RightFields 1.21

Spam Prevention

TinyTuring 1.02

Template Tags

CheckLinks 1.2

Collect 1.2

Columnize 1.11

Compare 1.1

DateTags 2.3

DaylightOrStandard 1.1

DropCap 1.1

FilterCategories 1.1

FirstNWords 1.3

GetXML 1.1

Glue 1.1

IfModified 1.4

Loop 1.1

TextWrap 1.1

September 20, 2007

TinyTuring and MT 4

I expected to have to update TinyTuring to work with Movable Type 4.0, but I just upgraded to MT 4 and tried posting a comment, and it seems to work fine. Please let me know if you try it and encounter any problems.

I do plan to update TinyTuring to use MT 4's new "CAPTCHA Provider" framework at some point.

August 8, 2007

RightFields 1.21 - Bug Fix Release

If you've installed RightFields 1.2, please upgrade to 1.21. This version fixes two small but significant bugs, one a Date field interface problem and the other a rebuilding error with MTEntries in certain cases.

July 28, 2007

RightFields 1.2 Released

I've released RightFields 1.2. Download it here.

You can read this entry to find out about what's new in this version, and future plans for the plugin. This forum topic has more a more detailed list of features and changes.

Many thanks to all who helped test the beta versions!

July 21, 2007

Installing Movable Type: The Quick Way

Reading some recent discussions on the ProNet mailing list about the installation process for Movable Type 4, I started wondering how many users always install or upgrade MT by extracting the files from the distribution on your local machine and then uploading the files individually—that is, dragging the directory or directories of extracted files to your server in an FTP client, which requires the program to send each file one at a time. With so many files to upload (1100+ for MT 3.35, 1800+ for the latest MT 4 beta), this can take quite a while.

Except in the rare instances where I only have FTP access to a server, I never install or upgrade Movable Type—or, for that matter, any other web-based software—in this way. If your MT site is hosted on a server running a Unix-based operating system and you have command-line access to it (either directly or through your host's control panel), you don't have to, either. Instead, try the following steps.

1) Download the version of Movable Type you want to install. Choose the .tar.gz (for Unix, Linux, Mac OS X servers) option for the download.

2) Find the downloaded file. Let's say you're installing Beta 7 of MT 4; this means the file will be called MT-4.0-beta7-20070717.tar.gz.

3) Upload this file to the directory on your server where you want the MT directory to go—in other words, upload it not to your MT directory (if it already exists) but one level up; for example, into your cgi-bin directory.

If you've ever uploaded MT file-by-file, you'll quickly see how much faster it is to do it this way.

4) Open a shell (command-line) connection to your server using ssh or the control panel on your host, and navigate to the directory where you just uploaded the MT distribution file.

5) You may, at this point, want to copy the string MT-4.0-beta7-20070717 (or whatever version you're installing) to your clipboard, so you can paste it instead of typing it for each of the following commands. After doing that, do this (and by "do this" I mean "type this into your shell interface and hit Enter"):

tar -xzf MT-4.0-beta7-20070717.tar.gz

This will extract the files from the archive. It may take anywhere from a couple of seconds to a minute or two, depending on the speed of the server.

5.5) If your server requires you to have static files (the mt-static directory) in a different location, do this:

mv MT-4.0-beta7-20070717/mt-static /your/static/web/path/

(Note that you should not include mt-static in the static web path; if an mt-static directory already exists, you'll end up with the new mt-static being moved within the old one.)

6a) if you're installing MT for the first time on this server, you probably don't want the mouthful MT-4.0-beta7-20070717 in your URL when you access MT, so do this:

mv MT-4.0-beta7-20070717 mt

If you want the directory to be called something other than mt, use that in place of mt in the above command.

6b) If you're upgrading rather than installing for the first time—let's say your current version is in a directory called mt in this same directory—do this:

cp -r MT-4.0-beta7-20070717/* mt/

This will recursively copy everything in MT-4.0-beta7-20070717 into mt, replacing any duplicate files. Since the MT distribution doesn't have an mt-config.cgi file (you have to rename it from mt-config.cgi-original), you don't have to worry about your configuration getting overwritten.

That's it! If you care to, you can now delete the upload and the original copy of the extracted files:

rm -r MT-4.0-beta7-20070717 MT-4.0-beta7-20070717.tar.gz

July 10, 2007

RightFields 1.2b2 Available

I've just released a new beta version of RightFields 1.2. This version fixes a number of bugs and includes dynamic publishing support for most of the plugin's new features.

Please post all questions, bug reports, and comments about this beta to the RightFields 1.2 Beta Testing forum.

June 30, 2007

New Plugin for MT 4: Bookmarks

(UPDATE: There was a problem with 1.0b1. Please try 1.0b2, linked below, instead.)

