May 2010 Archives

In the past there have been several events where Movable Type users, hackers and enthusiasts got together to hack/play/tinker with Movable Type.  Unfortunately for us Europeans, most of these events happened on different continents.  I was lucky enough to be attending one of them in New York a few years ago, but I wouldn't mind going to another one that is closer to home...
When faced with a Movable Type blog that is sometimes slow to publish, you could immediately break out the heavy guns and set up some performance logging to try and find out which templates are taking too long to publish.  There is an entire section of the documentation dedicated to this.  But before editing configuration files and starting to pore over logfiles, don't ignore the humble <mt:ignore> tag...
Big kudos to Byrne and Jay at Endevver for releasing their 'Store Front' plugin for Movable Type and Melody.  With this plugin you can turn Movable Type into a shop where you can sell (among other things) physical goods and subscriptions.  It supports Paypal and recurring payments out of the box.  Best of all, it is free and open source.  Although you can always donate if you like the plugin (or need support).
You can read the official announcement here.  There are no new features, but a ton of bugfixes including one for a security vulnerability.  So if you are running any version of Movable Type 5.x it would be a good idea to upgrade.
A tag cloud is a great way of letting new readers know at a glance what your blog is about.  Movable Type ships with a standard tag cloud widget you can easily add to the sidebar of any blog on your installation.  Once you start tagging entries, links to the search results page for each tag will automatically be added to all your entries.  The tag cloud widget will display the most used tags.
In the interest of full disclosure: I am now officially a Six Apart shareholder.  My employee stock options vested some time ago and I excercised them shortly after leaving the company.  Today I got an official letter & certificate in the mail.  I now own an undisclosed number of shares in the company.  Nice.

So you just wrote a cool and informative article on your company blog, but it needs to look like your boss wrote it.  Is there an easy way to change the author of an entry, preferably not involving the direct manipulation of database tables?  Of course there is, but it is hidden away a bit.
Even if you have dabbled in Perl scripting a bit before, writing plugins for Movable Type can seem a bit daunting at first.  Even though there is a step by step guide explaining how to create a Movable Type plugin, you still need to know quite a bit about Perl to make sense of it.  However, what many people don't know is that you can script quite a lot of actions in a Movable Type system without needing to write a full-blown plugin at all.