Template Inheritance is a plugin for Movable Type that enables you to link templates together in a way that one template inherits its template code from another template. One example is when you have two or more blogs in your MT system, and you want to use the same design or template layout for each blog. Using the Template Inheritance plugin, you can effectively use one blog's templates as master templates that control the templates of the other blogs. So if you have 3 blogs on a company site with same look and feel, this can save you a lot of time manually updating the templates of each blog every time you make a change. Another way to think of it is sharing templates between several blogs. You can link all the templates in one blog to another, or selectively choose which templates should be inherited (including template modules).

New Features in Template Inheritance Pro 2.0

There two new features:

  • Support for MT4
  • A powerful "Inherit all Templates" feature that enables you to quickly link all of the template of blog, in a single step. This function even goes a step further -- if the "parent blog" has templates that don't exist in the "child blog", then those templates will be automatically created and then linked, so that they are inherited from the parent blog. In short, this will effectively copy all the template from Blog A to Blog B, and then link them so that when you make changes to templates in Blog A, the changes are made automatically in Blog B.

Background

I have wanted a plugin like this for years, the ability to share template code between multiple blogs. For a long time, MT has included a "Link this template to a file" feature in which you could link a template to an actual file on your server. I used to link multiple templates to the same file, effectively (and indirectly) sharing the template code between different blogs. While this works, it has its problems. At times in the past, there we MT bugs that prevented templates from being updated from the file - but I think those are fixed now. The other main problem is that you have to be very careful when editing a template, remembering that it may be shared with other blogs, etc. The Template Inheritance plugin is an improvement over the file linking method, addressing the key issues with file-based linking.

Features

For any specific template, you can assign another template on the system from which to inherit template code. For example you could decide that you want template "B" to inherits its template code from template "A".

It may be helpful to think of "A" as the parent template and "B" as the "child" template -- the child inherits its template code from its parent. When template becomes linked to parent template, the child's template code will immediately be replaced by the template code of the parent, and will be derive its template code from the parent from that point forward. You won't be able to edit the child template after the link is made (the template code is greyed-out and the field is disabled) -- instead, you will see a link to the parent template, and you can then edit the parent template.

Editing the parent template will automatically update all of its children templates. Of course, you need to rebuild the appropriate pages on each blog for template changes to be reflected on your blogs. You remove remove inheritance (break the link with the parent) at any time. When you remove inheritance from a child template, it becomes independent from that point forward, and you can now customize it independently of the parent template.

Or, you can use the "Inherit all Templates" function to link all of a blog's templates to those of another blog. This is major time saver when you have multiple blogs that you want to use the same layout and design. Simply create and customize the templates on a "master blog" then link the other blogs quickly.

Notes:

  • Only system administrators (sometimes called superusers) can create inheritance links.

  • You must enable the plugin for each blog before you can create inheritance links (blogs to have "child" templates need to be enabled, not those containing the "parent" templates)

  • A template cannot be both a child and a parent. If you try to assign inheritance from a template that is a child of another template, it will work -- but the plugin will make the link directly the ultimate parent. This makes it easier to manage, as you won't have to trace template linkages through several generations to find the "master" template.

  • When a parent template is deleted, each of its children immediately become independent (orphaned, if you will).

  • When first assigning inheritance to a template, the child template's code is replaced by that of the new parent. BE CAREFUL, there is no undo, the child's former template code will be gone. This is also true when using "Inherit All Templates". Just to be safe, it may be a good idea to back up the old template code beforehand, in case you decide to revert back.

Requirements

  • MT 3.3+

Note: the "Inherit all Templates" feature is currently available only on MT4. If you are interested in using this feature with MT3.3x, please let me know.

Great for Blog Networks

While Template Inheritance can be used in many different scenarios, it is a great fit for blog networks. Networks of blogs on the same MT system often have similar (or identical) design or template code. Sometimes only certain things are the same, such as a common header / footer, stylesheet, sidebar, advertising blocks, etc. Using this plugin to link up those common template elements, you can save a lot time managing the templates of the network. If you have a blog network and this sounds interesting, please contact me. I can help implement this for you, customize the plugin to meet your specific needs, etc.

Instructions

  1. Extract the contents of the zip file and upload the contents of the 'plugins' directory into the 'plugins' directory of your MT installation
  2. Login to MT (or hit Main Menu, if you are already logged in). You should now see and upgrade screen that will install a table for Template Inheritance.
  3. Browse to the blog you want, then go to the plugin settings to enable the plugin.
  4. Browse to the template you want, then click the "Click here to inherit code from another template" link.
  5. Enter the template ID of the desired parent in the prompt box, hit OK.
  6. The template is now linked to the parent. Rebuild to see the results on your site.
  7. (Pro Version only) Or use the "inherit all blogs" feature to link an entire blog.

Get Template Inheritance

Template Inheritance is free for personal use on up to 3 blogs.

Donations are appreciated:

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Template Inheritance Pro is only available with a license:

Commercial License (4-10 blogs): $97

Blog Network License (10+ blogs): $249

As always, feedback and suggestions are appreciated. Please reply to this entry.

User Profiles is a plugin for Movable Type 4 that extends the user profiles in MT4. Version 1.0 adds the ability to user profile images (sometimes called avatars) from within the MT4 interface:

Profile images are just the first step for the User Profiles plugin. Look forward to more profile features in the near future.

How it Works

From admin MT4 interface, users can add a profile image by editing their profile. (System admins can perform this task for any user on the system):

Users will the be prompted to upload a profile image:

Square images are recommended, but if the uploaded photo is not a square, the plugin will automatically crop the image to make it a square.

After saving the profile image, the image will appear in the user profile:

Finally, the <MTAuthorImageURL> and <MTCommenterImageURL> tags can be used to display the user's profile image on your published blog pages.

