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101. Movable Type Fun Day

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 10 KB, 384 words

It's Movable Type Fun Day!

First start with Paul's account of switching from .html file extensions to .php, and how gracefully MT handled the transition. Even existing off-site bookmarks don't break!

Then head over to Scott's place to read up on how he managed to wrangle Movable Type into producing human-friendly, meaningful URLs instead of the arbitrary sequential URLs that MT ships with. Fun!

Then take a look at the URL attached to this post (click the title), and rejoice for I too have switched to more meaningful URLs. Except… oh wait. Look at that. No I haven't.

The intent is there, but instead of something nice and tidy like...

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102. Social Software Considerations for XML Clients

Six Apart ProNet Weblog, News, 14 KB, 207 words

Nick Bradbury, creator of FeedDemon (which was just acquired by NewsGator last week) has just put up a terrific analysis of the considerations all developers of RSS and Atom aggregators and syndication clients should be keeping in mind with regard to secure behavior and sensible defaults:

Even if I'm way off base about how spam will come to RSS, we all know that spammers will find a way to jump on the RSS bandwagon. Given past history, every new social technology needs to think about spam right from the start, or else risk being crippled by it.

Moving on to specifics, Nick adds:

I took a look at how a few of the existing tools were handling them. To my surprise, security didn't seem...

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103. How to Speed Up Publishing in Movable Type

Six Apart Pronet Articles, Tutorials, 22 KB, 2467 words

For those who aren't using the dynamic publishing feature of Movable Type (see below), experiencing slow rebuild times is not an infrequent complaint especially as the size or complexity of the blog and its templates grows. While there are very good reasons to rebuild, there are no good reasons for it to be painfully slow.

In this essay, we will detail a number of reasons why your rebuild times might be slow and steps you can take to drastically reduce or completely eliminate the time you spend waiting for Movable Type to finish its work.

Upgrade to Movable Type 3

Has anything significant happened to you in the 16 months? Probably so. Well, the same can be said for Movable...

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104. Movalog Sideblog

Movalog, News, 25 KB, 435 words

Well I'm pleased to announce Movalog's Sideblog. I needed a sideblog just to post links to stuff I see and rather than give it a whole entry here felt it better to setup a sideblog. I will merge the two blogs together soon including the RSS.

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105. Clearance

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 11 KB, 532 words

A new solution just popped up that enables clearing of floats without the markup hacks of old. Great! Except there's a caveat: scrollbars.

First reported on this SitePoint blog entry, later followed up with a description and some test cases by Anne van Kesteren, a new method of clearing floats involves using overflow: auto; to expand the parent and contain all children, thus forcing it to contain even floated elements within.

While overflow: auto is working for us in this case when it comes to vertical overflow, unfortunately it also applies to horizontal overflow as well. Therefore, all child elements must be smaller than or equal to the width of the parent, otherwise...

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106. Made for All of Us

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 13 KB, 747 words

Accessible design, unobtrusive scripting, and terrible cell phone browsers.

From all accounts, the recent @Media conference in London was a smash hit. One take-away that has appeared everywhere is a renewed interest in accessibility issues. Given the creation of the WaSP ATF and resulting discussion, the eye being kept on the under-development WCAG2, the interest in zoom layouts, and even the questioning of what we know, there's a lot going on right now.

At the moment, accessibility practices attempt to assist those with disabilities. This is a reasonable starting point. A founding goal of the web, after all, is to allow access to anyone, anywhere, at any time, on any...

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107. 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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108. Rewrite!

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 11 KB, 470 words

mod_rewriting your way to fame, fortune… and frustration.

A new feature I've added to the Zen Garden is a far nicer URI schema. I've moved from this:

to this:

Nice, right? Except it's not quite perfect yet.

For the sake of easy, short URIs for the book, I looked into mod_rewrite at the time, but never quite got it working. So I hacked this all together manually by adding redirects for each of the designs to an index.php file in their respective directories. Ugly, unmaintainable, and more work than necessary, but it worked.

Then Mathias Bynens asked if the new links could be applied to all designs. And since I had originally planned for this anyway, I went further into the...

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109. CSS Optimization

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 12 KB, 802 words

Some thoughts on how to go about writing a CSS optimizer.

I received an enthusiastic message off the contact form this morning from someone writing an online CSS optimization tool. So I had a look.

The idea of compressing CSS/HTML isn't a new one; around 2000, I spent a bit of time writing a "cruncher" for my bloated markup that would strip whitespace and extraneous characters, and I know I was even following in someone else's footsteps then.

But the classic problem with markup optimizers is that they're lossy, which results in two problems.

First, you're saving only a fraction of the file size which was otherwise lost to unneeded characters....

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110. Movalog: General Archives

Movalog, Tutorials, 24 KB, 861 words

Page: 1 1 Page.

Hacking Movable Type

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...

Continue reading "Hacking Movable Type"

Posted on 08/21/2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Firefox Search Plugins

I had forgotten to share these little goodies that I frequently use. The little search bar in Firefox is indespensible for me and I have all sorts of search engines there including many Movable Type resources. Here are three...

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Posted on 03/20/2005 |...

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111. Form Elements and ids

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 12 KB, 632 words

Finding a balance between label association, validation, and automatic form generation.

So we're all aware by now that the id attribute is supposed to occur exactly once on a page. You're not allowed to use more than a single instance of any given id; for that, you'd turn to a class. Multiple classes are no problem, but multiple ids are.