I've just released a beta version of my first plugin for Movable Type 4.0: Bookmarks.

You can download 1.0b2, which has been tested with MT 4 Beta 4, here. There's no documentation yet, but it's fairly self-explanatory. When you're on any page in the MT CMS, you can bookmark it. Each author has their own set of bookmarks.

Here's the impetus for this plugin. On the ProNet mailing list, a number of people have expressed reservations about the thoroughly revamped navigation in MT 4. My feeling is that the new architecture represents a big usability improvement for two general categories of users: 1) the administrator who needs to manage dozens or even hundreds of blogs in an enterprise-scale installation, and 2) an author with a single blog, whether a blogger who's installed MT for himself or someone who's been provided with their own blog as part of a larger installation.

However, there's another type of user: a single author who creates and updates content on multiple blogs. Not an arbitrarily large number, but more than one. That describes me, for example: the MT installation that runs and actually has 16 separate "blogs," some of which function as blogs and others that hold various pieces of content. With the Main Menu in previous versions of MT, it was easy to create a new entry, or view entries, templates, etc., in any blog with a single click. In MT 4, having first to switch to the intended blog, then click on the desired action, feels like a step backward in terms of usability.

The Bookmarks plugin is intended to restore some of that ease of navigation, especially for someone who authors multiple blogs.

Please post all comments, bug reports, and feature requests concerning Bookmarks to this area of my plugin forums.

June 12, 2007

RightFields 1.2 Beta 1 Now Available

As you've probably heard, last week Six Apart announced the first beta release of Movable Type 4, sporting a thoroughly revamped user interface and dozens of great new features.

Meanwhile, I've been working on a new version of RightFields, which due to various other commitments has progressed rather slowly. I've only implemented about half of the new features I hoped to get into the next version.

However, in order to focus on developing a new version for MT 4, I've decided to go ahead and release RightFields 1.2 (which works with MT 3.33) with the current feature set. If there's a particular feature you've been waiting for that didn't make it into this version, I apologize.

This will be the last version of RightFields for MT 3.x. RightFields 2.0 will be a from-the-ground-up rewrite, partly because of changes required by MT 4 but also because the plugin's code has grown rather unwieldy, and is overdue for an overhaul. The result, if all goes well, will be much more flexible, extensible, and easier for me to enhance in the future.

But for now, you can download RightFields 1.2b1 here. The major new features:

  • A new Defaults configuration section that lets you set a default value for any standard or extra field. You can also choose to make the default for a text field a "guide" value, or instruction, that will disappear when the user navigates to the field.
  • A new Entry Listing configuration section that lets you control which fields appear in the entry listing for a given blog—you can use any combination of MT template code and HTML. This can be very useful if you're not using the Title, Entry Body, and Excerpt fields in a standard way, or if you have extra fields with information that it's important to display in the listing.
  • You can now sort an MTEntries listing by any extra field.
  • For choice list fields (Select Menu or Radio Button), you can now enter choices in "key=value" format, so that the value will be displayed but only the key will be stored; for example, NY=New York. This lets you change the displayed values at will without worrying about losing data stored in existing entries.
  • The interface for Date fields has been vastly improved, including:
    • a JavaScript popup calendar to select dates (thanks to Dan Wolfgang for letting me steal the icon from his Hot Date plugin)
    • (optional) 12-hour clock menu with am/pm
    • the option to omit the menu for seconds, or for both seconds and minutes
    • a configurable minutes menu that can display the minutes in various intervals, instead of all 60
  • A script for converting extra fields data from PluginData storage to an SQL table.

Please post all questions, bug reports, and comments about this beta to the RightFields 1.2 Beta Testing forum. If you haven't yet posted there and would like to, after registering, simply send an email to forums [AT] staggernation [DOT] com requesting approval, and please mention the username or email address you used in registering. I apologize for this extra step, which became necessary to prevent the forums from being overrun with spam.

May 25, 2007's MT Plugins Site: Now With 100% More Blog

Ever since I started developing plugins for Movable Type, in 2002, the homepage of this section of simply contained a list of the plugins. This made it difficult for you, gentle plugin user, to keep track of when new plugins or versions were released. So I've relaunched this area of the site as a blog.

A blog? On a site devoted to plugins for a blogging platform? It sounds crazy, I know!

Each current and future plugin listed in the sidebar will still have its own static page, as opposed to being tied to a blog entry, but I'll announce and describe new plugins and updates here, as well as other items—code samples, MT coding tips, links to sites that are using my plugins in an interesting way, etc.

You can subscribe to the blog's RSS feed to keep up with all the latest plugin news.

The End As I Know It: A Novel of Millennial Anxiety, by proprietor Kevin Shay, is now available in paperback.

Please visit for more information.