Note: In version 1.0, authenticated commenters cannot upload their own profile images -- only users will access to the MT4 admin area can upload photos. In the next version, commenters will be able to upload profile images as well.

Profile images are stored as Assets within Movable Type. This means that these images can also be used in other ways, such as inserting them into entries. Movable Type will keep the full size image (cropped to square, if necessary) and create thumbnails when using the tags described below. Each profile image is tagged with 'profileimage'.

Template Tags

Version 1.0 of User Profiles includes 4 new template tags:

  • <MTAuthorImageURL> - This displays the url to a thumbnail of the author's profile image. There is one optional argument:
    • size - the size in pixels of square thumbnail, default is 50 pixels (each side)
  • <IfMTAuthorImage> - This conditional tag displays its contents if the author has uploaded a profile image.
  • <MTAuthorImageURL> - This displays the url to a thumbnail of the commenter's profile image. There is one optional argument:
    • size - the size in pixels of square thumbnail, default is 50 pixels (each side)
  • <IfMTCommenterImage> - This conditional tag displays its contents if the commenter has a profile image. Note: if you posted a comment on your own blog (while signed in), your profile image will be displayed using this tag.

Example: In your "Entry Metadata" template module, your could add the following:

<MTIfAuthorImage><img src="<MTAuthorImageURL size="50">" align="left" /> </MTIfAuthorImage>

This would display the author's profile image, if they have one in their profile.

Similarly, in your "Comment Detail" module, you could add:

<MTIfCommenterImage><img src="<MTCommenterImageURL size="50">" align="left" /> </MTIfCommenterImage>

Both example above can be seen in action on the MT4 Test Blog.

Installation

  1. Download the zip file and upload the contents of the 'plugins' folder to the 'plugins' directory of your MT installation.
  2. Go to the blog you want, then to Preferences > Plugins. Then choose User Profiles, then Settings. Entry the path for uploading profile images, then save.
  3. Upload a profile image from your profile. (Tip: the quickest way to get to your profile is to click the "Hi Username!" link in the very top right of the page.) Click the link to add a profile image and follow the steps as shown above.
  4. Edit your templates to display profile images, as described in the Template Tags section above.

Get User Profiles

User Profiles v1.0 is free for both commercial and non-commercial use. (Note that future versions will have additional features and may not free for commercial use.)

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Upcoming Features

This is just the beginning for the User Profiles plugin. Potential future features include:

  • Enabling commenters to upload photos
  • Public user profile pages listing profile information, plus recent entries and comments.
  • Extended profiles (fields for birth date, hometown, etc.)
  • Importing photos from other services, if possible.
  • And more - please make feature suggestions in the comments of this entry

The Customized Email Templates plugin enables MT4 sites to customize email notification templates on per blog basis. Using the familiar MT4 template management screens, you can easily customize the emails that get sent out by the system. For example, you could change the order of comment fields, remove unwanted items, or add new pieces of information to suit your needs.

How it Works

When MT is ready to send an email, the plugin looks for template modules in that blog with the same names as the default system filename. The key names are:

  • new-comment.tmpl
  • new-ping.tmpl

If the module is not found, the system default will be used (same as without the plugin). If a match is found, the template module will be used instead of the system default.

Note that these template modules are special, because they are a hybrid of an "application template" and a "blog template". What this means is that you will see a lot of <mt:var tags, which are variables that are set by the system. In addition to these tags, you can also use normal <MTCommentXXX, <MTCommenter and <MTEntryXXX tags when customizing these templates.

Template Sets

As a separate download, I have created a template set to get you started: This template set includes template modules for both comment notifications (new-comment.tmpl) and trackback notifications (new-ping.tmpl). Remember, it is important not to rename these modules.

These templates are virtually identical to the system defaults, but I have included two enhancements to the new-comment.tmpl template:

  • If the comment was made by a authenticated commenter, the Auth type will be shown after their name. For example, it would show "Commenter name: Bob Sakamano (Vox)".
  • I have modified the "View comment" URL so that it includes the anchor #comment-<mt:CommentID>. These means that when you click the link, it will go directly to that comment on the page, rather than to the very top of the page. This is handy for sites that get a lot of comments, and you have scroll all the way down to view the new comment and/or reply.

Requirements

Installation

Download and extract the zip file. Upload the contents of the 'plugins' folder to the 'plugins' directory of your Movable Type installation.
For each blog that you want to customize, install template Modules to be used. Download the template sets and install them using Template Installer. (Advanced users can create these manually, but they must be named as described above.)

Get Customized Email Templates

Commercial License - $97.00

Personal License - Free

Customized Email Templates is free for personal, non-commercial use.

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Template Set:
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As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Entry To Page Converter is a plugin for Movable Type 4 that enables you to convert Entries into Pages.

Pages are a new feature in MT4 that you can use to create pages that are not really 'entries'. In previous versions of Movable Type, many people used entries for such pages. Now that MT4 has "pages", you can use this plugin to easily convert those old entries into pages. By the way, you can also do the reverse, convert Pages into Entries.

How it Works

On the Entry listing screen, you can select the entries that you want to convert by checking the boxes. Then simply choose "Convert to Page(s)" from the "more actions..." dropdown menu and click "Go". The Entries will immediately be converted to Pages. During the conversion process, the entry is automatically removed from any categories it may have been in, since Pages don't use categories. After the conversion process, you will be redirected to a "Batch Edit" screen for your new pages. Using this screen, you can quickly add Pages to Folders and other minor edits, then hit save. It's that easy.

Requirements

  • MT4.0+

Installation

  1. Download and extract the zip file, then upload the contents of the 'plugins' directory into the 'plugins' directory of your Movable Type installation (often /cgi-bin/mt/plugins/).
  2. Login to MT and go to the entry listing for the blog you want.
  3. Select the entries that you want to convert by checking the checkboxes.
  4. Choose "Convert to Page(s)" more the "more actions..." dropdown box and click "Go"
  5. (Optional) Add the new pages to Folders and make other edits, then save.
  6. Rebuild your site.

