MUniversity of Minnesota

November 2004 Archives


November 30, 2004

Slight change to new blogs

Today I made a slight change to the new blog creation process. In the past, new blogs were setup to only display a certain number of days at any given time on a blog home page. The default was 7 days. This means that blogs created before today only show 7 days of posts on the blog home page by default. As a result, many blog owners have noticed that if they don't post regularly eventually their blog home page will only show one, two, or no posts at all. Of course, the default number of days can be changed, and I outlined how to do this in an old post: What can I do with the Weblog Config section?.

However, today I changed the default to not show a set number of days, but a default number of posts. I outlined this in an old post: How do I show a default number of posts on my blog home page?. I set the default to 10 posts. So blogs created now will always show a up to or a maximum of the 10 most recent posts no matter what. I did this by altering the <MTEntries> tag in the Main Index Template:

<MTEntries>

has been altered to look like this:

<MTEntries lastn="10">

If you would like to revert back to a set number of days of postings on your blog home page simply delete 'lastn="10"' from the <MTEntries> tag. For those of you with older blogs who would like to implement this functionality, follow the instructions in the post above.

Posted by snackeru at 04:29 PM

November 10, 2004

Plugins

Many of you have asked for certain MT plugins to be installed on UThink. For those of you unfamiliar with MT plugins, they extend the functionality of Movable Type (the blogging software used by UThink). There have been many plugins written for Movable Type. These are the plugins that have been installed on UThink so far:

  • MTCountdown -- allows you to place a countdown timer in your MT Template. For example, put up a countdown timer for your birthday:
    <div class="sidetitle">
    Countdown to my birthday!
    </div>
    <div class="side">
    <MTCountdown date="2005-01-17 00:00:00">
    <MTCountdownIfYears><MTCountdownYears> years, </MTCountdownIfYears>
    <MTCountdownIfWeeks><MTCountdownWeeks> weeks, </MTCountdownIfWeeks>
    <MTCountdownIfDays><MTCountdownDays> days, </MTCountdownIfDays>
    <MTCountdownIfHours><MTCountdownHours> hours, </MTCountdownIfHours>
    <MTCountdownIfMinutes><MTCountdownMinutes> minutes, </MTCountdownIfMinutes>
    <MTCountdownIfSeconds><MTCountdownSeconds> seconds</MTCountdownIfSeconds>
    until my birthday. </MTCountdown>
    </div>
  • MTCloseComments -- A handy plugin to help thwart blog spammers. This plugin will close comments for any post that has fallen off your blog home page, among other possibilties.
  • MTOtherBlog -- Allows you to include content from other blogs on your own blog, as long as those blogs are also a part of UThink. For example:
    <MTOtherBlog blog_id="137">
    <$MTBlogName$><br />
    <MTEntries lastn="2">
    <a href="<$MTEntryLink$>"><$MTEntryTitle$><br />
    </MTEntries>
    </MTOtherBlog>
    Don't know the blog id's for the blogs you'd like to include? Just use the "View Source" capability of your browser and find the code for the Search box on the blog(s) you'd like to include. The blog id for that blog will be listed there.
  • MTGlobalListings -- This plugin allows you to list Entries, Comments, Categories and TrackBack pings across multiple blogs within one MovableType installation. This plugin is a lot like MTOtherBlog, only it will also let you get at the data for comments, categories, and trackbacks, as well as counts for each type of data. See the documentation for more information concerning this powerful plugin.
  • Regex -- Uses regular expressions to accomplish replacement and other advanced text manipulation within your blog templates. If you don't know what a regular expression is, then this plugin probably won't be that useful to you.
  • IfEmpty -- Allows for different options if a field is empty or not empty. For example, you can use this plugin to change the "Posted by" information on a group blog to a nickname if there is one available for that particular author:
    ... <div class="posted">Posted by
    <MTIfNonEmpty tag="MTEntryAuthorNickname">
    <$MTEntryAuthorNickname$>
    </MTIfNonEmpty>
    <MTIfEmpty var="EntryAuthorNickname">
    <$MTEntryAuthor$>
    </MTIfEmpty> at ...
  • Textile -- A syntax language that allows you to quickly/easily add some HTML elements (bold, italics, hyperlinks, lists, etc) to your posts without learning all of the nitty gritty HTML. See the link for documentation on how to use this plugin.
  • MTBlacklist -- Quite possibly the most important of any of the plugins. Protects UThink blogs from spam, and yes some spam still gets through. It would be even worse without this plugin.

These are the plugins that have been installed so far. Let me know if you have any questions, or if any other plugins look interesting!

Posted by snackeru at 03:38 PM | Comments (1)