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181. Automaton

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 12 KB, 703 words

A question on automating database population for you server-side experts.

Let's say you have a web site that you've been updating manually for a few years. Let's also say that you're sick to death of doing it this way, have finally taken the steps necessary to automate this thankless task, and now it's finally time to throw all that manually-input data into a database. For the sake of argument, let's also assume that adding the 700+ items by hand just isn't going to happen.

So then my question to you is, can you see any way of taking multiple pages of static, well-formed (and consistent) HTML like, say, this, and getting it to...

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182. The Web Really is an API

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 13 KB, 878 words

Every so often I'm reminded of how the simplicity of the web is belying of the underlying power.

Generally speaking, the web provides a simple user interface that has the ability to power increasingly complex back-end interactions. The more I delve into the nuts and bolts of how things like HTTP work, the more I realize that the implicit transparency of it all creates prime opportunities for even know-nothing coders like myself to build more and more sophisticated interfaces and applications.

Once the data hits the server it's mostly smoke and mirrors to me. But the data that hits the client side is quite transparent, and easy to tweak at will. The web is built on...

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183. Category Archive Pages

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 22 KB, 1077 words

The tips in this tutorial are designed around the templates for MT 2.661 and earlier versions.

Once you have set up category archiving, the next step is to customize the category archive display pages. The default Category Archive Template that comes with Movable Type lists the whole entries (not excerpts), doesn't tell the viewer what category she is actually viewing, and has no intuitive link back to the home page. We'll address these issues here.

1. Listing excerpts instead of full entries. You may want to keep the archives as is, with full entries. But if you have few categories and lots of entries you will soon have very large and long category pages. Changing to excerpts...

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184. Separation: The Web Designer’s Dilemma

A List Apart, Tutorials, 11 KB, 1011 words

With all the discussion about separating presentation from content (and structure), it's easy to lose track of the goal. So let's step back, define our terms, and take a look at why it matters.

Presentation

The major reason to separate presentation from the rest of the page is simple: to simplify any change from a slight design adjustment to a full-fledged redesign. To achieve complete separation of the presentation, we must isolate everything specifically and solely geared towards style.

Contrary to what you might be thinking, this isn't limited to just the CSS, not even on a site like CSS Zen Garden. It also involves HTML tags and properties...

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185. How Can I Find My "Full Server Path"?

Six Apart Knowledgebase, Manuals, 27 KB, 496 words

Question

The instructions say I need to use a "full server path", but I have no idea what that is, or how to determine the correct path for my system.

Answer

A full server path is the path your system uses to define where your own files are located on the server (as opposed to files belonging to other users).

You can usually get an idea of the full server path on your system by running mt-check.cgi and looking at the current working directory that it gives you.

If that does not work, see if you can determine the path while you are...

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186. Star Icons for RateIt Plugin

Eat Drink Sleep MT, Tutorials, 19 KB, 548 words

If you're using the RateIt plugin from Movable Circus, you might want to add some visuals to the voting process. I created some star icons to use on danandsherree.com, then decided to create a few more color variations to share.

Included in the "star packs" are nine .gif files, depicting ratings from one to five in half-step increments, plus a "zero votes" image to show that no votes have been made. Below is a sampling of each rating from various star packs:

Download the star packs you like: • Black and whiteBrownsGreen and brownGreensRed and blue

If you'd like to use some different colored or sized stars, you can download stars.ai, the Illustrator file I made them with and modify them yourself. If you don't have Illustrator, leave a comment below and I'll try my best to meet your needs....

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187. Drop Cash: MT Protect 1.0

Movalog, Tutorials, 27 KB, 746 words

I'm quite excited about this release because the featureset has been requested several times in the MT Support forums. I've created a new drop cash campaign. As with the previous one, once the target is met I'll release the plugin, and as with the previous one donors get priorty support. I have talked about the new release on the campaign page but in case you don't want to read, I've reproduced it here:

MT Protect is a plugin that allows you to protect entries and blogs (new to 1.0) in two main ways, password and Typekey protection. The former uses a simple password while the latter verifies the reader's identity.