Get Entry to Page Converter

Commercial License - $25

Visitor Stats is free for non-commercial use, to members of MT Hacks.

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Downloads: 215

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Comments and Suggestions are welcome, please post a comment.

Visitor Stats is a plugin for Movable Type 4.0 that displays visitor and page view statistics for MT4 blogs. New! Visitor Stats Pro provides even more statistics and widgets (details below).

Visitor Stats looks like this:

New Features in Visitor Stats 1.5

  • Stats Counter widget now includes mini graph
  • Several bugs and warnings fixed.
  • Stats are now reported in the time zone for each blog
  • New template tag for displaying the number of times an entry has been viewed

Announcing Visitor Stats Pro

This is the first release of the "Pro" version of this plugin. Additonal features included with Visitor Stats Pro:

  • Blog Widget for displaying a ranked list of "Most Read Entries"
  • Entry Stats graph that displays entry pages views by date.
  • List of Recent Visitors and Views on the admin Dashboard (including IP address, username, referrer and keywords).
  • Dashboard widgets for displaying top search engine keywords and referrers.
  • Detailed Entry Stats screen with graph, top keywords used to find the entry, and a list with details of each page view for that entry.
  • Many new template tags for displaying stats on the published pages for your blog.
  • See details about Visitor Stats Pro below

Visitor Stats also provides a "stats counter" tag (and widget) that you can place on your site to display your stats. Note: you can visit the MT4 Test Blog to to see some of the Visitor Stats (and Pro) publishing widgets and tags in action.

Visitor and View Stats

Visitor Stats tracks two key statistics for your blog:

  • Visits - A visit represents a real person who visited your blog. Even if the person views 20 pages of your site, it only counts as one visit (per day).
  • Views - Also known as page views, a view represents the viewing of a single web page on your site. If the person views 20 pages, it counts as 20 views. If a person refreshes the same page several times, each time counts a view.

How it Works

Visitor Stats tracks visitor and view information and records that information directly into your Movable Type database. After placing a single template tag in your templates, Visitors Stats will begin recording stats automatically using a combination of JavaScript and PHP (note that you do not need to enable MT's dynamic publishing feature). Then, when you view the admin dashboard for your blog, you will "Visitors" and "Views" tabs on the Blog Stats widget, which will display a graph of your stats (see image above). On the System Overview dashboard, you will see aggregate graphs of your stats for all blogs on the system.

Visitor Stats - Template Tags

Visitor Stats provides 4 template tags:

  • <MTVisitorStatsTracker> - Place this tag before the </head> tag in every template where you want to track stats. Only place one of these per template.
  • <MTVisitorStatsCounter> - This tag will display the total number of visitors or views for your blog, just like a web stats counter. There is one optional argument:
    • type - the type of stats that you want to count, which either be "visit" or "view". The default is "view". Example: <MTVisitorStatsCounter type="visit">
  • New! - <MTEntryStats> - Used within an entry context, this displays the total number of views for that entry.
  • New! - <MTStatsImageURL> - The URL to the small stats image ( that looks like ).There is one optional argument:
    • type - the type of stats that you want to graph, which either be "visit" or "view". The default is "view". Example: <MTStatsImageURL type="visit">

Visitor Stats Pro Features

Visitor Stats Pro includes additional stats and provides ways to view visitor and view stats in more detail, helping you understand the traffic to your sites. Where are readers coming from? What search keywords are they using in search engines to find your site? What entries are they reading? Which entries get the most views? Visitor Stats Pro helps you answer these questions and more.

Display a List of the Most Popular Entries

Visitor Stats Pro includes a widget that you can use to display a ranked list of the "Most Read Entries" in your blog sidebar, showing readers which entries are the most popular. You can also create customized most readlists by category, tag, etc. Examples include "Most Read Entries in this Category", or a "related entries" section that lists that the most read entries with the same tags as the current entry. This is a powerful feature with many possibilities.

Detailed Stats for Each Entry

In the MT4 admin interface, Visitor Stats Pro displays detailed view stats for each entry. On the entry screen, an Entry Views graph can display the traffic history for that entry:

(The graph on the edit entry screen can be hidden with a single click, or disabled in the plugin settings, for those who don't want to the graph to appear on this screen)

The same graph also appears on the Detailed Stats screen for each entry (just click the "More Stats" link from the main entry screen), plus a list of top keywords for that entry, and a detailed list of the pages views for that entry:

As you can see from the image above, in addition to displaying the IP address for each Visitor (just to left of this image), Visitor Stats Pro will also identify visitors and views by registered users on your system. This includes both local MT authenticated users, as well as TypeKey, Vox, Livejournal, or other OpenID users. This provides valuable information about the traffic stats of your signed-in users. You can even filter the list of page views by dragging the sliders on the graph -- just choose a date range, then click the link that appears. The "From" column shows the URL that the visitor came from before arriving on your site.

More Dashboard Stats

Visitor Stats Pro provides even more stats on the MT4 admin dashboard. This includes a summary of recent visitors and views, along with detail about each. This is similar to the "Recent Entries" and "Recent Comments" displayed when you click the respective tab on the Blog Stats widget:

Top Keywords and Referrers Dashboard Widgets

Visitor Stats Pro includes two new widgets that you can optionally display on your admin dashboard. The "Top Keywords" widget will display a list of the top search engine keywords used to find your blog:

And the "Top Referrers" widget will display a list of the top referrer URLs for your visitors, so you can see where your traffic is coming from:

Many Visitor Stats Pro Template Tags

Visitor Stats Pro includes many new template tags that you can use to display your blog stats on your published pages, blog sidebar, etc. In addition to display lists of "most viewed entries" as described above, you can display lists of top keywords, top referrers, recent visitors, and recent page views. If fact there are so many new template tags, that I won't discuss them in detail here -- I will soon post a separate article that describes the tags with some example template code.

