Install Movable Type Under Windows (IIS)

Though the vast majority of installations I work with use LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl) to run Movable Type, there are also a few where my client would like to place Windows in that equation. While it’s a possibility to run Apache on Windows, Internet Information Server (IIS) has shipped with Windows Servers just about forever, and it’s quite possible to get Movable Type up and running without Apache. I guess you might like to call this a WIMP (Windows, IIS, MySQL, Perl) installation, which fits in nicely with the old Windows, Icon, Mice, Pointers joke from years back. But I digress.

First, of course, you need Windows and IIS. Unfortunately, configuring those two is going quite beyond the scope of this article. Luckily, doing so is not particularly difficult. You’ll also need, at a minimum, MySQL and Perl. If you want to use dynamic publishing, you’ll also need PHP – but I’m not going to cover that here. Maybe next time. Ready? Let’s go!

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Upgrading to Movable Type 4 with MTCommentFields

By now, there’s a reasonable chance that if you’ve wanted to upgrade to the latest release of Movable Type, you’ve done so. But you may still be waiting. Perhaps you’re hoping that your favorite plugin will be updated (there are still a few that haven’t been released for MT4). Or maybe you’ve run into a problem that you can’t seem to overcome.

One of the issues that I run into fairly regularly is for people who use the MTCommentFields tag. This tag, originally released in version 3.0D – way back in 2004, for those of you keeping track – was designed so that you wouldn’t have to keep up with your comment form. Unfortunately, people like to keep up with their comment form, to move it around, change some wording, add features or just tinker. So it rapidly fell out of favor, and in MT4, it’s gone completely.

If you’re still using it and you want to upgrade, you’ll see a message that reads The MTCommentFields tag is no longer available; please include the Comment Form template module instead. You will be able to rebuild your templates, but you won’t be able to accept any new ones.

And naturally, if you’re upgrading, you won’t have this module to make that happen. To make matters worse, if you’re a user of certain versions, even if you try and get rid of the tag, you might still have problems. What do you do? Luckily, it’s an easy fix.

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How to Fix a Common MT4 Feed Formatting Error

Over the last few years, the term beta has been somewhat misused. It used to be that when you used beta software, you expected to encounter problems. But when Google started throwing around the term for its offerings, people came to expect that beta software wasn’t so bad. Still need an example? Despite Gmail arguably being the leader in web-based email systems, it’s had that tag for more than two years.

There are plenty of examples, but hopefully you get the point I’m trying to make – that beta just doesn’t mean what it used to. So there really shouldn’t be a surprise that people install beta software. It used to be that only a certain crowd would install beta software, but these days, just about everyone will do so, thinking that they can expect to get what they have come to expect. That’s not always the case, as sometimes you can get nasty surprises.

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Using SpamLookup and Akismet to Control Spam

A subject came up today about writing a regular expression to block a particular text string in comments received by a Movable Type blog. If you aren’t familiar, the Spam Lookup plugin gives you great power over the processing of comments (and trackbacks, if you happen to receive them) by parsing the content of your comments in order to help try and determine if the comment – or trackback – is spam prior to posting it to your live site.

Unfortunately, the problem with doing this is that it often requires writing a regular expression in order to do so. Regular expressions by their very nature don’t have to be complex – but they certainly can be daunting for a beginner. There are many sites available to you, but I’ve found simply searching and then trial and error can often yield the best results. Perhaps starting with a tutorial is a good idea.

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Rebuilding Empty Categories

One thing that I’ve seen requested from time to time is the ability to rebuild empty categories. The problem is that Movable Type doesn’t make this easy to do because when you rebuild entries, the rebuild routine loops over the entry table in order to determine which categories to rebuild. If a category doesn’t have entries, it isn’t selected for the rebuild process. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get around this limitation.

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