Last week I went on a whirlwind trip to New York. I was there attending and presenting at a Blogging Summit I helped organize at the Affinia Hotel in midtown Manhattan. It was a two day event for developers and business stake holders alike. The summit itself was a great success, but it was the Hackathon that I enjoyed the most.
But instead of waxing poetic about how wonderful it was to meet so many ProNetters for the first time face-to-face, I will just skip to the part most people are interested in: what I built.
I worked on two projects, and made a surprising amount of progress on them both:
- ''Link Checker'' - I am wrapping up the work on this quick and dirty plugin that allows Movable Type users to select a bunch of entries and to validate all the links within it (including links within the post content, comments, and the commenter's URL). The name of the plugin? Well, I will be departing with my usual M.O. and go with a far less functional and self-describing name in favor one that is far more beautiful: "Elise." An appropriate name given that is was her plea for the plugin that inspired me to build it.
- ''Plugin Manager Enhancements'' - Plugin Manager is an excellent plugin in concept, but users been have struggling with constraints that make it harder to use then needs to be. Plus, given that Plugin Manager will be folded into the core of Movable Type, it was critical that I address these issues by expanding Plugin Manager to be able to manage all installed plugins and not just plugins installed by Plugin Manager itself. During the Hackathon I made the following enhancements to Plugin Manager:
- Expanded Plugin Manager to view all plugins - Plugin Manager always had one short coming: it was driven by records in the database created when you installed a plugin via Plugin Manager. So plugins installed manually or automatically by Movable Type did not appear within its interface. That meant to effectively manage plugins you had to go to two different places within the Movable Type user interface. And that is lame. So now, Plugin Manager will become an effective replacement for Movable Type's plugin UI.
- Forward Compatibility for all Plugins - Plugin Manager will now look for newer versions of installed plugins by following links found within plugin registry data. This means that if you install a plugin manually because it didn't support Plugin Manager's installation capability at the time, you will still be able to search for updates for that plugin as soon as the plugin developer begins supporting the Plugin Manager framework.
That's what I worked on. Here are some highlights of what other people hacked on...
- Kevin Shay created a plugin that allows you to manually sort your entries in case you are using Movable Type as a CMS and you want to override the default date-based sorting of a blog.
- David Jacobs worked on and showed off a new version of Reblog - a plugin that allows to subscribe to and republish content from other blogs.
- Finn Smith worked on his Debian installer and helped gather requirements for a Red Hat RPM package as well.
- Chad Everett and Dave Aiello create a Smarty Hack for sorting categories based upon the last last updated date of the entries they contain.
- Maarten from Six Apart worked on his registration plugin
- Jesse Gardner created an icon for MT Notifier and with Beau on streamlining Movable Type's HTML
- Jay Allen worked on “Blog Splicer” – a tool that will allow developers to easily work with semi-live production data so that you can preview your changes with real data.
- Tim Appnel worked on my "pick of the day," a Plugin Stub generator called “Plugin Starter.”