Over the last few days I fixed the template for the page (Individual Entry Archives) with the Comment Entry fields to fix Typekey Login for commenters. I also experimented with some MT plugins – Stylecatcher, MTProtect, and CCode/TCode. I also spent some time redesigning and editing my web pages.
I wanted to see how the Stylecatcher styles looked. I am not a graphic designer and it makes sense to use a semi-professional look, perhaps with minor customizing. Stylecatcher installs easily, and it changes the look of the blog instantly. The preconditions for using it are MT 3.2 and refreshing the templates to the new defaults. It replaces the site Stylesheet with a short sheet that invokes two stylecatcher sheets installed in the mt-static/themes directory. The limitation on Stylecatcher is that the sheets invoked are not accessible for editing in the MT Templates interface. I suppose there is a way to link them, and I believe the invoked sheets can be edited in a text editor. The default is a two column display set to 680 pixels horizontallly, like the Typepad defaults. I decided to go back to my own stylesheet. I found that Stylecatcher doesn’t seem to allow for a simple removal of the Stylecatcher styles. It allows for downloading and installing more Stylecatcher styles from the MT Style library, or reinstalling any style previous installed and saved (in a theme subdirectory) on your server. Getting back to my old stylesheet was not hard – I just renamed the Stylecatcher-created Site Stylesheet and then renamed the backup as the active sheet again.
I was able to view the CSS sheets for the files saved on my server and get colour codes, which was convenient. Colorzilla, a Firefox extension checks colours and saves colour codes to the Windows clipboard, is also handy. I used that information to make several design changes to my restored Site Stylesheet. I muted the stark white screens and got away from the bright red and blues. I used the HTML text-decorate property in hover links.
MT Protect is a nice concept but implementing it was hard. The download, unzip, upload, enable went fine but there is some template editing involved. The directions on the designer’s Wiki are not very good and it was hard to decide where to position the tags in the Index templates (did I say that you have to edit templates??). The MTEntryProtect Tag is supposed to go inside the MTEntries Tag. Some templates use variants and it was tricking finding the right starting point, and the right place for the closing tag among a host of division closing tags. I used it to put a password on some of the material I imported from my old private blog. I think I got it working. I protected about 25 entries at once, as a block. Entering the password for any single entry seems to reveal everything protected in the block at once. I am going to play with it to see what happens to a single protected entry. (If I gave you the password to the private blog, you have the password for these entries. So far the protected entries are old entries in the Journal category. Nothing new there.)
I think I will see about some text editing plugins and the spell-checker. I have found an ergonomic trick that helps. After Steve told me how to zoom in Firefox (Ctrl+ or Ctrl- ), I see the entry screen in a large font face, and I can proof-read more effectively.
I redesigned the Sea of Flowers Web pages with a sidebar column and I edited them for HTML validity after running the Tidy validator in my text editor. I did some editing and played with a little CSS, mainly in font sizes and font families. Applying the new blog colours to my Web site CSS was simple.
2 responses to “More blog changes”
I like the new mustardy look of the site. I liked the blue, too… though it felt a bit corporate.
Not sure about the mustard colour, and I think you could consider making the column width shorter. I find I have to reduce the size of the window to read an entry.
You have much more patience than I do with MT. I’ll live with WordPress for the nonce, until something else blows up…