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Did you hear about the latest Movable Type beta?

By Byrne Reese
Posted April 14, 2008, in News.

If you were tuned into the Movable Type Twitter channel last week, or into the MTOS-dev or ProNet mailing lists, you may have heard that we released Movable Type 4.15 Beta 2.

As with every beta, we managed to sneak a couple of features in as well in response to user feedback:

  • revised the "Preferences" menu to allow users to navigate more quickly to the settings screen they are looking for.
  • added a blog level "Tools" menu to more easily import and export content, create backups and view the activity log.
  • added the ability to sort entries by the number of comments and TrackBacks received providing a good way to list your most popular entries.
  • added the ability to make a copy of a template.

In keeping with the central theme of this release, we also made Movable Type faster (again) by further optimizing the publishing engine to not only be faster, but smarter as well.

But speaking of the ways you might have heard about this release, you might want to consider making a regular visit to The Blog Herald every Monday for "Movable Type Mondays." A new series they are running to give Movable Type fans their weekly dose of all thing Movable Type. Arvind is writing the column and has been doing an excellent job of aggregating news across the many channels we use to communicate with our customers in a single and simple wrap up. Congrats on the gig Arvind, and thank you for providing such a great resource to the community!

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12 Comments

DJ Jeremy

DJ Jeremy on April 15, 2008, 2:36 a.m. Reply

Heh! Thats Great! When is the expected launch of MT Beta 3 or RC1? Is there more features coming up?

Gee, Thanks!

demonsurfer

demonsurfer on April 17, 2008, 4:07 a.m. Reply

Will MT Commercial beta be coming out once this one is out of beta, or did I just miss the announcement somewhere? I know in an earlier thread you said ‘Commercial beta would begin next week’ (with some enhancements to custom fields), but that was a couple of weeks ago I think. I ask as I’m planning a new site, but am hesitating just in case there are some significant changes to MT. Thanks.

Oh, it seems I hadn’t been getting messages from pronet mailing list (changed email). Re-joined last night, so if I missed an announcement there, apologies.

Su

Su on April 18, 2008, 9:42 a.m. Reply

demonsurfer: MTOS is MT. The Commercial distribution is primarily differentiated by some things added on top of the core application. If you want to see if anything’s changed with MT, you can do that right now.

The main enhancements Byrne mentioned to CustomFields regarded performance, which will be great but isn’t really a “visible” change for you to worry about in this sense, and sorting by the fields which pretty self-explanatory. They might, of course, sneak something in, but there’s no point in you waiting around for surprises that may not happen. Just grab the download and play with it.

MikeT

MikeT on April 20, 2008, 10:03 a.m. Reply

One question I have about the next release or two is the role that Template Sets will play. IMO, the template system should be refactored to allow easy switching back and forth between any set of templates installed, for any site managed by Movable Type. Something like an option in the Templates management screen under Design->Templates, and the ability to quickly clone one Template Set to use as a foundation for a new one should be added as well.

I apologize if I have missed some existing functionality (I haven’t seen any on my own MTOS 4.1 blog), but the way I figure it is that this sort of functionality would make life a lot easier for anyone trying to port the entire look and feel of a WordPress template to Movable Type.

demonsurfer

demonsurfer on April 20, 2008, 12:31 p.m. Reply

For the record (via pronet list), for any commercial version users wondering the same thing, to use the beta with propack components, install beta and apparently just move over everything in: /path/to/mt/addons/Commercial.pack to /path/to/mt-static/addons/Commercial.pack

Su

Su on April 21, 2008, 8:01 p.m. Reply

MikeT: You already can switch the template set of any given blog. See here just after the first image.

I’m not sure I follow what you mean about using a set as the foundation for a new blog, as that’s the entire point of them. “Cloning” generally refers to making a copy of an entire blog, and there’s a bundled plugin for that, anyway. Maybe you can expand on this, ideally in the forum?

MikeT

MikeT on April 22, 2008, 6:04 a.m. Reply

I know that you can select a new template set if one is available, when you create a new MT-managed site. What I haven’t seen, even on that page you referenced, Su, is a way to change an existing site’s template set painlessly. It should be as simple as a drop-down field in the management page under Design->Templates. It would also help to have a feature that allows you to clone an existing set under a new name so that you could rapidly create a new template set based on an old one—all from within the admin console.

