* Changes To My Weblog With Movable Type 3.2

MT 3.2 adds a few long-needed features but is still missing key features.

I finally upgraded from Movable Type 3.1 to 3.2. Not because I was planning to, but because I ended up changing one thing on my server (from SpamAssassin 2.4.3 to 3.1.0), which prompted me to change another (from Perl 5.6.1 to 5.8.4), which ended up breaking Movable Type 3.1.

So now it’s all working again. Despite some odd failures and missing features, Movable Type remains a solid blogging (how I hate that word) platform. Some random thoughts on the upgrade.

If you have entered a blank IP address to quickly block all comment and trackback spam (as I suggested last year), the upgrade will prevent any comments (and presumably trackbacks, which I’m no longer using) from being posted. Here is the wonderful error message you’ll receive in this situation:

Quantifier follows nothing in regex; marked by <-- HERE in m/* 
<-- HERE .*.*.*/ at lib/MT/App/Comments.pm line 218

The solution to the above problem is simply to delete the wildcard IP address entry (i.e. "*.*.*.*") from your IP ban list.

I thought I had purged all curly single and double quotes from my weblog, but a few remained. Those were not treated nicely by MT 3.2, especially when they were in an H3 tag (which resulted in line breaks and text wrapping - not a pretty site). I was also not able to figure out how to search for them in MT 3.2. But I think I've purged them all now. Curly quotes should be abolished from all software. So should all auto-format, auto-correct, and auto-spell features.

Which reminds me of a story. When I was writing my thesis at MIT, I spent a whole day debugging assembly language code. I finally found the problem by reading the code out loud. For a move-indirect command, which should be MVI, I had written MV1 (i.e. a "one" instead of an "i").

I'm getting closer to figuring how how to make the printed webpage look like the displayed web page. Getting it working right will require spending more time on CSS and, in particular, on the "style" tag "media" option. By adding "media=screen" to the stylesheet, I can at least print pages. Previously, only the first page printed. For more info, see http://meyerweb.com/eric/articles/webrev/200001.html.

<link rel="stylesheet" href+"https://www.giantpeople.com/styles-site.css?TODO" 
type="text/css" media="screen">

MT 3.2 still lacks consistency in its tags. Obvious tags remain missing. For example, one can select the next logical page in list (think "previous" and "next" navigation button) by entry ID (MTEntryNext), by date (MTArchiveNext), but not by category (there is no "MTCategoryNext").

MT 3.2 still lacks the ability to let you name your own filenames (instead of using the MTEntryID tag), so I'm still using Brad Choate's hack of using MTIfEmpty plugin and putting the desired filename in the keyword field. And MT doesn't call them "filename templates," they are "Archive Mappings." Whatever. My Individual Entry Archive (filename) template looks like this:

<$MTEntryDate format=""$><MTIfEmpty 

As I was proofreading, spell-checking, and link-checking this note (yes, I do that will everything I write), I discovered that I was wrong about the above. You can now name your filenames, but the functionality is hidden by default. So now I have to go back and undo all the stuff I did above. For more info, see http://bradchoate.com/weblog/2005/08/25/movable-type-32:

"The new entry basename field lets you name your permalink the way you want it. I've been wanting this since MT 1.0 and finally, the field is on the compose screen. (If you're using MT 3.2 and you don't see this field, you may need to customize your entry edit screen preferences to enable it.)"

MT 3.2 still hides filename templates under Settings/Publishing instead of where they belong in Templates.

MT 3.2 finally includes integrated anti-spam features for comment spam and trackback spam. Too late, at this point, as many people have already given up on trackback and/or comments. I used to blog a lot more than I did until comment spam and trackback spam took over.

MT 3.2 finally includes moderated comments. I'm willing to give comments another chance, and I have enabled them for my last few posts, but I'm sure the spammers will figure out how to ruin it for me before MT figures out a fix.

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