Requirements

Installation or Upgrade

  1. Download and extract the zip file, then upload the contents of the 'plugins' directory into the 'plugins' directory of your Movable Type installation (often /cgi-bin/mt/plugins/).
  2. (Pro Version Only) Upload the contents of the 'extlib' directory into the 'extlib' directory of your Movable Type installation (often /cgi-bin/mt/extlib/).
  3. Login to MT and you should be redirected to an "Upgrade" screen that will update your database automatically.
  4. For each blog that you want to track, go to Preferences > Plugins and then click on "Visitor Stats" and then click on "Settings". Now click the link labeled "Click here to install the Visitor Stats templates". Note: Even if you are upgrading from a previous version, you should re-install the templates.
  5. Now go to Design > Templates and insert the <MTVisitorStatsTracker> tag before the </head> tag for all templates that you want to track. Note that if you are using the new MT4 default templates, then you only have to do this in one place: click on "Template Modules" from the right side of the page and open the "Header" template module and insert the <MTVisitorStatsTracker> before the </head> tag and then save the module. Note: If you are upgrading from a previous version of Visitor Stats, you can skip this step.
  6. Now Publish (rebuild) all your files.
  7. (Optional) Add the <MTVisitorStatsCounter> tag to your templates or use Widget Manger to add the "Visitor Stats Counter" widget to your sidebar. Pro users can add the "Most Read Entries" widget and start using the many new templates tags.

Get Visitor Stats Pro

Commercial License - $97

Non Commercial Use License - $33

Get Visitor Stats

Visitor Stats (Basic Version) is free to members of MT Hacks.

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Potential Future Features

Visitor Stats Pro was a much larger effort than I anticipated. As such, there are still a number of interesting features that may be added in the future. Future features will be determining largely by the requests of Visitor Stats Pro license holders. Here are some of the potential features:

  • Stats on a per author basis. If you have a blog with multiple authors, see which authors are generating the most traffic.
  • Drill-down into statistics. View the traffic history for a single visitor or registered commenter, see how they navigate through your site and which pages they viewed.
  • Geographical stats. See what country, region and city your visitors are coming from.
  • Recommended entries based on common viewing stats. For example "people who read this entry also read these entries..."
  • PHP versions of template tags to support MT's dynamic publishing system.
  • And more...

As always, suggestions, comments, and questions are appreciated.

A Note on the Small Stats Graphs

The small stats graphs included with this version of Visitor Stats are called Sparklines and were inspired by the SparkStats plugin for Wordpress. The sparkline graphs used by the Visitor Stats plugin are powered by the sparkline web service provided by bitworking.org. The plugin stores a copy of the image on your blog, and updates the image a maximum of once per hour (note that that stats image only updates when the page is published, either manually or automatically when someone posts a comment, etc.). Credit goes to those sites discussed above for their cool work with Sparklines.

These Movable Type Podcasting Templates are designed to be used with the Podcasting Plugin, created by Byrne Reese. In fact, the templates were created by Bryne, and I have simply package them up so you can easily install them with the Template Installer plugin.

Included Templates

Both of the templates below are replacements for the default Atom and RSS templates. Note that these can be used on any blog, even if you are not podcasting. The templates will check each entry for a podcast item, and only add the necessary podcasting bits if it finds one.

  • Atom - Movable Type 4 Atom Feed index template with support for podcasts
  • RSS - Movable Type 4 RSS Feed index template with support for podcasts

Requirements

Installation

Install is easy, using the Template Installer plugin:

Download and expand the zip file.
Upload the 'podcasting_templates' folder to the /plugins/TemplateInstaller/template_sets/ directory of your MT4 install. (Make sure to upload both the folder and its contents).
Browse to the blog you want, then go to Design > Templates then click the "Install Templates" link on the lower right.
From the dropdown, choose the "Podcasting Templates" set and click "continue".

Note that your existing versions of these templates will be automatically backed up during the template installation process.

Get MT4 Podcasting Templates

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A new feature in MT4 enables users to login via OpenID. This makes it easy to login to comment on MT4 blogs: simply enter your OpenID URL and you are good to go. But what if you don't have an OpenID. They are easy to get, but I thought it would be cool if you could use your own MT blog URL, and use your MT installation account to login to other MT sites to comment. That is exactly what the OpenID Server plugin enables you to do.

When I first set out to built an OpenID Server plugin for MT, I thought is was going to be a lot of work and steep learning curve. But then I discovered that such a plugin was previously created over 2 years ago for MT 3.2, created by Mark Paschal and Brad Choate of Six Apart. I merely moved things around a bit to suit MT4, made a few minor tweaks, and added a template tag to make it easy to setup. As such, 99% percent of the credit goes to Mark and Brad. I just thought it would be cool to login to other MT4 blogs using my MT install login account -- it kinda brings the whole OpenID thing full circle.

Screencast

Notice the URL in the address bar after I click the OpenID "Sign In" button:

Requirements

  • MT4
  • Net::OpenID::Server Perl Module (included)

Installation

  1. Extact the files from the zip file and upload the contents of the 'plugins' folder to the 'plugins' directory of your MT installation
  2. Upload the contents of the 'extlib' directory to the 'extlib' directory.
  3. Change the permissions on the /plugins/openid-server/server.cgi file to 755 (CHMOD 755)
  4. In your author profile, set your Website URL to the URL you wish to use as your OpenID profile URL.
  5. In the <head> section of that page, add the HTML tag:
  6. <link rel="openid.server" href="<MTCGIPath>plugins/openid-server/server.cgi" />

    OR (easier)

    <$MTOpenIDHeader$>

  7. If your profile page is a static HTML page, replace "http://mt-hacks.com/cgi-bin/mt/" with the full CGIPath to the copy of Movable Type where the plugin is installed.

