Upgraded to MT 4.0

Another half a year, another upgrade.

The installation instructions suggest untarring on the server and installing the files on the server.  I know how to install by FTP, and that’s what I did. 

MT says it has the best documentation of any blogging software. I
suppose it does, given how sparse the documentation on Open Source software can be. They still take things for granted. Thousands of users may know how to untar on in the server, and where to unpack the files, and how to move them to the mt-static and cgi-bin/mt folders.  Thousands must know how to effect a fresh install on the server.  It’s still all geek to me.

I have started to use the new features, and started to change several templates and then to apply a new layout and style.  A few hours later, I think it’s working decently. The style (at this moment) is called Portland.

The upgrade brings some new functions on the author and administrator side including a real WYSIWYG editor.
The dashboard and controls on the administration and control side are
much clearer, and the navigation is simpler, with screen links
to save navigation up, across and back down.
They have a new way of saving images and media files into the MySQL
database and CMS as assets and managing them. The old system involved
uploading the image files to the server and linking to them from blog
entries. I have started to put photos in a separate database in
Gallery, so I don’t know how this is going to work for me. I will get a Gallery random image block running in the
sidebar of the blog

They have added a new publishing feature called a page.  It can be written like an entry but it is not published to the main index page or to the entry archive.  It is published to a folder, and can be used as regular web page.  MT pages will be indexed for Tags, but not for the time based archive lists..

MT
have done some good work work on the design side. The template system
is really neat. It’s not actually new – they went there with MT 3.34 I
think, but they have tuned it and they are really encouraging adopting
the new templates. Unfortunately they have backward compatibility
issues. The upgrade respects existing php or html templates for
entries, the existing main page template, and existing stylesheets. It
refuses to refresh any template that it recognizes as customer. There a
work around to refresh all templates, but this has to finished by a
poorly documented process of deleting some legacy templates, and
mapping some of the new templates to output the right files. This is
slow and frustrating because it is trial and error to find the stuff
that has to be deleted.

I wasn’t that fond of my
customizations, so I was prepared to blow them out and try the new
templates and styles.  It was useful to find the points that could be
changed and to see how it played out on screen.
With that out of the way, style changes are easier. Changing from a
three column to a two column style involves changing a couple of
letters in one of the master templates, or running the Stylecatcher
plug-in. Most of the hard editing work goes into changing things in the
sidebar templates, which seems to be a matter of cuttiing and pasting
widgets (MT talk for blocks of codes).  They have some widgets for some
several basic customizations like getting a drop-down list of monthly
archives instead of a list of past months.  The sidebar templates have
“if” conditions to change published output depending whether the
sidebar is called for the main index, an entry, or a list of entries by
date, category or tag, while keeping a basic organization and
appearance.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *