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Movable Type 4.2 RC4 and some of our latest hacks

By Byrne Reese
Posted July 23, 2008, in News.

We have had some amazing feedback from the community since we started the public beta of Movable Type 4.2 - a release we consider to be one of the most important upgrades to Movable Type ever. Users of 4.2 can attest as well: Movable Type 4.2 is fast -- never before have we seen performance increases of 100x for common tasks like search. Of course, improvements like that are only possible, I believe, when a team of people come together to stop using band-aids and focus intently on actually solving a problem in a fundamental way.

Naturally with improvements like that in store for our users, the most common question we hear is, "when will Movable Type 4.2 be released?" With bug reports starting to wane and feedback slowing to a trickle, we think we are getting really close to a final release, and it is our belief that the latest, Release Candidate 4, will be the last release candidate prior to release.

In the meantime, for those of you aching for something new, something cool, or something useful, here are some things coming out of our weekly hackathons that you might be check out:

Template Set Exporter Tool

Designers should like this handy tool: "export-ts" is a command line tool that one can run to convert a blog's templates to a template set that can easily be zipped up and sent to a friend, client or to your web site for distribution.

» Download from

Mid-Century Template Set

The Mid-Century Template Set is the latest theme for Movable Type by Jim Ramsey, the lead designer for Movable Type and the same designer who brought you the Universal Template Set (soon to be renamed "Professional Website"). Mid-Century is a new template set that takes special advantage of some of Movable Type 4.2's features like comment threading. It is not done yet, but it is a good hint of some things to come.

Mid-Century Template Set Screenshot

» (MT 4.2 required)

Forum Utils

We are still working on the name, but the idea behind this plugin is to provide editors and designers with more tools to help promote useful and insightful comments more prominently on your web site by allowing editors to feature comments and promote comments to full-fledged entries.

Forum Utils Screenshot

» Download a beta of Forum Utils

Fluid Plugin

Users who dug the post promoting the amazing work by Jesse to turn Movable Type into a desktop application on Mac OS X, will also like the hacks we are working on to enhance that experience: dock badges, growls and more are coming.

Fluid Hack


27 Comments on July 23, 2008, 7:05 a.m. Reply

Are you going to get that awesome looking iPhone app working with MT? :-)


Jeremy on July 23, 2008, 9:15 a.m. Reply

I use the iMT plugin now which works great! But it would be cool to have a native iPhone app like Typepad. on July 23, 2008, 3:03 p.m. Reply

The Mid-Century Template Set is very nice, well done.

Toni Hambilton

Toni Hambilton on July 23, 2008, 5:13 p.m. Reply

After reading Jesse’s posts re MT and Mac, and seeing this new Fluid Plugin, makes me wish I owned a Mac too


hudson on July 27, 2008, 5:56 p.m. Reply

forth release candidate and custom fields are still wiped out during the upgrade. when is this going to get fixed?

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on July 28, 2008, 2:44 p.m. Reply

@hudson - This issue has not been reported by a single customer for some time which leads me to believe that the issue has been resolved. Here are some bugs that reference this issue:

Case #79744 should be very helpful to you as it provided the means by which I fixed the issue for myself. We will do what I can to support you with this issue, but please keep in mind that beta software is not warranted or supported. It is always use at your own risk. I myself have inflicted harm on my own blog and have been left to fend for myself (even as the product manager and contributor to the project) because I didn’t do what is asked of everyone: make backups BEFORE upgrading.


hudson on July 28, 2008, 7:51 p.m. Reply

I’m sorry those links aren’t working for me. I hate to be the squeaky wheel, but I’ve posted this problem with every release candidate in the forums since May 30th. I’ve only opened one bug report for the upgrade from 4.15b2 to RC1. I didn’t realize I needed to open a new bug for every release. The first bug was never fixed.

I do make backups. That’s why I’ve been downgrading each release candidate back to 4.15b2 every time… then posting in the forums it’s not fixed…. only to get the wonderful MT user SU to get on my case for “restricting my support issues to one location”… however the forums NEVER get answered. Bryne, I haven’t heard from you since June 13, 2008 5:52 PM (RC2) when you said upgrading and saving custom fields should be fixed. It wasn’t— for that release or the next two.

It’s getting frustrating. Features that were in Custom Fields before Six Apart took it over are gone (like key value posting to Custom Fields with a blogging client). I feel that SixApart snatched up Custom Fields and just abandoned it. on July 28, 2008, 8:00 p.m. Reply

The mid-century template, like the universal template, is quite professional and I appreciate seeing these templates/styles coming from 6A.

I do wonder, though, whether Jim Ramsey has bionic eyes. These templates come with links not underlined or decorated in any way in the text of posts and pages - and the color combinations are really low in contrast. Anyone with red/green color blindness would be out of luck with a couple of them, and I realized as I was using one of the UTS templates that even I couldn’t tell where my links were without mousing over.

I know that the links can be made underlined with an edit or two in the CSS, but since 6A prides itself in being “serious about design” it does leave me scratching my head as to why designs are released that by default are fairly unfriendly to anyone with impaired vision or color vision (especially as the population of the U.S. ages). One of the things I’ve always appreciated about TypePad, unlike, is that the themes have links underlined by default. It’s friendlier and more accessible that way.


