Yesterday’s Thoughts

June 12, 2005

Movable Type Changes

Two feature requests for Movable Type.

Posting dates should be publish dates.

The two posts prior to this one Gulag at Guantanamo and Amnesty International Doesn’t Need Me are marked as being posted at 8:06 and 11:07 pm respectively. For example, the line after the Gulag post says, “Posted by Ray Baxter at 08:06 PM”

This posting time is not accurate. If you came to the site at 8:07, you wouldn’t have seen the Gulag post. It barely existed. 8:06 is when I clicked on “New Entry” in Movable Type. I actually posted the article at about 10:30 pm. In between, I helped put the kids to bed and went out for ice cream, in addition to researching some parts and writing all of the article.

It is possible to manually change what Movable Type internally calls the “Authored On” date and time, and I sometimes do that. I would like to not have to. I would like the Authored On date and time to be the time when I change the post status from draft to publish and push save.

I have about 10 articles in various stages of draft. Some I will publish when I put the finishing touches on. Some I need to spend quite a bit of time on. And some I need to start. These will end up being published a long time after I first pushed the new entry button, and the authored on date should reflect that.

In a perfect world, there would be a default value for this, that could be overridden on a per-post basis, as well as having the current functionality of modifying the date at will, which is necessary for posting in the future.

I should change my templates. “Ray Baxter began writing this post at 11:38 PM.”

In the end, it comes down to the fact that I think that the posting time should be the posting time. This must be my background in science, it isn’t when you had the idea, it is when the paper is published. It’s the same in journalism.

Internal links should not include the domain.

The other change I would suggest involves the link button on the view entry screen. The way this normally works is that I copy the link I want to paste , select the anchor text and click the button. This pops up a dialogue, “Enter the URL” with a textbox prepopulated with “http://” Once I fill in the text box and click OK, the link is inserted with that anchor text in the correct spot.

This is a useful tool. It saves quite a bit of typing, and it reduces the possibility of pasting in mal-formed html. It should do one other thing though. When the domain of my site is the same as domain of the url that I past in, the domain should be stripped out.


1) This makes the site more portable. If I ever move from to, I don’t need to make any changes. I can copy over the blog, and it will just work.

2) I want to expand on the preview functionality of Movable Type. I don’t want to see a single entry, formatted on a page, before I push the change live. I want to see my whole site live. The preview doesn’t have my site design. The preview doesn’t use my fonts. The preview doesn’t show that other elements that are on the page.

What I want to be able to do is to use Movable Type on a separate host to create the whole site, then once I am satisfied, to sync every file on the site to the actual public host. I could do this with some DNS tricks, but I would rather not. It is simpler to have the links all be relative to the root of the host.

I’ll leave the implementation of the combination of these features to the reader. Syncing from a staging server could complicated the integrity of the posting times. Usually, this isn’t an issue for me. The times when I want to look at the site are when I am changing the formatting, not when I am trying to post something on a deadline.

1 Comment(s)

  1. JiggaDigga | Apr 6, 2006 | Reply

    Great reading, keep up the great posts.
    Peace, JiggaDigga

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