Developers can override the templates used by the application to display its user interface, without overwriting the templates the application ships with, by placing alternative versions of those templates in the
/path/to/mt/alt-tmpl directory. Files placed there should have the same file name as the template they wish to override.
For example, let’s suppose we would like to provide an alternative to the Movable Type dashboard. Here are some steps you can follow to make those changes safely without altering the original files:
Make a copy of the dashboard template and place it in the
cp /path/to/mt/tmpl/cms/dashboard.tmpl \ /path/to/mt/alt-tmpl/cms/
Edit the file now located at
Movable Type will immediately begin using your customized version of the template as opposed to the version that came with Movable Type by default.
Pros and Cons
While alternate templates are by far the simplest and most straight forward way to customize the Movable Type user interface, one major limitation remains: only one plugin can override a template in this manner at a time. Plus, keeping alternate template up to date as the templates they are derived from can be cumbersome and error prone. Therefore, alternate templates are typically best used by users to customize their own installation, as opposed as a mechanism for plugin developers to alter slightly a page’s contents.