  8. To sign in with OpenID, when presented with an OpenID signon form, enter the URL to your

  9. profile URL. If you are not logged in to Movable Type, you will be prompted to log in.

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The OpenID Server plugin is free software.

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Downloads: 349

Note: I probably should submit this version to code.sixapart.com, but I am not sure hwo to do that. I have never used Trac, nor contributed to any open source software before. I am not sure what the best practices are here, etc. I am sure somebody will point me in the right direction here...

Comment Titles is a plugin for Movable Type that adds a "Title" field for comments. Commenters can (optionally) add a Title to their comment. Comment Titles can be viewed and edited from the admin interface.

Screenshot

Template Tags

Comment Titles provides one new template tag:

  • <MTCommentTitle> - This tag will display the the title for the comment in context. If the comment does not have a title, this tag will output nothing.

Requirements

  • MT 4.01+

Note: Due to a bug in MT 4.0 that I found while developing this plugin, Comment Titles will not work with 4.0. You need 4.01 (or newer).

Installation

  1. Download and extract the zip file. Upload the contents of the 'plugins' directory to the 'plugins' directory of your Movable Type installation.
  2. Add a "title" field to your comment form. If you are using the default MT4 templates, go to Design>Templates, then "Template Modules" from the right side of the page. Then choose the "Comment Form" template. You can place the field anywhere between the <form and </form> tags, but I recommend after the URL field. Below the "comment-form-url" div, add:

    <div id="comment-form-title">
    <label for="comment-title">Title</label>
    <input id="comment-title" name="title" size="30" value="<MTIf name="comment_preview_template"><$MTCommentTitle$></MTIf>" />
    </div>


  3. Next, display the Comment Title on your published page by adding the <MTCommentTitle> tag to your Entry (Individual Archive) template. If you are using the default MT4 templates, then go to Design>Templates, then "Template Modules" from the right side of the page. Then choose the "Comment Detail" template. You can decide where you want to display the title, but one option is to place it right before the comment body (before the comment-content div):

    <MTIfNonEmpty tag="MTCommentTitle"><div class="comment-content">
    <strong><$MTCommentTitle$></strong>
    </div></MTIfNonEmpty>

    Note that in the above example, I have used the MTIfNonEmpty tag. By doing so, the HTML for the title will only be displayed if a title exists for that comment. This avoids extra blank lines and other markup when comments don't have titles.


  4. Publish your entry pages and you are done.

Get Comment Titles

Commercial License - $97.00

Personal License - Free

Comment Titles is free for personal, non-commercial use.

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Downloads: 331

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As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Ajax Comments is a plugin for Movable Type 4 that enables your commenters to post comments using Ajax, without the page refreshing.

Live Demo

The best way to describe Ajax Comments is to show you. Try it out right now on the MT Test Blog. Click here to post a comment on the test entry.

Template Sets

To make Ajax Rating easy to setup, 6 templates are included. The following templates are new ones:

Ajax Comments Javascript (index template) - Contains links to the Javascript needed to posta comment.
YUI Javascript (template module) - Contains references to YUI Javascript libraries hosted externally.

...and 4 templates that are replacements for MT4 default templates: (Note: if you already customized these templates, you may have to do some manual template customization here. The installer will back up your existiing versions of these template.)

  • Comments (template module)
  • Comment Form (template module)
  • Comment Preview (system template)
  • Comment Response (system template)

The above templates can be easily installed by clicking the "install templates" button in the plugin settings (requires the Template Installer plugin).

Spam Protect

Ajax Comments can also be used to reduce your spam load significantly with "Spam Protect". Spam Protect is enabled by default, but you can disable it in the plugin settings. Spam Protect tricks automated spambots by tricking them into posting comments to the wrong URL. I have used this technique for a few years, and it makes a big difference is spam volume as server load. The one drawback to using Spam Protect is that commenters must have Javascript enabled to successfully post comments -- the tiny percentage of people who have Javascript disbaled will be sent to the "fake" Spam Protect URL. To minimize the CPU load from spambots, I recommend setting the Spam Protect URL to a non-existant page, so the bots will get a 404 "page not found" error.

Requirements

Installation

  • Download and extract the zip file. Upload the contents of the 'plugins' folder to the 'plugins' directory of your Movable Type installation.
  • Go the the plugin settings (Preferences > Plugins, then click Ajax Comments then Settings). Install the templates by clicking the button.
  • (Optional) Return to the plugin settings and adjust the Spam Protect settings and save.
  • Edit your "Header" template module. Go to Design > Templates then choose "Template Modules" from the right side of the page. Open the "Header" template. Look for a line that says:
    <MTIf name="feedback_template">

    After that line, add the following two lines:

    <$MTInclude module="YUI Javascript"$>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="<$MTLink template="ajax_comments_javascript"$>"></script>

  • Ensure that you have the "Use Comment Confirmation Page" setting checked under Preferences > Blog Settings > Comments. This is checked by default in new MT4 blogs. It must be checked for Ajax Comments to work.

  • Rebuild your Entry Archives.

Get Ajax Comments

Commercial License - $97.00

Personal License - Free

Ajax Comments is free for personal, non-commercial use.

Download Now

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Downloads: 1264

Membership required, please sign-in or register:

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

Ajax Rating is a plugin for Movable Type that enables visitors to rate your entries or your blog.

Try it now by rating this blog:

  • Currently 3.7/5
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The "Pro" version of Ajax Rating lets you rate comments, trackbacks, categories, authors, tags, and just about anything else. Added features include threshold viewing for comments based on rating, listing "hot" items, and comment reporting. More details on the Pro version below.

Ajax Rating is easy to setup and use. After downloading the plugin and installing the files, a few simple changes to your templates will enable you to adding Ajax Star Raters to your entries. For example, just add <MTAjaxStarRater type="entry"> to after the <MTEntryBody> tag and you are done - instant Ajax Star Ratings.

