Tinkering with Typepad (Movable Type)

Guy Kawasaki over at Signum sine tinnitu wrote:

Blogging technology is a piece of cake. TypePad powers my blog, and this product is very well done.

The only two things that I can’t find are:
* An automatically-generated table of contents. “Recent posts” only puts up the last ten posts. I need something that will go back to the very beginning.
* I want to do a “Dear Abby” column in which people post questions, and I answer. These can’t be comments tied to a specific post because they would get buried. I’d like to create an archive of questions and answers that people can search. I looked at a couple of Wiki products, but I didn’t have the mental energy to adapt them to my needs.

I think I know the answer to the first thing.


Assuming that typepad.com has the same templating system as Movable type, setting up a Simple Table of Contents is dead easy.
In the “templates” section, copy the “Main Index” template to a new template. I called this “Table of Contents – Simple” and had it generate the file “simple_toc.html”. Remove everything from the content section of the template and replace it with the following code:

<MTEntries lastn="100000" >
<a href="<$MTEntryPermalink$>"><$MTEntryTitle$></a>
</MTEntries>

Save the template. Add a link to this new page from your index. Example: simple_toc.html” (yes, I’ve only been blogging in this blog for a short while. Give me a break).
This will show the last 100,000 entries. If you have more entries you can either increase the value of lastn or, if you’re the only author on your blog, you can change it to author=”{your login name}”. If there’s only one author then that’s a more scalable solution.
It’s not terribly difficult to build a more complex table of content that’s organized by category. Example: complex_toc.html
Do the same procedure as above only use this code:

<MTTopLevelCategories>
<MTSubCatIsFirst><ul class="module-list"></MTSubCatIsFirst>
<MTIfNonZero tag="MTCategoryCount">
<h2><MTCategoryLabel></h2>
<ul>
<MTEntries lastn="10000">
<li><a href="<$MTEntryPermalink$>"><$MTEntryTitle$></a><br /></li>
</MTEntries>
</ul>
</MTIfNonZero>
<MTSubCatsRecurse>
<MTSubCatIsLast></MTSubCatIsLast>
</MTTopLevelCategories>

It would probably be fairly easy to marry this type of table of contents with the primary category/heirachial categorization hack I discussed on my house blog (Yes, an Utterly-off-topic post about blogging software on my house blog is the reason I decided to start “Geeked”.). I’d do an example of it here.. but “Geeked” doesn’t have enough posts for the example to make sense. Maybe later.

Comments

One Response to “Tinkering with Typepad (Movable Type)”

  1. TabathaOster says:

    Awesome blog. Peace out until next time TabathaOster