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

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June 2007 Archives

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.

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.

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.