Automattic Stats for Movable Type

If you read the post where Andy talks about releasing the Automattic stats plugin for self-hosted WordPress, he mentions a few things that make it interesting – notably that the system “only supports WordPress”. Then he also mentions that anyone with a thorough understanding of WordPress and XMLRPC could clone the plugin to make it work with other platforms.

I don’t claim to have such knowledge (of either WordPress or XMLRPC), but I think I’ve managed to do just that. Make it work with another platform, I mean. Some time ago, I managed to get the blog registration piece working, which really wasn’t that hard – you simply pass some data to the system along with your API key and in return you get your blog registered. Not too bad. Then I ran into a speed bump of rather monumental proportions. Actually it wasn’t that the bump was particularly large, it’s that I hit it and then had about a million other things to do. So I put everything on the back burner.

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Converting RightFields to CustomFields, Now with SQL Goodness!

Back in December, I put together a script for converting RightFields data to CustomFields. This was mostly for me, but I had a few people request this sort of thing, and I had grown tired of doing it by hand, since I’m inherently lazy. There were two problems with this script. The first was that it didn’t do data stored in custom SQL datasources. Unfortunately it was just too hard to figure out. That’s not to say that I couldn’t make it work, but I wasn’t able to do it in an automated fashion.

The second problem was that it left out a few people who had some data that they might want: Namely those with data stored in file fields (usually a file name, such as that you might use for an image). These fields can be somewhat complex, but if it’s just a name, then it’s not typically a problem in converting the data. So it may be okay to convert it. Still, you should probably be aware that a one-to-one conversion of this sort does have some potential pitfalls. The most common was that CustomFields doesn’t have an upload option, but you also can’t do things like extra file path information. So if you decide you want to convert the filename, you should be aware of these potential downfalls. It’s better than nothing, however.

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How to Best Handle Spam on Your Movable Type Site

To build a community, you need your visitors to comment on your site. Unfortunately when you do that, you open up your site to others who you might not want to come calling – namely spammers, who will leave all sorts of garbage on your (virtual) doorstep. While we probably won’t ever be able to get rid of them, managing spam feedback is a completely bearable process.

Depending on who you ask, you’re likely to get a wide variety of answers on the best avenue to take when it comes to plugins to use or configuration directives to take in the fight against spam. You’ll see names like Akismet or Defensio mentioned, and plugins such as MT-Approval and Tiny Turing thrown into the mix. Some will tell you that you need a CAPTCHA and some will tell you that there’s just no way to win. In the end, you don’t really need much more than a little creativity and some patience.

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Convert RightFields Data to CustomFields

If you use Movable Type, there’s a good chance that you use plugins. And if you took the plugin survey, there’s a good chance that you use a plugin to add extra fields to your installation: Roughly one-third of people polled used either CustomFields or RightFields to provide some additional breathing room in your installation.

To make matters more interesting, the combined plugins accounted for roughly a third of the votes for being rolled into the core package, and easily bested all other plugins when it came time to choose just one plugin to install. The problem all along has been that there are two ways to add extra fields to your site. The announcement that CustomFields is now going to be part of Movable Type just makes it more complex – especially if you’re a user of RightFields. Until now.

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Install Movable Type Under Apache Tomcat

I haven’t done a lot of work with Apache Tomcat previously, so when someone asked if they could install Movable Type, I had to do a bit of digging to see if it was possible. The answer is actually yes – but it’s not the most intuitive installation. Most steps are fairly simple, but making the pieces work can be challenging.

Getting Perl up and running under Tomcat isn’t difficult – just dropping the files into a directory seems to make them work. But to make Movable Type work, you need more than just Perl – you need MySQL. That’s where the trouble comes in and things get a little dicey.

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How to Export Tags from Movable Type 3.3x

Over on Learning Movable Type, Jaclyn asked why she wasn’t able to get tags imported to a new MT4 installation. While Movable Type 4 includes an entry’s tags in the import specifications, and also exports those tags when saving the data, no prior versions have exported the tags, even though tags have been natively supported since MT 3.3x. Luckily, it’s easy to get them.

First, make a backup of ImportExport.pm from your original Movable Type installation, which is the Perl module that handles the export. Do this because you want to make sure that you have a good copy, just in case something goes awry. Put this backup in a safe place, and work with the copy of the file, just in case. Ready? Good.

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Dynamic Movable Type or Static WordPress?

As is fairly common, there has been a good amount of talk about how blogs manage to scale recently, and what has been interesting to see is the discussion around just what it is that is required to keep things running.

Let’s assume that you’ve decided not to go with a hosted solution, so first you’ll need a good host, and you should consider some other issues about setting up your domain too. After that, you’ll need to choose your blog software.

There are what seem to be thousands of choices, but ultimately it boils down to two: Movable Type and WordPress. Tim, among others, likes to post pictures of WordPress failing, but what isn’t often mentioned is that Movable Type can fail in the wrong situations too. Let’s see why.

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What to Watch Out for When Upgrading Custom Fields

If your Movable Type installation uses extra fields and you want to use MT4, then at this point, you really only have one option – Custom Fields. The plugin, currently in something of a perpetual beta because Arvind is in the US for school, allows you to easily add fields to just about any object in the system. It’s actually quite nice.

But if you have already been using Custom Fields, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle when it comes to upgrading your data and you’ve found that the data you have been trying to keep from losing is suddenly no longer there. Luckily, the upgrade path isn’t a bad one, nor is it particularly painful. You just have to be very careful when you decide to upgrade your installation.

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Install Movable Type 4 in Yahoo! Small Business

While it seems that the Yahoo! Small Business web hosting packages continue to offer Movable Type as an option, and there has been some talk about Yahoo! not supporting MT4, while Six Apart doesn’t really seem to support MT4 at Yahoo!

Nice, huh? So what are you to do? Or more specifically, what am I to do when I have clients clamoring for MT4 and they are on the Small Business package? I have to figure out a way to make it work. Unfortunately, neither Six Apart nor Yahoo! makes it easy. The good news is that it’s quite possible, once you know what you need. The first suggestion that I have – don’t read that long letter that you’ll get from Yahoo!, as it won’t help tell you what you need to know.

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