Su

Su on April 22, 2008, 8:53 a.m. Reply

Mike, at the page I linked: “You can also apply a template set to an existing blog by navigating to “Templates” found under the Design menu. From there, click the “Refresh Templates” link under Actions.”

I’m personally questioning of putting something like “automatically generate a template set from this blog’s templates” into the core application, but feel free to push for it yourself. It is, relatively speaking, not going to be a common action. Current options for generating sets include the Template Exporter plugin and using a “master blog” which you don’t actually publish to but only use for cloning via the previously-referenced Cloner plugin, but that’s a topic better suited to forums than here where it will be quickly lost in a bunch of comments about a beta release.

Su

Su on April 22, 2008, 9:48 a.m. Reply

Mike, at the page I linked: “You can also apply a template set to an existing blog by navigating to “Templates” found under the Design menu. From there, click the “Refresh Templates” link under Actions.”

I’m personally questioning of putting something like “automatically generate a template set from this blog’s templates” into the core application, but feel free to push for it yourself. It is, relatively speaking, not going to be a common action. Current options for generating sets include the Template Exporter plugin and using a “master blog” which you don’t actually publish to but only use for cloning via the previously-referenced Cloner plugin, but that’s a topic better suited to forums than here where it will be quickly lost in a bunch of comments about a beta release.

[Sorry if this is doubled; first attempt went through but never published for some reason.]

nollind.whachell.com

nollind.whachell.com on May 4, 2008, 9:59 a.m. Reply

“It is, relatively speaking, not going to be a common action.”

Maybe from your viewpoint. I mean if you want to see a great implementation of what Mike is referring to, check out how Squarespace handles its layouts (XHTML templates) and styles (CSS styles). Not only does it allow you to easily switch between templates but the ability to clone a new template (to use as a starting point for your own) is extremely easy to do (and well utilized by designers). Even its browser-based style editor is the best I’ve ever seen (and I’m amazed why more platforms don’t create something similar to it).

All said and done, while something may have the basic functionality to achieve what you need, its usability and ease of use can still be dramatically lacking. That’s what Mike sounds like he’s trying to get at here. It’s often the smallest little change that can make the biggest difference.

Su

Su on May 4, 2008, 12:07 p.m. Reply

Nollind: Your Squarespace example is possibly interesting since it’d be an existing implementation, but we need to break some concepts out:

  • Template set switching has been covered as in the core already.
  • Your terminology re: cloning loses me a bit due to terms crossing over with the MT concepts, though. Does that make a copy of the blog, or does it actually dump out a separate, distributable, packaged set of templates? (The latter is what I’m objecting to going into the core.)
  • Actual blog cloning is already possible via an included plugin, and in some applications is still better than using a template set alone.

In my view, there are reasons automatic template set creation isn’t built into the core, and I can’t currently get behind the idea, as convenient as it would be. I’d prefer a plugin bolt the functionality on only for users desiring it, eg. Template Exporter. A much larger number of people are likely to be applying template sets than producing them, and I’d guess that was a significant factor in one activity being core and not the other. You of course have the same opportunity as anyone to file a request and make your case, while keeping in mind that many people already think MT is rather bloated. (I disagree, but whatever.) I don’t think I’ve seen one filed by Mike on this.

As a follow-up question, have either of you actually tried creating and/or modifying a template set yet? Because the more I think about this the more I lean toward the opinion that cloning a set for purposes of creating a new one would probably be better—and more easily—achieved by first copying the actual files, making some necessary modifications, and then using it than by doing it through the application all the way through. But I haven’t really had much opportunity to discuss template set-related matters with anyone.

vegas slots

vegas slots on December 31, 2008, 6:39 a.m. Reply

Current options for generating sets include the Template Exporter plugin and using a “master blog” which you don’t actually publish

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Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese was previously the Product Manager of Movable Type at Six Apart, where he had also held positions as the Manager of Platform Technology and Product Manager for TypePad. Byrne is a huge supporter of the Movable Type user and developer community. He dedicates much of his time to promoting and educating people about Movable Type as well as building the tools and plugins for Movable Type that are showcased on Majordojo. He contributes regularly to open source; and he is an advocate for open protocols and standards like Atom and OpenID.

Website: http://profile.typekey.com/byrnereese