Recently in Movable Type Category

While I was setting up for my Scampo Deathwatch, I brought up the Movable Type dashboard on this site.  Oh my, there is a security update of Movable Type that has been available for a month while I was paying attention to other things. 

[At this point, the voice in my head is Landmark Forum Leader Randy McNamara leading an inquiry into complacency and its predictable consequences.]

I have downloaded the particulars to my Windows Home Server, but I won’t be fussing with upgrade of the Movable Type installation until I have a chance to review my web deployment model and see how well I can manage that from my deteriorating computer complex.

I wanted to work my way through this in a more systematic, documented way that I could rely on for future work and further migrations.  I may need to ratchet that from leisurely to urgent.

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[Cross-posted from Spanner Wingnut]

For those wondering if the now-dormant blogs will every see the light of day anew, here are the dreary steps that will be confirmed before going farther:

  1. The procedure for configuring and maintaining images uploaded via Windows Live Writer will be fully documented on nfoCentrale Status.  The accuracy and completeness of that procedure will be verified by adding the support to Spanner Wingnut and also maintaining it there..
  2. The next visible changes will involve learning to adjust the sidebars on the blogs, including customization of plugins, templates, and styles for individualization of the different blogs operated under the single MovableType engine.  This will also be seen on both nfoCentrale Status and Spanner Wingnut.
  3. There will be some invisible work to support how a blogs features are adjusted over time but a record of changes and the progression can be maintained.   This will be accompanied by infrastructure adjustment as part of the deployment model for the various blogs, starting with nfoCentrale Status and Spanner Wingnut, with the big test being restoration of an existing, now-dormant blog.  The prime candidates for first restoration are Orcmid’s Lair, Pursuing Harmony, and Kiln Sitter’s Diary.
  4. There is also more work to complete and stabilize the nfoCentrale site as the repository of all of the procedures and template-development work that is promulgated across all of the blogs and sites.

My current thinking is to have this completed enough by the end of the year that additional blogs start waking up and there are useful developments on those blogs and their related sites.

As part of the acquisition of Six Apart by VideoEgg to become SAY Media, Ben Parr foresees Movable Type being abandoned.

So, I maintain my record of keeping all of my blogging eggs in obsolete but stable authoring products.  Hey, I am still using FrontPage 2003.

I suspect that the change in direction into advertising is going to be more significant with regard to Movable Type 5.  Movable Type 4 appears to be stable and in essentially maintenance mode.  It was also the best product for my transition from Blogger, since I wanted to continue having static pages and archive folders and not ones generated dynamically on access.  This also lets me find ways to blend in my pre-Movable Type archives in a coherent manner.

I will stick to that for now. 

Golly, I haven’t even brought my dormant blogs back to life on Movable Type yet.

I may at some point need to move to an Open Source fork of Movable Type, but I will not do that just yet.  I’ll be paying attention though.  I’ll continue keeping an eye on the Open Source development and only go to a forked distribution if this disappears.

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As I was setting up Windows Live Writer and the nfoCentrale Status blog site for uploading images, I realized that there were some useful adjustments I could make.

Previously, I had simply set up a single images/ directory per blog and allowed images posted through Windows Live Writer to accumulate there.  


Windows Live Writer creates a subfolder, with a name chosen by WLW, to hold the images uploaded for a particular post.  In looking for straightforward ways to back up these folders and images, I realized that it is cumbersome to have these images-per-post sets accumulate in an ever-growing, potentially gigantic single folder. 


To provide separate backups, I want to save compressed archives of the image sets.  The single archives will not reduce the space requirements by much, but they are easier to manage.  I can also include them in my source-control more easily than treating the individual folder sets as projects.  (This is a convenience for the continued use of Visual Source Safe; with other version-control systems, this part is easier.) 

The use of the source-control system is primarily a way to achieve versioned backup.  It is easy to expand a Zip archive back to the original folders.  And archiving the Zips as checked-in revisions provides a means for recovery in the event that older materials on the site are corrupted or lost in some way.