Now if you've done you're homework and you know how to properly apply a label, you've probably run into this:

Attribute definitions

for = idref [CS]

This attribute explicitly associates the label being defined with another control. When present, the value of this attribute must be the same as the value of...

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112. Image Replacement. Again.

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 14 KB, 980 words

Since there are still lingering questions about image replacement, this is the state of CSS image replacement in early 2005.

In the past few weeks, I've had some conversations about image replacement techniques. A quick recap for those who may not be familiar: image replacement is the concept of taking a structural, text-based HTML element (an h1, for example) and substituting it with an image. Why do it? Better typography and more visual interest, as well as flexibility in the CSS to later change the images themselves. Why not do it? It's hackish, somewhat inaccessible, and the old ‘non-web' argument applies to any instance where you're locking text...

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113. Dating Requests

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 12 KB, 759 words

No, not that kind of dating. Due to popular demand, a quick explanation of the date boxes on this site's home page.

Whoa. I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden I'm getting three or four inquiries a day about the little date boxes on this site's home page, which have been around for, what, a year now? Some want an explanation, others want permission to use them. So this is both at once for my reference and yours.


Fundamentally, only two HTML elements are needed to pull this off. One container, and an additional element to surround the day. In my case I've opted for spans. (You could add a link, but I haven't because I only just...

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114. Six Apart - Movable Type News

Six Apart News, News, 15 KB, 537 words


All the Sites That're Fit to Print

The New York Times has a couple of fun articles on weblogs this weekend, chock full of good information on the social implications of weblogs and featuring a number of great sites that are powered by Movable Type.

" Dating a Blogger, Reading All About It" features MT users like Heather Armstrong and Jonathan Van Gieson talking about the trials and tribulations of living life in public via a website, along with some cogent quotes by David Weinberger and Nick Denton. And " A New York State of Blog" focuses on a subject that's near and dear to my heart, blogging culture in New York City....

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115. MT Protect 1.2

Movalog, Tutorials, 29 KB, 956 words

UPDATE: Version 1.21 has been released that fixes the password protection bug under static publishing. Please download the new version and re-enable protection on all your blogs.

MT Protect is a plugin that allows you to easily protect entries so only authorized users can read the entry, comments and trackbacks. This new version has been built for Movable Type 3.2 and is feature packed: • Cross-database compatibility - MT Protect is now compatible with PostGreSQL and SQLite. The only problem with using either of these two databases is that if you haven't got the necessary modules installed, you cannot use Password Protection (this is further explained in the docs) • OpenID Support - MT Protect now allows you to protect entries/weblogs using OpenID. Protecting an entry using OpenID works exactly like protecting an entry using Typekey and best of all is that you can create OpenID groups. You may also be interested to know that Movable Type 3.2 comes with OpenID support, look in the extras/ folder!M...

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116. 2.21 (2002.06.28)

Six Apart User Manual, Manuals, 22 KB, 478 words

2.21 (2002.06.28)

• Very important bug fix to MySQL schema: Changed all *_created_on columns to the datetime type instead of the timestamp type. The latter could have very bad effects if used within the MySQL shell (although through MT's libraries it is not a problem). Thanks to shanson for finding this. • The plugin framework can now create container tags (thanks to Adam Kalsey for pointing out that it couldn't before). • Added encode_xml global tag attribute to escape special XML characters. • Changed default RSS templates to use encode_xml=``1'' rather than...

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117. Security, not Obscurity

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 11 KB, 632 words

Lesson learned: remove, don't rename.

Don't ever rely on security through obscurity, they say.

You know, they might just be right.

I'm giving TSEP a try to replace the limited Movable Type search box currently driving this site. Not only is it picking up all sorts of old archived files I had completely forgotten about, my heart absolutely sunk as I realized I had turned on PHP parsing just before it ran across an archived file that runs this little snippet of code: $queryWipe = "DROP TABLE IF EXISTS submissions"; $queryCreate = "CREATE TABLE submissions ( submissions_id mediumint(8) NOT NULL auto_increment, name varchar(48) NOT NULL default '', email...

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118. SHA-1 and DB Integrity

MezzoBlue, Tutorials, 13 KB, 928 words

Applying cryptographic functions for fun and profit.

I've got two books sitting on my desk, PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites by Larry Ullman which is absolutely fantastic for bringing yourself up to speed if you already have rudimentary programming skills in other languages (though it could stand for an update), and the PHP Cookbook, an O'Reilly book which (so far) seems like a good reference for getting beyond the basics.

So, any guess on what I've been working with lately? I've been running this site on a pretty basic PHP foundation for a while now, and by basic I mean aside from some PHP includes, passing a couple of variables from page to page, and...

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119. 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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120. Converting to PHP

Learning Movable Type, Tutorials, 34 KB, 2704 words

This tutorial is written by LMT guest author Sarah Hughes of This Chick (aka Maddy in the MT Forums).

Many customizations for Movable Type call for using PHP scripts that require that your pages have a .php extension rather than a .html or .htm extension.

PHP is a server-side scripting language which involves a) the server looking at your pages for a PHP script, b) running the script, and c) outputting the results to the page. This is called "parsing". In order to successfully use PHP in your pages, you need to ensure that your account on your webserver is set up to parse your pages for PHP scripts. This feature is pretty standard these days, but check with your webhost before...

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mgs | September 27th 2005