Su on July 28, 2008, 9:31 p.m. Reply

“only to get the wonderful MT user SU to get on my case for “restricting my support issues to one location”

It was a request, Hudson. Spare us the dramatics. Said request is fairly standard, and was brought about specifically because of Michael apparently not being aware of Byrne’s response here. Where, I will point out, that response should probably not have occurred, so no, I’m not excusing Byrne, either. If you have a problem with response rate on the forums, that’s perfectly valid. But to avoid them in response subverts the very problem you’re complaining about.

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on July 28, 2008, 11:26 p.m. Reply


1) we did not remove a single feature from Custom Fields that I am aware. In fact we have augmented its capabilities greatly, addressed a number of bugs affecting countless users. I am sorry that you feel that we have abandoned Custom Fields, but I assure you, we have done nothing of the sort.

2) It is a relief you are making backups. This seems to me to be our best opportunity to get to the bottom of this then. Can you open a bug, or attach to your previous bug a snapshot of your database from one of your backups so that we can reproduce the problem locally. There is no doubt you are having a problem, and we are committed to seeing it resolved. What we lack is a reliable way to reproduce it - without which we have no way of confirming the issue was actually fixed. Hopefully, working together we can get to the bottom of this.

Thanks for your patience. I know how frustrating it can be when you want to use something, but feel held back for reasons beyond your control.

BTW - FogBugz is open to the public. Feel free to register and account, login and inspect any of the bugs above. They may have just the information you are looking for!

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on July 28, 2008, 11:29 p.m. Reply

@sky - thank you so much for your feedback. I will see to it that Jim sees this. I was hoping that my post made it clear that this was a preview and not an official release. As a “preview” it is kind of like a “beta” meaning it has bugs we should probably fix. I know that Jim has already made a lot of enhancements to the theme even after I have posted this download. Stay tuned!


demonsurfer on July 29, 2008, 12:59 a.m. Reply

I haven’t had any problems at all, although maybe worth noting that I prefer to do fresh installs rather than upgrades. Looking forward to the completed release, thanks!

Oh one thing (which I have reported in the past); if I shut / close the dashboard widgets (blog stats, MT news), I continually get this message telling me my dashboard is empty. Is it really necessary this message persists forever? Cosmetic really, but for some reason it bugs me.

Also wondering if we could have some sort of ‘scratchpad’ widget there, just for noting things down that one might want to refer to later, kind of like a reminder note stuck to the fridge at home with a fridge magnet, if you follow my meaning. Also a good idea for leaving messages for other users on the same installation.

Cheers. :)


demonsurfer on July 29, 2008, 1:02 a.m. Reply

I’m using MT with professional pack btw.


Su on July 29, 2008, 1:17 a.m. Reply

Demonsurfer: If I could yet again commit the sin of redirection, have you opened up a feature request for the scratchpad in the bug tracker?

That general concept has been discussed before, and I have a vague recollection someone had made early passes at building a plugin for it a while back. Even if 6A don’t want to build it themselves at the moment, there’s a new section in the tracker(the “community chest”) that things other people might want to pick up on can get moved into.


demonsurfer on July 29, 2008, 1:28 a.m. Reply

Feature request entered as suggested thanks. I may have done so already, but if so, it was some time ago.

I used the old ‘welcome note’ in earlier MT3.XX versions for that purpose, and found it very useful.


demonsurfer on July 29, 2008, 1:32 a.m. Reply

Oh, and as penance for committing the sin of redirection, recite 10 Hail MTs and 5 Our MTOSs.


demonsurfer on July 31, 2008, 2:58 a.m. Reply

31st July ..will today be the day??? :)


Sara on August 8, 2008, 6:55 p.m. Reply

I know I am a little late in this, but I’m just now getting around to play with the Mid-C template set. I love it and it’s close to something I could see myself using out of the box, but (yes there’s a but) I don’t see there’s any module/widgets for the listing of pages or any styling. Is this something to be added before the final release?

I know I can do it myself, but it’s oh so much easier when I can just install and go


Sara on August 8, 2008, 7:34 p.m. Reply

Duh I should have read down a little further and I would have noticed Byrne saying that it should be considered a beta at this time. 10 slashes with a wet noodle on November 24, 2008, 3:22 p.m. Reply

I tried the export-ts tool and found that it did not output any of the index templates. They are in the config.yaml. I don’t know enough yet to tell if this is on purpose or an accident.

All of the other templates are written with a call of write_tmpl($t). I added this call to the index template loop, and the files were created but all with .mtml extension.


JeremyS on July 6, 2012, 7:47 a.m. Reply

Loving the new plugins and looking forward to the full version!

Emma Jones

Emma Jones on August 5, 2012, 8:19 p.m. Reply

Some of the templates for MT are simply great. I like them too much and I don’t know which one to choose :)

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Registered Office Address on October 2, 2012, 3:52 a.m. Reply

I am not familiar with command line such ‘export-ts’. Can someone provide a simple break down? Thanks


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Fotowoltaika on July 3, 2013, 1:28 a.m. Reply

I used Mid-Century template - a great design and very readable.

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.