New in Version 1.11

Update 9/7/07 11:15 EDT: - Version 1.11 has been released, which fixes 2 bugs, one that affected new MT4 installs in which the tables didn't get added,. and the other affect the star rater under dynamic publishing. If you downloaded version 1.1 yesterday or earlier today, you should updgrade to v1.11 using the download link below.

Ajax Rating v1.11 adds full support for Movable Type 4 (including Ajax Rating Pro). Version 1.11 supports three major versions of MT: 3.2, 3.3x, and 4.0+. Apart from adding MT4 support, there are no new features in this version. Also note that the Templater Installer plugin is required when installing Ajax Rating on MT4.

Download Now

Download Now (Ajax Rating for Personal Use)
Downloads: 6672

Ajax Rating Pro

Ajax Rating Pro has a lot more features:

  • Thumbs up /down (or plus/minus) rating modes
  • Display listings of top rated items
  • Rate comments and other objects
  • Hide comments below a certain rating threshold
  • Enable visitors to choose their own threshold
  • Include a button for reporting spam or inappropriate comments
  • Display "hot lists" based on recent voting activity

Digg-like Functionality

The "hot lists" feature mentioned above is one of the most powerful features of Ajax Rating. It can be used to enable Digg-like functionality, in which your home page can be set to display only the items that are "popular now". Used this way, the ratings become a filter for the content you feature on the home page. If you have a site or blog network with new entries be added frequently, this feature is especially useful. In a typical blog-format home page, entries get pushed lower down the page every time a new one is posted, so even popular entries can get pushed off the home page quickly on a busy site. Ajax Ratings gives you an alternative to this, displaying the hottest entries first, as determined by visitor rankings. This is automatic, and you can define the "hot" time frame (1 day, 3 days, 2 weeks, etc.). Ajax Rating hot lists can really change the dynamics of a site, and may inspire ideas for new ratings-driven sites.

Comment Viewing Threshold

Sites like Slashdot, Scoop-powered sites, and Digg have a similar feature, which hides comments if they are below a certain rating or score threshold. Referred to as a comment viewing threshold or a "collaborative filtering tool", the idea is to display top-rated comments prominently, while hiding or collapsing lower rated comments. With the Ajax Rating plugin, it is possible to do this with Movable Type comments. The plugin is very flexible in how you want to set this, but a common approach might be to enable readers to vote each comment "up" or "down" (plus or minus, thumbs up, thumbs down, etc.). A vote up would equal +1 point and a vote down would equal -1 point. You then set a default viewing threshold. For example, you might choose -10 as the default, meaning that comments with a total score of less than -10 will appear collapsed (or partially or completely hidden, you choose). Collapsed comments can be displayed with a single click. You can also include a form that enables readers to set their own threshold level. Again, this is very customizable, you decide how you want things to work on your site. Take a look at this test entry, which demonstrates both a Star Rater (for the entry) and Plus/Minus comment threshold viewing (for the comments). Set your own threshold using the form at the bottom of the comments and see how the display changes. Similar to the hot list described, above comment viewing thresholds are another way to transform the display of your content based on user ratings.

Rate Anything

Another advanced feature is the ability to rate anything at all. In addition to rating MT objects like entries, comments, categories, authors, and blogs, you can also use Ajax Ratings to rate other things. For example, if you want to create a rater for a movie or book, you can do that. (Example: <$MTAjaxStarRater type="movie" id="23" max_points="5$> -- just remember what movie you assigned the ID 23 to....)

One Vote per IP Address

To prevent people from voting multiple times on the same item, only one vote is accepted per IP address per item.

Template Tags

Template tags for Ajax Rating are available for both static and dynamic (php) publishing.

The following template tags are available in Ajax Rating (free version):

  • <MTAjaxStarRater> - This tag will output a star rater like the one shown above. To rate entries, it must be used in an Entry context (ie. between <MTEntries> and </MTEntries> tags or in the Individual Archive Template. A good spot is just after the <MTEntryBody> tag. The following arguments are supported:
    • type - Recommend (but not required) when rating entries and required when rating a blog. (Example: <MTAjaxStarRater type="entry"> or <MTAjaxStarRater type="blog"). With Ajax Rating Pro, you can also specify the following types: comment, category, author, tag, trackback, or anything else (see "rate anything" above).
    • max_points - Not required for entries and comments, but required for other types. This argument specifies the number of stars that will be displayed. (Example: <MTAjaxStarRater type="blog" max_points="5"> will create a rater with 5 stars)
    • id - For advanced use, the id argument enables you specify a specific object ID number that you want to rate. If you use the tag in the correct context, you don't need to include the 'id' argument. But if you want to place a rater outside of the relevant context, or if you want to rate a non-MT object (see "rate anything" above), then you must specify the id of the object. Normally, you don't want to use this, so forget I mentioned it. ;)
  • <MTAjaxRatingTotalScore> - This will display the total score for the item being rated (adding up the values of all of the ratings made).
  • <MTAjaxRatingAverageScore> - This will display the average score for the item being rated.
  • <MTAjaxRatingVoteCount> - This will display the number of votes or ratings that have been submitted for this item.
  • <MTAjaxRatingEntryMax> - This will display the maximum number of points (stars) for rating entries, as specified in the plugin settings for that blog.