1.0 also boasts several new features including Typekey groups, which...

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188. Iconize

Movalog, Tutorials, 27 KB, 656 words

Steve asks:

Quick question, how do you get the different icons to show up based on categories like you have in your personal site? Can you also do it by author?

This is quite simple to implement and can be done either with the use of plugins or doing it manually using MT Tags

Category Icons

You can either use TopicIcon to do this 'automatically' - just follow these instructions. Alternatively you can do it manually, add this code in your templates between the <MTEntries>...</MTEntries> tags.

<img src="http://www.movalog.com/images/cat_icons/<$MTEntryCategory dirify="1"$>.gif" alt="<MTEntryCategory>" />

So for example, if you had a category called...

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189. Hacking Movable Type

Movalog, Tutorials, 26 KB, 693 words

I finally got my copy of Hacking Movable Type and finished reading it last night. Written by the biggest names in the Movable Type community, the 300 pages of Movable Type goodness guide you through getting the most out of Movable Type and really pushing what it can do with detailed tutorials to setup photo and moblogs and event calendars.

It walks you through using all the APIs available in MT including XMLRPC, Atom, Perl and PHP and provides detailed examples that are very easy to understand. One of the best parts of the book, I feel, is the plugin walkthrough which is a far better guide than the current plugin docs. It literally holds your hand showing you what is possible and if I...

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190. MT-Textile does that???

Brad Choate, Tutorials, 100 KB, 3747 words

Things you probably didn't realize you could do with MT-Textile 2: • Hyperlinks for Amazon, IMDB and Google searches. For example (search term can be placed after the last ‘:', or will default to the hyperlinked text): • "James Bond":imdb:Sean+Connery becomes James Bond • "Tangerine Dream":amazon becomes Tangerine Dream • "Movable Type":google becomes Movable Type • ["MT plugins by Brad Choate":google:movable type plugin choate] becomes MT plugins by Brad Choate • Float images to the left and right; center stuff too: • !>/images/me.jpg! (floats...

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191. Random Banners

Movalog, Tutorials, 28 KB, 759 words

In my recent re-design on Movalog, I had three banners and unfortunately I liked them all and couldn't figure out which one I liked best. As a result, I decided to use them all.

First I moved all the images to a subfolder called banner and renamed the images to 1.jpg, 2.jpg and 3.jpg. Finally I used PHP's mt_rand function to randomly print a number from 1 to 3 (mt_rand works better than the plain rand function function), like so

<?php echo mt_rand(1,3); ?>

Hence my banner image code looks like this

<img src="http://www.movalog.com/images/banner/<?php echo mt_rand(1,3); ?>.jpg" alt="Movalog - All Things Movable Type" />

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192. Win the SPAM Arms Race

A List Apart, Tutorials, 11 KB, 986 words

Most seasoned web designer/developers have learned that posting an email address on a website is a sure-fire way to guarantee a steaming pile of spam delivered to that address for years to come.

Indeed, posting a naked email link anywhere on the web (or in a newsgroup, in a chatroom, on a weblog comments page ...) is generally the kiss of death for your once-healthy address.

INVASION OF THE SPAMBOTS

It begins innocently enough: the neophyte web developer codes his address into a fresh, new web page to solicit the feedback of his adoring fans. "Email me!" it beckons. A short time passes. Then the barrage of email begins. From:...

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193. What the... Flock 0.5pre?

MovableTweak, News, 26 KB, 1013 words

It's calling itself "the social browser" and claims to be the champion of Web 2.0.

Visit the site and you'll find humongous type and a free-spirited blurb about the way the web should work, but what is Flock and should you be excited about it? It claims to be one of the first browsers that emphasizes the internet sharing experience, allowing you from within the browsers interface to add and share del.ic.ious links (cf. my post about that), post to and manage your blog(s), add and share Flickr photos and act as a fully functioning RSS news reader. Those are some ambitious goals and certainly some vital needs in this new age of Internet.

Internet Explorer essentially...

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194. Virtual Hosts for Dummies

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 14 KB, 1105 words

Running your own local Apache server for development is a great idea, and even better if you've enabled local virtual hosts.

