Blog addiction

I'm damn sure that like coffee and cigarettes, blogs contain some chemical that makes them addictive. I've been tinkering again with And All That Malarkey.

I'm damn sure that like coffee and cigarettes, blogs contain some chemical that makes them addictive. Just because I felt like it, I've been tinkering again with And All That Malarkey, although this time the changes are mostly 'under the duvet'.


I've not yet felt the need to switch from MT or even to upgrade versions from 2.6 to 3. It's not that I'm a cheapskate or even too lazy, just that MT 2.6 still does (almost) everything that I want it to do for the moment. I have installed a few new plug-ins though.


I've been using MTFlipFlop for a while to help create different styles for alternate comments. Now I've added MTSwitch to allow me to adorn my own comments with my 'target' logo, as well as the tasty Brit Pack badges. Using MTSwitch is very simple, adding,

<MTSwitch value="[MTCommentAuthor]"<
<MTSwCase value="Author">Author</MTSwCase>

to my template <MTComments> area. Then a simple snippet of CSS adds the badges.

dl.Author {
background : url(britpack.gif) no-repeat right top;


I've also installed MTAcronym to save time writing my columns. As I write with text formatting set to none, acronyms can be time consuming, so this handy plug-in now does it for me. It comes in two parts, a CGI script and a database file which are both installed in the MT plug-ins directory. Then I added the acronym attribute to any MT tags that I felt needed it, for example.

<$MTEntryBody acronym="1"$>


I'm not sure why I haven't got around to this before, but I have never used any MT archives other than the category archives. Now that the site has been running a while, I decided to add monthly archives and column listings to make the older posts easier to find.

MT Keywords

Up until now I have always placed my small headline images in the <$MTEntryExcerpt$> field, along with the intro text. But as my category archives got fuller, these pages started to take much longer to download than I liked. Now (after seeing how Mr. Budd set up the Web Standards Awards site), with all new posts I am putting the headline images into the <$MTEntryKeywords$> field which excludes them from the monthly and category archive pages.

It's a wrap

That about wraps it up (until the next compulsive fiddle). Let me know if anything is broken.


  1. #1 On November 7, 2004 03:46 AM patrick h. lauke said:

    i think i'll be making a teutonicPack badge for myself and add it via a site-specific user css file, so i can feel special when i comment here as well...

    good stuff though :)

  2. #2 On November 7, 2004 05:42 AM Rod said:

    That MTAcronym seems like it would really useful. I've never even paid any attention to it when I scanned the MT plugins directory. But it will definately get some attention now. Good find.

  3. #3 On November 7, 2004 09:11 AM Richard@Home said:

    Have you checked out Gravatar Yet?

    Example from my blog of Gravatar in action (scroll down to the comments).

  4. #4 On November 7, 2004 09:45 AM Malarkey said:

    @ Richard: Gravatar looks interesting, but personally I prefer to see this site my way. Selfish I know, but true.

  5. #5 On November 7, 2004 11:25 AM Richard@Home said:

    Can't argue with that :-)

  6. #6 On November 8, 2004 09:42 AM Phil Baines said:

    I am glad that you have added the archives. I was wondering about that.

    Out of interest, does anyone else around here feel that the blogging community are forgetting that MovableType is not actually a main stream technology? People in this community seem to have started talking about MT as if it is comparible to XHTML, or CSS.

    I'm not saying that giving out tips on MT is a bad thing, but we have to remember that web development doesn't = MT.

    I myself, I will always develop my own blogging system, and by doing so I think I will learn more about technologies that can help me in the job I do.

    I know someone as yourself Andy has no interest in learning programming skills, or server side technologies. So MT suits you fine. But I worry that some people will forget that the option is there to learn how to program for the web (maybe newbies), and think that MovableType is something that they HAVE to learn to become good web developers, not PHP or, or (god forbid) ColdFusion.

    (I hope I haven't stuck my neck on the block with this one)

    Still, I am glad that you have added archives! ;)

  7. #7 On November 8, 2004 01:44 PM Malarkey said:

    @ Phil Baines: Interesting points. I write about MT for the same reasons I write about CSS and design topics, because it is something that I know a little about and it interests me.

    Many blog readers have their own sites and personally I continue to be interested in how things can be achieved. Only last week, Dan Cederholm pointed to the MTSwitch plug-in that I am now using, and this made my badges thing possible.

    I can't easily believe that anyone would confuse talking about MT with 'hard-core' development. There are lots of sites that discuss .Net and other techie-dev stuff and this isn't going to be one of them. Not because I'm not interested in these areas, or in learning new skills, but because I cannot write about them with confidence.

    So MT suits you fine

    MT does indeed suit me just fine for this site, but as you know, in our studio we use a range of technologies including ASP, PHP, .Net, XML and XSLT. It's all about selecting the most appropriate tool for the job in hand.

    To me, learning .Net, PHP or Coldfusion is about as likely as me learning ActionScript, 3DMax or Lightwave. I'm not going to learn Sage Line 50 either, or carpentry, or motorbike maintenance, or flower arranging... ;)

    So, I'll stick to writing about what I know (CSS, mark-up and design) and hope that you guys continue to read it.

  8. #8 On November 8, 2004 03:56 PM John Oxton said:

    I have to fall on the side of MT notes are good, I have never used it and would like to get a feel for the mark-up. I do the same with TXP (as does Mr. Hicks way before me) and a number of people have said how useful it has been when they were considering which CMS to choose.

    Hardcore it may not be but skilled it certainly is. As for writing your own CMS, that seems bonkers with so many good free one's to choose from and a large community of people offering help and support. I did actually start a 'road map' for a CMS, which is now in the bin... needless to say all roads now lead to TXP. Still respect to anyone who has commited to doing thier own!

  9. #9 On November 9, 2004 11:05 AM Phil Baines said:

    After posting that comment, i realised how little sense it really made. Sorry about that guys.

    My reasoning for developing my own blogging/cms is not that I don't want to use MovableType, TextPattern, or any of the others; but that I hope to teach myself some new tricks in the process. I am a programmer at the core, with an big interest in design and web standards.