My initial solution is to annualize the images/ folder.  I will initiate that with images/2010/ and continue with images/2011/, etc. 

If even annualizing becomes ungainly, I am thinking that I will not drop down to a monthly level.  Instead, I will segment the year as needed.  For example, I might end up with the progression images/2010/, images/2010a/, images/2010b, …, images/2011/, etc.


For Windows Live Writer, I don’t need to change the FTP permissions I have already provided.  Those permissions already start at the images/ subfolder of the blog.  Any additional subfolders, such as images/2010/ are already accessible.

First, I prepare subfolder images/2010/ the same way I prepared images/ originally.  I will do this each time I need a new annualized folder.

Changing Windows Live Writer to use the new annualized image folder Secondly, I instruct Windows Live Writer to use the new location for all future image uploads. 

When I edit the blog settings for uploading pictures, I will need to provide FTP account credentials again.  Then I can browse to the new location on the server and confirm that new location.

At the time I did this, there was already an uploaded-image folder at the images/ location the FTP account starts at (and where is pointed in this case).  That folder is allowed to remain, since there is a blog post that uses images from there.

Once I selected the folder, Windows Live Writer confirms the settings it will be using.

There is no further action to take until a new annualized folder is to be started.  Every January 1, if not sooner, I will repeat this process to start the next annualized group.  I can also adjust the backup procedures to begin preserving the new folder at that time.


WLW Confirmation of the FTP Configuration for Uploading to the Annualized Folder

The Zemanta Panel on my Movable Type post-authoring browser interface

[update 2010-08-29T19:00Z It’s become clear that Zemanta is worthy of a category.  There will be much to do with Zemanta and I also needed to experiment with how little I need to do to add a category.  This update with Zemanta as a category is in aid of both objectives.]

When I installed Movable Type 4 on nfoCentrale, my first blog posts were accomplished with the browser interface to  the Movable Type configuration. 

As part of Movable Type 4, I took the option to integrate Zemanta.  I didn’t quite understand what it was, but I did take advantage of it in making early posts.

Once I succeeded in configuring Windows Live Writer for operation with my first blogs created/restored using Movable Type, the authoring interface seemed barren without the Zemanta panel and suggestions.

Today, I learned that there is a Zemanta plug-in for Windows Live Writer.  The announcement was about an upgrade for the Wave 4 (Windows Vista and above only) version of Windows Live Writer, but I thought I’d chance it back here on WLW 14.0 on Windows XP3. 

I have completed the plug-in in stall.  On opening WLW, the Zemanta panel showed up at once.  It didn’t customize to my Zemanta account, of course, so I needed to figure out how to have it recognize my already-established Zemanta account and not greet me as MARKO!Zemanta calls me someone else on first start-up in Windows Live Writer

The Zemanta preferences open up in my browser, so I am not that confident that this creates any recognition in the plug-in.  Going to the preferences page does give me more opportunities to customize Zemanta for my use though, and I browse around in other material that I had not dug into before.

On the preferences page, I logged-in properly and these preferences should work for me.Updating my preferences on Zemanta does not seem to have a direct effect on the WLW Plug-In.

I didn’t notice anything different back on Windows Live Writer.  Zemanta is updating and showing me recommendations on today’s hot topics.  Zemanta is also offering links for phrases that I have entered in the text above.  I am still unsure that it is recognizing my account preferences. I don’t see my Flickr recommendations in the Media Gallery, for example.

I also have some concerns for how images are handled.  I won’t know about that until I post using some Zemanta-sourced image.  This post will test that and confirm how well Zemanta in Windows Live Writer works with in the resulting Movable Type post.  Here is a Zemanta-sourced image obtained by clicking it in from the plug-in Media Gallery:Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Additiional Category Hierarchy as of 2010-08-22

After extending the category structure for Centrale and sites, I decided to seed the web-development category in the same fashion.

Here the category for retired web-development categories is the {obsolete} sub-category.

I figured that as long as I was busy seeding categories, I might as well start this set as well.

One small problem.  Although I had gone into the Movable Type administration panel for the nfoCentrale Status blog, I could not do anything that had the expansion below the web development category show up in Windows Live Writer.

