My Hackathon Hacks

hackathon_nyc.jpgLast 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.

linkcheck.png

  • ''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:
    • Javascript and UI enhancements - I made a number of changes to improve the user experience with the plugin. I removed the "Uninstall" button since I technically don't support that. I synced up its design with the latest version of Mozilla's Add-On UI, the original and on-going inspiration for 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.

pluginmanager-hacks.png

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.”
  • Su, who is rarely captured on film added support within the application for jQuery - a pluggable javascript library. With this plugin, other plugins can easily make use of jQueries many capabilities.

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7 Comments

Really important question then :) : When will we see all these promising things ?

Thanks for your work by the way...

I hope to have the Link Checker out soon. I still want to tidy up a few things before I release it.

As for Plugin Manager, the changes are quite extensive and there is still a lot more work that needs to be done. The time frame for those fixes is a bit longer 2-4 weeks at least. :-(

LOL! Okay, first a great song, then a really hot car, and now a plugin. Life doesn't get better than that.

I am so looking forward to this Link Checker.

2-4 weeks, still seems cool to me !

So will these promising new features actually fix some of the current existing bugs in PluginManager that have been reported several times over the past few months, but not yet resolved?

As a matter of fact, they will. All of those issues will be resolved.

That link checker could turn out to be very useful. I know it's good to get broken links off sites, but if you could get it to check for bad neighborhood links as well, that would be even better.

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Recent Comments

  • That link checker could turn out to be very useful. I know it's good to get broken links off sites, but if you could get it to check for bad neighborhood links as well, that would be even better. ...

  • As a matter of fact, they will. All of those issues will be resolved. ...

  • So will these promising new features actually fix some of the current existing bugs in PluginManager that have been reported several times over the past few months, but not yet resolved? ...

  • 2-4 weeks, still seems cool to me ! ...

    Yannick Lejeune
    My Hackathon Hacks
  • LOL! Okay, first a great song, then a really hot car, and now a plugin. Life doesn't get better than that. I am so looking forward to this Link Checker. ...

    elise.bauer.myopenid.com
    My Hackathon Hacks
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