December 19, 2004

Templates and Stylesheets

Here are some of the MT 2.* templates translated into 3.*, including dave's favorite plain version.

Thanks to Learning MovableType.

Posted by Jason at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2004

Herd Upgrade Update

As you may have surmised from some recent posts, the upgrade ran into several minor but very inconvenient bugs, mostly having to do with comment spam and the commenting system. Though G.'s post probably adequately sums up my occasional feelings of frustration, I have to say that I found MT's helpdesk staff friendly and knowledgeable. Through our conversations, it appears that we've solved at least some of the issues at hand, cutting down on a great deal of the comment spam that I had seen just after the upgrade.

I think that some better documentation for upgraders would have paid off in spades. Some of the problems were my fault through ignorance (they weren’t in the instructions, so how could I know but through experimentation and troubleshooting). Others were specific bugs in the installation (such as a missing line that should have been added into the mt.cfg file for TypeKey to work). So while I am grateful for the help, I would also hope that Six Apart plans to improve their documentation to make others' transitions less painful.

There are still some quirky things going on occasionally (such as the missing-and-reappearing comment on G's post), so please Herders - if you see something odd happening, please do let me know.

Here are a few things that I know will need to happen before the new MT will work properly. For those of you with truly customized templates, see Further Notes below. Note to those who updated only their Main Index Template and their CSS - you need to completely reset (as below) in order to get all of the templates that you will need. If you don't want to reset, look to Further Notes for more info, or search the wonderful website Learning MovableType for more advanced instructions.

1. Backup your old templates (especially Main Index and Stylesheet). You can do this by opening Templates and cutting/pasting Main Index and Stylesheet into individual files. Use a plain text editor like Notepad (Windows) or SimpleText (Mac).

2. (Notice: this will set templates to default, so any customizations WILL BE LOST - including headers, blogrolls, and so forth. You will use your backups to restore these items by hand in the new index template). Reset your templates according to the instructions here:

3. Rebuild. If you want to use a different style, there are 5 to choose from at this location. Make sure you use the 3.0 CSS.

4. Note the differences between the old and new CSS. The new CSS and HTML templates are much easier to work with generally speaking, because they avoid putting div tags within div tags within div tags, which was the tactic of 2.6 and earlier.

5. Re-insert important features of your old template, such as your blogroll, your biography, and so forth. Keep in mind that you can renew your blogroll code by logging into your blogroll account. G. put instructions for Recent Trackbacks here. G - did you use the 2.6 method for setting "Previous Comments" on the main index?

6. Check your work. Decide how you want to set permissions for commenters. The Blacklist has been working reasonably well the past few days, so that may be fixed. For the time being, I personally plan to set my comments to TypeKey post immediately; non-registered users moderated. If comment spam continues to be blocked, I'll likely open up my comments to a less restrictive setting.

Further Notes:
For those of you with custom templates -- there are instructions on the web on how to convert 2.6 to 3.*. Once I find them again, I'll post the links here so you can use them. If you just have a custom header (an image, for example), and different font and background colors, you might find it easier just to tweak the new CSS and Index instead of attempting to convert your old one.

If you need any help, just let me know. I'm usually on MSN Messenger and YahooIM if I'm online, or just send an email to my umd account.

Posted by Jason at 5:29 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

Completely Reset Templates

Proceed at your own risk :)

To completely reset your templates, log into MT, click on your webblog. Look at the URL. At the end of the URL, it reads something like "blog_id=#" where # is your blog ID #. Remember what that number is.

IMPORTANT: you will lose all personalized data, from links to blogroll codes - SO MAKE A BACKUP FIRST OF AT LEAST YOUR MAIN TEMPLATE AND YOUR CSS BEFORE PROCEEDING ANY FURTHER.

Paste in this URL, replacing BLOGID with your own blog #.

This will update all of your templates to the default 3.12 MT templates, including adding the ones that are missing from 2.61 configuration. A great shortcut for those who are not running customized templates (except for links and blogrolls, the code of which you can save and re-enter into the new templates).

Thanks to Movalog for the tip.

Posted by Jason at 9:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 13, 2004

Learning Movable Type

Elise Bauer has generously written some valuable documentation called Learning Movable Type, which includes wonderful advice about updating from MT2.6 to MT3.*. Look at, for instance, her wonderful instructions on how to update 2.6 templates in order to use the new TypeKey features.

A lot more is available in the table of contents, so check it out.

Posted by Jason at 5:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 10, 2004

Comments Broken, Now Fixed

Comments on all wordherders blogs were broken for an hour or so this afternoon, but all is now right with the world blogs. Comment away.

Posted by Jason at 3:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 6, 2004

Ping Problems?

If you are having ping problems and blogrolling isn't updating you, add:

to the box Notify the following sites when I update my blog located here in the MT user interface:

Main Menu > Editing Menu > Configuration > Preferences > Publicity / Remote Interfaces / TrackBack

[thanks to Vika!]

