New MT3 Licensing

Those folks over at Six Apart have updated their Movable Type licensing yet again. Personally I think they’ve got it perfect now.

There are three levels for Personal Weblogs:

  • 1 author / 3 weblogs / Free
  • 5 authors / unlimited weblogs / $70
  • unlimited authors / unlimited weblogs / $100

Simple. Makes it really easy for people to do what they want with the software for not much money. I’m really glad that I made the upgrade. The whole comment approval thing has already kept of ton of spam off my site.

Yay, Six Apart! You done good.

Easier Text Entry And Formatting

I made couple of upgrades to my site which you may have noticed in my last post. I installed Daring Fireballs’ excellent Markdown and Smarty Pants plug-ins.

Markdown is the kind of Movable Type plug-in that I’ve been looking for for quite a while now. I think I’ve mentioned before that I use BBEdit to write my posts. And then I copy it into the MT web interface. In a little more detail, I actually type the entire document first. Then I check it for spelling errors and read it through for grammar problems. Only then do I go through and add in all the XHTML markup. This is what makes it look the way it should in the final presentation online with links to other webpages, code for embedded image files, other code for bold and italics. But once I add all this in, the once neat and clean document is damn near impossible to read.

Hence, Markdown. The basic idea is that you type up your document like you would in an old text-only email. You add simple things like *asterisks* around a word to turn it into an italicized word, asterisks. (Actually it adds the emphasis tags <em> and </em> since this has more to do with content than layout.) There are simple text-based “codes” for many of the most used XHTML tags, and best of all, it leaves you with a text document that you can easily read. (You can still add all the XHTML you want, don’t worry about that.)

The other plug-in, Smarty Pants, turns your ‘this’ into ‘that’, your “that” into “this”, your . . . into …, and your — into —. It gives you nice typographically correct text without any real effort.

A cool feature of these two plug-ins is that they work together and are implemented through the “Text Formatting” pull-down menu in the MT entry screen. With this you can turn it on or off for each individual post. Quite handy. I’m planning on going back and reformatting all my previous posts for Markdown, but that will take some time. However, I can start to get the benefit of Markdown right now without screwing up my other entries.

Great stuff.

Automatically Sending Trackback Pings To Your Own Posts

If you’re a repeat visitor to this website, you might have noticed that I have a few running threads. I make use of the Categories to “file away” posts in an appropriate area but I also link back to previous posts when appropriate and I have started sending Trackback pings to those posts so that people starting from the earlier post can continue the topic. A very recent example has been my look at various RSS newsfeed aggregators. (Well, to actually focus mostly on PulpFiction.) Even though I have Movable Type set to automatically ping posts that I link to on other servers, tt would not do it on my own. I would have to manually enter each of them.

No longer. Here’s how you turn on automatic trackback pinging to your own posts on your own server:

In the directory that you installed Movable Type on your webserver, open the file lib/MT/Entry.pm in a text editor. Find the line:

next if $url =~ /^$archive_url/;

and comment it out. It should look like this:

# next if $url =~ /^$archive_url/;

Save the file and you’re done. Now whenever you add a link to a previous post on your own website, it will “auto-discover” the post (as they call it in the preferences) and send a trackback ping.

A huge “Thank You!” goes out to Phil Ringnalda for answering this question for me in the Movable Type Support Forums.