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Movable Type Monday: Zemanta, TypePad Platform, Comment Styling, and More

Movable Type Monday: Zemanta, TypePad Platform, Comment Styling, and More

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.

Six Apart had another major announcement this week: The launch of the TypePad Platform. This doesn’t have anything to do with MT, but it seems significant enough to mention. 6A is turning TypePad into a cloud platform for other developers to build services. As an example of how to use this new platform, they also released TypePad Motion, which is a microblogging app built with some of the code from Pownce — the microblogging service 6A bought, then shut down. It will be interesting to see what kind of applications get built on this new platform.

Now, let’s check out some new plugins:

ImageInfo 2 — This plugin, based on an older plugin by the same name, lets you extract and display the EXIF data from digital photos. Author Madjack has full documentation in both Russian and English on his website.

SearchEkko — You’ve probably seen blogs that do this: When you visit them from a search engine, the page knows where you came from and what you searched for. SearchEkko — written by Noah Austen Ready-Campbell — does this, and shows the user other entries related to their search.

AddThis — AddThis makes it easy for your visitors to submit your post to sites like Digg, Reddit, Twitter, and more. And this plugin makes it easy to add AddThis to your site.

Full Screen Mode — I don’t know about you, but I find the template edit forms in MT awfully cramped. Byrne Reese must feel that way as well, because he’s written a plugin that lets you expand those text boxes to full screen. Thanks, Byrne!

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We also have a couple of new tips this week. First, Toronto Mike shows us how to style author comments. As Mike shows, MT makes this really easy — though you’d be surprised how many people don’t know author’s can comment from the MT admin.

And finally, Serdar Yegulalp provides a tutorial on doing “library-style” alphabetization of your posts. This means it will ignore articles such as “A” and “The” and sort based on the first “important” word of the title. This is a great way to organize book and movie reviews.

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

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