pages). Shortly after he published his article, Six Apart published a new page in the documentation which highlighted an experimental new feature in MT4.2: Pagination in Dynamic Publishing.
Advanced Archive Widgets: I’ve always been jealous of how Anil Dash displays his archives on his blog, I’ve never quite been able to figure it out! Thankfully, Beau Smith spills the beans and not only gives us the snippet of code, but holds our hand and painstakingly explains it, line-by-line. Thanks Beau!
Review of MTOS 4.1: Although not technically a tutorial, it is not often that you find a fair and balanced review of blogging platforms – especially Movable Type – which is why I felt compelled to highlight linux.com’s recent review of MTOS 4.1. Darius O. Martin looks at all aspects of MTOS, from it’s interface to how composing and publishing works, and concludes:
Having tried both platforms, I found MT to be a clever and capable alternative to other blogging platforms, but also, software that created a niche of its own. In the end, using one blogging platform over another is a question of personal taste or a matter of fulfilling some needs. If you have to set up many functional blogs in a limited amount of time, Movable Type is the tool you need.
Hopefully we will see less fuss online about which tool people use and more energy geared towards getting more people blogging!
MTOS Beta Test Updates
Movable Type 4.2 Release Candidate: Byrne Reese posted a lengthy post announcing the release candidate of MTOS 4.2. For the first time, we’re presented with definitive proof of the speed increases found in MTOS 4.2 (over 100x faster in some cases!) as well as a complete list of all the new features including built in support for Six Apart’s new TypePad Antispam service and a vast number of contributions from the MTOS community:
In truth Movable Type 4.2 has seen the largest number of contributions, both big and small, than any other release in Movable Type’s history.
Six Apart has posted a known issues list and announced that the final version of MTOS 4.2 will be issued in the next few weeks once it has been thoroughly tested against all databases it supports!