Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

More tinkering with MT 3.3

I’ve had more time to play around with Movable Type 3.3 Beta 1 on my Mac. The bugs I mentioned last time seem to have gone away, despite my best efforts at reproducing them – I’m guessing it may have been some cached JavaScript or some other FastCGI problem that was fixed after a reboot of my system. So it’s now working fine, which is nice.
The tags support offered by MT 3.3 is actually very good – it creates another field on your ‘edit entry’ pages and tags can be separated either using spaces or commas. They do not affect the use of categories, meaning that you can add entries to a category and also assign tags to them, nor do they replace the keywords field which is still there. I’m currently using the keywords field for my bespoke tags system on this site, but I can easily move over to the new field with a few SQL queries. Each weblog also has a tag management screen where tags can be batch-deleted or changed. Currently, visitors cannot assign tags to entries but by the sounds of things every plugin author and his dog is currently trying to change that.
The search system has seen some attention, and fixes one huge gripe that I’ve had with it ever since it was introduced in Movable Type 2.5, back in 2003. Until now, the template for the search result pages has been stored in a file which has to be modified over FTP or in the file system, as it’s not reachable through the MT admin interface. Now, a ‘System’ template has been added to edit this, thus making it much easier to edit. The search system has also been updated to allow for tag searching, and you can subscribe to feeds of search results.
In fact, feeds are everywhere. Weblog administrators can subscribe to feeds for new comments, entries, trackback pings and activity log entries, and search results can also be subscribed to, as can new tags. My only worry is that these feeds use CGI scripts which for some sites may lead to greatly increased load if an environment like FastCGI or mod_perl isn’t available – a PHP version of this using dynamic publishing may have been a better method.
Importing entries has been made a bit easier, as you can now use a form to upload entries from your computer rather than needing to transfer them by FTP. And the settings default to a ‘simplified’ view which hides many of the less-important settings. They’re easily available to view if needed.
Many of the other changes have happened behind the scenes – new template tags are available, particularly for tags and search results, and there’s some new stuff that plugins can do.
As I said, it’s not a huge update like 3.2 was over 3.1, but there’s some nice changes there. I’ll be upgrading this site to it in the coming weeks.

One Comment

  1. My only worry is that these feeds use CGI scripts which for some sites may lead to greatly increased load if an environment like FastCGI or mod_perl isn’t available – a PHP version of this using dynamic publishing may have been a better method.

    You’d have to have a lot of authors to worry about load caused by the internal feeds. As far as the external feeds go, we’ll be working on a new version of search in a future version which will alleviate this concern.
    Apparently Joe D’Andrea has a PHP-based search script called Seeker, although I have yet to see it released publicly.