Posted by Jason at 7:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 10, 2003


Lack of activity here on the main herder page certainly doesn't reflect a lack in the individual blogs. Unfortunately, spammers aren't slacking off either, including a few less than savory spams I found on misc. this morning.

Let's just say, I don't think the spammers were feminists.

In any case, this is something to pay attention to on all WordHerder blogs. You might want to scan your recent comments and *certainly* delete the offending spam - we don't want to encourage spammers by giving them a free forum. It's a pain, but an unfortunate fact of online communities is that they require moderation.

By the way - the MT edit page lists the five most recent comments - but is there a way to list *all* comments in order to track down old spam that slipped past (without going through every individual post looking for it)?

Posted by Jason at 8:50 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 15, 2003

Pings, Again

Some blogs seem to be having trouble pinging - there are no errors, but they aren't actually showing as "updated" in BlogRolls either. I'm not really sure what is going on, so if anyone happens to have suggestions, I'm all ears.

I know it is happening on the main Wordherder blog, as well as with the new one: Raining Cats and Dogma.

EDIT: Ok, I think I might know. Under Weblog Config/Preferences, make sure that "Notify the following sites when I update my blog" has checkmarks next to both "" and "". Now, even if they do, Save, then Rebuild.

I just did that for Dogma, and it seems to have worked. Hopefully it really is just that easy.

Posted by Jason at 5:49 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 5, 2003

Word Herder Help

Beginnings of a help section available in the extended entry of this post. Feel free to add comments or edit the post to flesh out the section.

MovableType General Info

The MovableType website - - has a ton of great information. It also has some CSS templates that allow you to change the look of your website. If you accidently mess up your templates - either HTML, CSS, or others - you can download originals for the MT website as well.

The only templates you should need to change are the CSS and HTML ones. The others should be fine as is.

Logging into MT

You log into Movabletype here:


Use the FTP account information sent to you. If you lost your information, email me.

A good FTP program is WS_FTP. Get it at If you are on a Mac, let me know and I'll find something else for you.

Basic HTML help

Confused by HTML and/or CSS? Here are a few helpful links to help you brush up:


Your webspace has an "images" directory in it. In order for your images to show up both in the regular blog and in the archive, you should write your image code the following way:

<img src="/images/filename.jpg"> or <img src="/images/filename.gif"> where filename is the name of your image file.

The / in front of the images directory refers to your local web "root" - this is basically a short version of a direct link. If you use a relative link (e.g., forget to put that / in front), then the images will be broken when archives are saved.

Code for logo

If you want to put the little wordherders logo on your website, here's the code to do so:


Setting up a blogroll is an easier way to keep track of the blogs you frequent. Sign up only requires an active e-mail address. Once you get set up, you can add links and sort them by a variety of means (random, alphabetically, etc). The free version allows one blogroll, which is usually sufficient. In your preferences section, you choose a character (I use the ^ sign) to signify that the blog has been updated.


Log in on the web or set up to pop/imap from home. Your login includes the @wordherders.

Pings and TrackBacks

Built in to Movable Type are some useful automated features for letting other sites know when you've posted a new entry (this is what allows the "recently updated" feature in Blogrolling to work, for example) and for providing two-way linking between blogs (called TrackBacks, see this explanation, if you like). The following directions explain how to activate these features.

  1. Choose "Weblog Config" from the lefthand menu.
  2. On the next page, select "Publicity / Remote Interfaces / TrackBack."
  3. Check the boxes for "" and "" These are centralized sites that other applications will consult to see if your blog has recently been updated. If someone is using a blogroll to list a link to your site on their page, the list will now be able to indicate when you have posted a new entry.
  4. Scroll down a bit and select "Allow Pings on by default." If someone links to one of your blog entries in one of their blog entries, this will allow a "TrackBack" to their entry to register in your entry; i.e. a link to their entry appears at the bottom of yours. Voila! Two-way linking.
  5. If you'd like to be notified by email when someone sends a TrackBack to your site, then check "Email new TrackBack pings."
  6. Finally, in order to enable your blog entries to register TrackBacks on other people's blog entries, check the "Turn on TrackBack auto-discovery?" box.

"Recent Comments" on Main Page

Let's say you want to add a "recent comments" section to your blog sidebar. In April of 2003, Liz Lawley generously posted some of her template files, and by using the relevant portions of her code, you can pull this trick off.

Here's how you do it

On your "Main Index" template, insert the following code in your sidebar where you want your recent comments to be displayed. Change the value for the lastn attribute of the MTComments tag to indicate how many comments you want displayed.

Then in the template for your "Individual Entry Archive," change the relevant section of code so that it looks like this:

It's just that easy.

"Recent Trackbacks" on main page

If you want to put a "Recent Trackbacks" list on your main page, use the following code:

Change the "lastn" value to whatever you like.

Coming Soon

Other helpful tips. And miscellany.

NOTE: Comments closed on this entry due to massive spam.

Posted by Jason at 10:13 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack