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July 15, 2004

My Movable Type Customizations, Links to Templates

Please excuse the untidiness of this weblog during the past week. In the shift to Movable Type, I've not gotten into a satisfactory routine yet as far as a method for posting and then checking the post. Also, I've done a lot of fiddling with the formatting, which is in some computer language of which I don't even know the name (java? perl?). I am happy that nonetheless I can use trial and error and a bit of thinking to make the changes I want.

Just in case anybody likes my customizations, and so I'll remember them myself, I'm posting my "templates". Unfortunately I didn't think till halfway through to start putting in comments to indicate where I changed things, but I did document a little of it. A preliminary warning: I first downloaded Movable Type 3.0, but the trackbacks didn't work and the manual is written for MT 2.6 and hence is wrong for the new version. So with some effort I found MT 2.661 and moved everything over to it, which seems to work better.

Movable Type has various templates. Most of them seem to be totally unimportant, I discovered after some effort. The two that really matter are the Main Index and the Stylesheet.

My new Main Index template is http://www.rasmusen.org/x/archives/main.index.july15.2004.htm. Here's some of what I did:

  1. I replaced the default search with a freeware Picosearch searcher box. This allows me to search my old archives as well as the new Movable Type archives (I copied the old archives to the new directory), and to allow ANY WORDS and SPECIFIC PHRASE searches.
  2. I deleted the calendar (who uses an archive calendar, anyway?).
  3. I added my photo.
  4. I moved the ancillary materials-- search box, archives, etc.-- from the side to the top, and widened the main entry. I would have liked to narrow the lefthand gray vertical strip, but I couldn't figure out how.
  5. I added a Policies link to a separate HTML file.
  6. I arranged the Archives listing, latest 10 topics, search engine, and so forth to try to look ok and not waste too much space. I retained the "Powered by Movable Type", even though I think I could easily have deleted it, since the MT people should get some credit for providing this for free.
  7. I added my email address and a link to the old archives and weblog.
  8. I put "Recent Entries" and the title of each entry into a red font.
My new Stylesheet template is http://www.rasmusen.org/x/archives/stylesheet_july14.2004.htm. I think the main thing I did there was to indent paragraphs.

The Individual Archive template controls posts viewed individually instead of all strung together. My new Individual Archive template is http://www.rasmusen.org/x/archives/indivdiual.entry.archive.july15.2004.htm. I increased the font size and put the heading "Comment" in red. I ought to put the names of comment authors in red too- haven't done that yet.

The Data-Based Archive controls the archives of a given month all strung together in one file. My new Data-Based Archive template is http://www.rasmusen.org/x/archives/databased.archive.july15.2004.htm. I increased the font size and put the titles in red, and changed the spacing.

Movable Type is nice because it provides satisfactory default formatting but does allow customization in this way.

Posted by erasmuse at July 15, 2004 11:06 PM

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