With Ajax Rating Pro, the following tags are also available (in addition to those described above):

  • <MTAjaxRatingList> - A general purpose container tag for displaying listings of "top rated" items in the MT database. The following arguments are available:
    • type - Required. Allowed values are: entry, comment, trackback, category, blog, author, tag. Tip: do not pluralize these types.
    • sort_by - Determines which metric is use to rank the results. Allowed value are: average, votes, total. The default is sorting by total score.
    • sort_order - The sort_order defaults to 'descend' (highest rating first), but you could also specify 'ascend' to show the worst rated items first.
    • blogs - To display a list of items from all blogs on the system, specify blogs="all". Otherwise, leave this out and the list will be restricted to the current blog.
    • show_n - Use this argument to specify the number of items you want to list (the default is 10). (Example: <MTAjaxRatingList type="entry" show_n="15">)
    • hot - Set 'hot' equal to 1 to generate a list of recently "hot" items (this is the powerful feature discussed above). When the 'hot' argument is set to 0 or omitted, the listing will be based on "all time" ratings data. Adding hot="1" will based the listing on recent voting activity only.
  • <MTAjaxRatingEntries> - Same as <MTAjaxRatingList type="entry">. Same arguments as MTAjaxRatingList, but the 'type' argument is not required.
  • <MTAjaxRatingComments> - Same as <MTAjaxRatingList type="comment">. Same arguments as MTAjaxRatingList, but the 'type' argument is not required.
  • <MTAjaxRatingPings> - Same as <MTAjaxRatingList type="trackback">. Same arguments as MTAjaxRatingList, but the 'type' argument is not required.
  • <MTAjaxRatingCategories> - Same as <MTAjaxRatingList type="category">. Same arguments as MTAjaxRatingList, but the 'type' argument is not required.
  • <MTAjaxRatingBlogs> - Same as <MTAjaxRatingList type="blog">. Same arguments as MTAjaxRatingList, but the 'type' argument is not required.
  • <MTAjaxRatingAuthors> - Same as <MTAjaxRatingList type="author">. Same arguments as MTAjaxRatingList, but the 'type' argument is not required.
  • <MTAjaxRatingTags> - Same as <MTAjaxRatingList type="tag">. Same arguments as MTAjaxRatingList, but the 'type' argument is not required.
  • <MTAjaxThumbRater> - Instead of a star rater, this tag will display a thumbs up/down (or plus/minus, etc.) rater. With this type of rater, there are images for voting an item "up" or "down". A vote "up" is equal to 1 point, a vote "down" is equal -1 point. The following arguments are available:
    • type - Recommend (but not required when used in an entry or comment context). (Example: <MTAjaxThumbRater type="comment">). The same types can be used as described for <MTAjaxStarRater> above.
    • id - Same (advanced) usage as described for <MTAjaxStarRater> above.
    • report_icon - This optional argument will display a third button, a "report" button, when used with comment raters. Visitors to your site can click this button to report the comment (for abuse, spam, profanity, etc.). When a comment is reported, an email is sent to the author of that entry, along with a link to edit the comment in question.
  • <MTAjaxRaterOnclickJS> - In addition to the convenient star and thumb raters, you can create your own rater. This tag makes it easier. To enable a rating button (or text link), you need to specify a javascript onclick event. This tag fills in the details. For example suppose you wanted to create a single voting text link for each entry - you could do so as follows: <a href="#" onclick="<$MTAjaxRaterOnclickJS type="entry" points="1"$>">I like it!</a>). Arguments include:
    • type - Recommended (but not required when used in an entry or comment context).
    • id - Same (advanced) usage as described for <MTAjaxStarRater> above.
  • <MTAjaxRatingCommentMax> - This will display the maximum number of points for rating comments, as specified in the plugin settings for that blog.
  • <MTAjaxRatingDefaultThreshold> - This will display the default threshold for viewing comments, as specified in the plugin settings for that blog.
  • <MTIfAjaxRatingBelowThreshold> - This is conditional tag whose contents will be displayed if the comment is below the default threshold, as specified in the settings. Note that this tag does not apply to user-specified thresholds (more on those later).
  • <MTAjaxRatingRefreshHot> - WARNING: You should not use this tag if you have a busy site with high-volume voting activity. This a special tag, it displays no ouput. It simply triggers the process of calculating the list of "hot" items. Note that "hot" list are not tabulated when the listing tags are rebuilt. For performance reasons, this process happens separately, usually via an MT scheduled task that runs automatically (approx) once every hour. If, for some reason, you want to manually refresh to the "hot" list, you can place the <MTAjaxRatingRefreshHot> tag into an index template and rebuild it (be sure to uncheck the "rebuild this template with indexes" box!). Again, this should be used carefully on busy sites, and usually not at all. The "hot" list can also be refreshed via an included cron script (more on this later).
Ajax Rating Settings

The settings for Ajax Ratings looks like this:

The blog settings for Ajax rating Pro looks like this:

Ajax Rating Pro also has a setting that is set only at the system level (Go to System Overview > Plugins). The system setting looks like this:

One of the notable settings is the "Rebuild After a Vote" option. High traffic site with high-volume voting should be careful with this setting. Generally speaking rebuilds can consume a lot of processor cycles, and a significant rebuilding after votes could slow things down, depending on several factors. The best performance option is "No Rebuilds" -- if you choose this option, the page will get update with the reader's vote immediately, but if this refresh the page, their vote won't be reflected (because the page has not yet been rebuilt). In this mode, ratings and votes counts get recorded into the database, but are not reflected on your pages until those pages are rebuilt (such as after a comment is posted to the entry, or manually rebuilt). If you have a site with high volume voting, chances are that you also have high-volume commenting -- if this is true, use the "No Rebuilds" option here and your entries will still be rebuilt every time a comment is posted. The second option here is "Rebuild Entry Only" -- this will only rebuild the Individual Archive template(s) for that entry (or if the vote is for a category, it will only rebuild the relevant category archive page) -- performance-wise, this option is not too bad. The third option is "Rebuild Entry, Archives, Indexes" -- this is the same level of rebuilding that happens when a comment is posted. It is the worst option performance-wise, as many pages may be rebuilt (the individual archive page(s), each of the category pages for the entries categories, any date-based archives enabled, and every index template in your blog. Be careful with this one on high-traffic blogs. The final option is "Build Indexes Only", which will only rebuild your index templates. This option might be suitable if you are only using the "Rate This Blog" widget (more on this later) on your main index. Note that if you are using PHP Dynamic publishing, there is no issue with rebuilds, you can set this to "No Rebuilds" and ratings will always be reflected correctly each time the page is loaded.

