Catching Up


Published on October 31, 2016 at 12:58 PM EST
In the Announcements category.

It’s been a very long time since I last shared anything here — about 2-1/2 years! Is Movable Type still around? Does Dan still work with it and create plugins? Yes to both!

Movable Type has seen some incremental improvements and is currently at version 6.3.2. Version 6.x has been around since 2013 but improvements and refinements have continued. A quick review of some of the best improvements 6.x has seen:

  • Bug fixes, both old and new. Bug fixes are not glamorous and don’t elicit any attention… unless you are experiencing the bug! Bug fixes have been a focus on 6.x and it’s worked to refine MT’s behavior quite a bit.
  • Multiple file uploads. Multiple file uploading though Better File Uploader in MT3 and 4 worked well, and in MT 5 and 6 I have used and recommended Alfasado’s Multi Uploader plugin. It’s nice to see that this capability is finally in the MT core.
  • Asset handling improvements. Beyond file uploading, MT is better at handling assets with file renaming, configurable file upload destinations, as well as a basic image editor.
  • Image quality control. MT has long chosen to create the best-looking thumbnails at the expense of file size, and some new configuration directives (ImageQualityJPEG and ImageQualityPNG) hand some of that control over because, often, the very best image quality isn’t worthwhile and a smaller file is. I am, of course, biased, but the Asset Image Quality plugin I created for Endevver is superior in that it lets you specify a large/small pixel dimension threshold, allowing you to compress small thumbnails (where quality matters even less) more than large thumbnails.
  • The Data API was introduced with MT6 and is at version 3 now. This is a very developer-focused feature aimed at allowing access to content stored in MT through a RESTful API. The result is JSON-formatted data that can be parsed by Javascript. It can be used to build dynamic sites and help build AJAX-driven display. A really fantastic tool… if you’re a developer and have a client that can benefit from it.
  • Movable Type for iOS has not received much attention, but is a solid tool for working with MT from an iPhone.

Over the past few years I’ve created, updated, and modified many plugins though discussed few of them. A recap of some of them that jump to mind:

  • More Custom Fields has been maintained and expanded with more field types. (Some quite obscure!)
  • More Listing Framework Columns expands the Listing Framework capability in MT 5.1+ and 6.x (basically, the “Manage…” screens) with support for showing, sorting, and filtering on additional data, including Custom Fields.
  • A rewrite of Assetylene to be compatible with MT 6.2+.
  • A significant update to Image Cropper that brings the ability to automatically crop image assets to predefined dimensions.
  • The Data API Cache plugin brings request-level caching to the Data API.
  • The Salesforce Data Sync plugin does just what the description says.
  • Publish Queue Manager has received several updates to make publishing more transparent and better logged.

The vast majority of my (publicly shareable) work is visible on Github from my account or Endevver’s, for whom I often contract.