As demand for open source software increases, so do the options. Popular packages are frequently ported to different platforms, so it's fully possible to run a local install of Apache regardless of which operating system you use on your workstation.

The stumbling block is mainly know-how, which is fortunately an easy gap to fill. I am decidedly not a system administrator, but I've run various Apache installs over the past year - without much conviction I should note, so learning has been slow.

After this past weekend's rebuild, I got around to re-configuring a fresh copy of Apache Complete last night. Here are two tips from that experience....

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195. Colors - Background, Banner, Headline, and Font

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 22 KB, 1118 words

The first thing you might want to do when customizing your Movable Type blog style is to change the color of the background, banner, headlines, or text. This is pretty easy to do; the adjustments are made in your weblog's stylesheet template.

Before you start, you should have a basic understanding of how colors are coded into a web page. Open up your stylesheet from the templates menu in your MT edit screen. If you scroll down you will see several instances of the word "color" followed by a # sign and six characters comprised of letters and or numbers. These six characters represent a color; the first 2 characters affect the RED tones of RGB, the third and fourth characters...

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196. Converting from Fixed to Fluid Style

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 24 KB, 1055 words

This tutorial is written by LMT guest author Arvind Satyanarayan of Movalog.

Updated Nov 16

The default styles that come with MT are known as 'fixed' styles. This means that size and position of layout elements, such as columns, are fixed and are defined in pixels (px). This also means that no matter what a person's screen resolution, everything will be the same width and in approximately the same position. The alternative to a fixed design is a fluid design. A fluid design uses percentages when defining size and positions, so the sizes of elements on the page are relative to the user's screen resolution. A fluid design also removes the horizontal scroll bar. With a fluid...

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197. Moving an Entry from One Blog to Another

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 24 KB, 1132 words

For those of you with multiple MT weblogs, have you ever wanted to move an entry from one blog to another? or the entries from only one category from one to another weblog? You can copy the entries from the first weblog and paste them into the second, but how to move the associated comments or trackbacks?

Here's one fairly straightforward method.

1. Create a new index template in the weblog that contains the entries you wish to move. Give the template name any name you wish. Call the output file mt.txt. Copy and paste the following code into the new index template:

<MTEntries lastn="1000" sort_order="ascend" category="Your Category Name Goes...

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198. Dynamic vs Static

Movalog, Tutorials, 28 KB, 1055 words

Preparing the way from the dynamic system that's going to be coming in MT 3.1 lets discuss the differences between a dynamic and static way of managing content and clear up any doubts.

Static templating is how MT has been all these years. Everytime you make the smallest change or post a new entry you need to rebuild every single page it is connected to for the change to show up. Rebuilding these pages cause physical files to appear in various directories.

With dynamic templating this is all resolved. No more files, no more rebuilding. With 3.1 you can chose how you want MT to act ie: •

Fully Dynamic - every single template is taken and parsed from the database when requested •

Fully Static - there are...

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199. Expandable List Menus

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 36 KB, 2476 words

If you have a lot of content - entries, categories, sidebar information - sooner or later things may begin to look a little cluttered on your weblog. One way to address this is to make some of your lists expandable and collapsible, as I have done with LMT's Table of Contents. There are probably many different ways to do this. I have found one method, based on Javascript, that is simple to implement and appears to work fine, from Bleeding Ego.

1. Upload listmenu.js to your server.

Copy the following script into a new file with a texteditor. Save the script as "listmenu.js". Upload the script to a location within the public directory of your server using an FTP program. (You can...

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200. Banner Images

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 21 KB, 1174 words

A great way to easily customize the look of your Movable Type weblog is to replace the default title banner with a banner image. There are two basic methods for adding a banner image - adjusting the CSS or adjusting the index and archive templates.

Before making template adjustments, you first need to prepare your banner image. You might choose to use an image that will take up the entire banner space, or you might want more of a logo-like image that would only take up a part of the banner space, with a solid color making up the difference. Photographic images that extend to the edges of your weblog's container work best for banners in "fixed width" styles, such as in the default...

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mgs | September 27th 2005