Category Archives: Site

MovableType 3.2

After playing with the beta build on a couple of systems, I finally updated this site to the new Movable Type 3.2 release. It was a little more complicated that I had hoped, but I was being extra careful and tried running in a “staging” location first. I started down the path of creating a brand new instance to get the new templates, but it didn’t look simple to copy over all my settings manually.

Here’s the sequence I finally used:

  • Backup everything
  • Convert data from Berkeley (DB_File) format to MySQL; I had been meaning to do this for a while and the upgrade was failing without it
  • Installed new MT 3.2 files in version-specific directories
  • Set up symbolic links for ‘mt’ and ‘mt-static’ to point to 3.2 rather than 3.14
  • Review/edit mt-config.cgi with correct settings
  • Ran mt-check.cgi to confirm everything was good (I had to fix one line in this that was causing a Perl warning and a 500 server error code)
  • Ran mt.cgi which directed me to mt-upgrade.cgi, upgrading the database (which went smoothly)
  • Reviewed weblog settings to make sure everything came over (it did) and to explore the new 3.2 options
  • Rebuilt the entire site
  • Edited the CSS so that edit boxes use a fixed-width font (Lucida Console)

So far, so good! Next step will be to revisit all my templates to see if I should revert to the standard ones. (Mine were hacked together when I first switched to MovableType.) The new StyleSwitcher looks interesting, but I haven’t been able to make it work just yet.

Smooth Upgrade to MT 3.11

I finally got around to upgrading this site from MovableType 2.66 to 3.11 (the latest). I wanted to upgrade just to get the latest plugins and to explore the new capabilities. Plus it gave me an excuse to back up my site which I’ve done only sporadically.

With improved handling for comments, I might turn them back on. In fact, a day after upgrading, I got my first comment spam, but it was easily deleted from my approval queue before it hit the site.

htaccess Power

I've been using my .htaccess file to deny access to certain IP addresses and address ranges. Yesterday while adding a couple of entries, I mistakenly left a line consisting of only “Deny From”. I didn't catch it at the time but noticed later in the day that the entire domain was not responding. I assumed it was a problem at the hosting company (Pair Networks), so I contacted them later in the evening. Their technician responded quickly, pointing out the error in my .htaccess file and fixing it himself! Another gold star for Pair Networks whose support is excellent. And a reminder to myself to be more careful!

Help Google Index Your Site

From comes a useful article called Help the Googlebot understand your web site which lists about a dozen tips for structuring your site for the best experience with the Google indexing software (Googlebot). already handles most of these suggestions except for the additiona meta robots tag which should cause it to not index my main page which is frequently changing.

When I recently changed from daily to individual archiving with MovableType, I saw a big improvement in search results through Google. With each post having its own title, the results were much better. (As opposed to searching for something and hitting a page whose title was “February 29, 2004”, for example.)

The point about having every page accessible through a text-based link is really important, but I'm amazed at how many sites are driven by a Flash-based front end. Searching Google for “flash required” results in about 4 million hits!

Overall, a good checklist worth reviewing.

[Via ~stevenf]