Requirements

(Note: If you are running 3.3x or 4.0, installation will be much easier, as the database tables will be automatically created for you. If you are running 3.2, you will need to create the tables manually - or via a utility like phpMyAdmin)

Installation Instructions

  1. Expand the zip file.
  2. Upload the contents of the 'plugins' directory to the 'plugins' directory of your MT install (usually /cgi-bin/mt/plugins)
  3. Upload the contents of the 'mt-static' directory to the static directory created when you installed MT (usually called 'mt-static')
  4. Change the permissions on the mt-vote.cgi and mt-report.cgi (Pro only) files found within /plugins/AjaxRating/ to 755 (CHMOD 755)
  5. Login to Movable Type (or if already logged, click "Main Menu")
  6. If your are running MT 3.3x or 4.0, you should now be redirected to an Upgrade screen that will install the tables for Ajax Rating. If you are running MT 3.2, then you need to create the tables manually, using the ajaxrating.sql file to create these tables.
  7. After the tables have been created, browse to the settings (Preferences>Plugins for MT4 or Settings->Plugins for older versions) for the blog you want. Choose the settings that you want and then save.
  8. Return to the settings and click the "Install Templates" link. This will install the javascript and styles index templates and rebuild them automatically. (Note: if you change you settings in future, remember to manually rebuild this index templates afterwards)
  9. For every template for which you plan to place raters, add the following between the <head> and </head> tags (if you are using the MT4 default templates, go to Template Modules and edit the "Header" template):
  10. <script type="text/javascript" src="<MTStaticWebPath>prototype.lite.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="<MTStaticWebPath>moo.ajax.js"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="<MTBlogURL>ajaxrating.js"></script>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="<$MTBlogURL$>ajaxrating.css" type="text/css" />

  11. Now you can place raters to meet your needs. Most people may want to add something like the following below the <MTEntryBody> tag (if you are using the MT4 default templates, go to Template Modules and edit the "Entry Summary" and "Entry Detail" templates):
  12. <$MTAjaxStarRater type="entry"$>
    Rating: <strong><span id="ajaxrating_entry_<$MTEntryID$>_avg"><$MTAjaxRatingAverageScore type="entry"$></span></strong>/<$MTAjaxRatingEntryMax$> (<span id="ajaxrating_entry_<$MTEntryID$>_cnt"><$MTAjaxRatingVoteCount type="entry"$></span> votes cast)

  13. Add the included Ajax Rating widget to your sidebar. This will display a "Rate this Blog" section that will enable people to rate your blog. (Optional)

  14. Test it out and tell people they can start submitting votes!

For more advanced usage, see the articles linked at the bottom of this entry.

Get Ajax Rating

Ajax Rating is free for personal use, but you must include a link on your home page to http://mt-hacks.com/ajaxrating.html, such as:

Ratings on this site are powered by the <a href="http://mt-hacks.com/ajaxrating.html">Ajax Rating</a> plugin for Movable Type.

Download Now

Download Now (Ajax Rating for Personal Use)
Downloads: 6672

A lot of effort went into this plugin, donations are much appreciated. Suggested donation is $10:

If you wish to use Ajax Rating for commercial use, a commercial license must be purchased for $25:

Get Ajax Rating Pro

Ajax Rating Pro Regular License (1 to 10 blogs)

A regular license for Ajax Rating Pro enable you to use Ajax Rating Pro on up to 10 blogs on a single MT installation. The cost is $249:

Ajax Rating Pro Blog Network License (10+ blogs)

If you want to use Ajax Rating Pro on more than 10 blogs on a single MT installation, you can purchase a "Blog Network License". The blog network license is for unlimited blogs on the same install, and includes up to 2 hours of implementation consulting and a custom multi-blog installation script. The multi-blog installation script can be customized to meet your needs (subject to the 2 hours of consulting time) and includes setup of settings and installation of templates for each blog. The blog network license is $499.

Rater Images and CSS Styles

I did not design the default star graphic used with this plugin, and I did not craft the CSS styles that make it look and work so slick. Much credit for both of these elements goes to Ryan Masuga of Masuga Design. Ryan's Unobtrusive AJAX Star Rating Bar has been downloaded more than 85,000 times! Thank you Ryan.

The plus / minus images, on the other hand, I did design .... and it shows. Graphic design is not my forte. As mentioned above, you can swap out your own images for both types of raters (more on that soon). If anyone out there want to design some better button images, please do! Thumbs up and thumbs down images would be cool, and maybe a better plus/minus set as well. If you design some buttons you want to share, let me know I will post them here or include them with Ajax Rating (giving you credit of course).

Future Features

In the future Ajax Rating Pro will be enhanced even further. If you purchase a license for Ajax Rating Pro, you can help steer the development of new features. I see a lot of potential for this plugin with very active blog sites, and blog networks in particular -- and new features will likely be in this area. Here are a few ideas that may be worth adding if customers are interested:

  • more sophisticated "hot" list algorithms - making this more sophisticated and customizable, so you can fine tune everything to make sure that the popularity filter is promoting those items that help build community and create buzz
  • score summary for authors and commenters - look at which authors have the highest and lowesst rated entries (maybe offer prizes or compensation based on ratings), also look at summarized raters for each commenter, possibly triggering automatic or manual review when commenters have continually poor ratings (troll meter)
  • displaying rating and vote information on the MT admin screens
  • notification thresholds that will flag comments below thresholds, or even rules that automatically unpublish them pending review.

As always, comments, feedback, suggestions are welcome. Please reply to this entry.