I tried all of the usual things, including having Windows Live Writer update from the blog theme, having Windows Live Writer re-publish he entire blog, and finally rebooting my computer.

Of course, if I had noticed the refresh button on the Windows Live Writer pop-up for the available categories, something I had done just the day before, I would have the problem solved, as the image demonstrates.

I also finally realized that I don’t have to wait to have something meaningful to say simply to seed each new category.  I can do it with this announcement.

There will be more about what these are when I have more to say about their role in the development of the web sites since the initial creation of InfoNuovo (and just slightly before).

[update 2010-08-23T04:14Z I realized, when posting about additional web-development categories, that I can seed the unseeded subcategories simply by using the seeding post: this one.  This repost is strictly to accomplish that.]

As part of the nfoCentrale anchor-site stabilization, I am seeding all of the new categories I have established.  This will cause each category subfolder to be created and populated as part of the nfoCentrale Status blog structure on the hosted site.  I will then bring those folders under the construction-structure management of the nfoCentrale anchor site.

I have been quietly repaving the nfoCentrale anchor, as part of bringing a systematic sites cleanup and repaving under a single coordination point.

I will also be experimenting with alterations of Movable Type templates here and on Spanner Wingnut in preparation and confirmation of the stages to be undertaken in the systematic re-animation of my now-dormant blogs.

Although this seems to be a diversion from the task of restoring blogs, and I have this pent-up urge to be posting anew on them, this repaving work is crucial for providing me a place where I capture my experience and arrive at a guide that I can follow systematically.  This is also a precaution against any future situation where I need to do more of this, whether because of upgrading to new releases of Movable Type, porting to a new hosted site, simply adding more blogs, or integrating with new, now-unanticipated content-management facilities.

In preparing for the Centrale Retirees I learned that when there are duplicate sub-category names, as with Centrale/{retired} and sites/{retired}, posting via Windows Live Writer will publish to both {retired} sub categories no matter which branch I select it from.  To repair that, I avoided duplication by having Centrale/{retired} and sites/{retirees}.

I renamed the sites sub-category but retained the status/sites/retired-1 location.  By republishing the site, the duplication disappeared, which is useful to know.  This was all done with the Movable Type administrative interface via my browser, so that I had the necessary fine control to eliminate the duplication.

Although the site/{retirees} category has the same function as that explained for Centrale/{retired}, there probably won’t be so much retirement going on.  Still, if some site becomes completely stabilized and no further posting is expected, it will be useful to freeze its status.  Whether I move it to emeritus status here in the {retiree} category or not remains to be seen.

The Centrale/{retired} category is being furnished as retirement quarters for previously-active Centrale subcategories.

That may seem a little strange but it works.

A category is implemented under Movable Type as a subdirectory of the blog.  Nested categories fit into nested subdirectories.

I want to capture historical information about the various components of Centrale that go back to even before there was a LAN and workgroup named Centrale to tie them together.

While I’m doing that, I will use the expanded categories that go back to the beginning of my adventure with personal computers.

Later, when I’ve captured and said enough to suit my purposes, I will remove the category from use.  That won’t delete the pages created under those categories though.  And even though the category structure will be streamlined and simpler to navigate, they retired categories will still have their pages available.

This {retired} category will tie those category-specific subdirectories into an index page here as their categories achieve emeritus venerability.

I am seeding all of the new categories with posts so that they will be included in my backup procedures and archived on my development web site from now on.  I can then populate them further as time permits and the spirit moves me.

Windows Live Writer can upload pictures using the upload features of some blog-publishing services.  It will do that with Blogspot and Windows Live Spaces, for example. 

If you are hosting your own blogging engine, such as Movable Type, or have your own web site where you want blog posts and the images they use stored together, there is an option to upload images via FTP (File Transfer Protocol).  This does not require any cooperation of the blog-publishing engine.  Windows Live Writer posts the images independently, incorporating them in the post that is then submitted to the blog engine.

Another way to incorporate images into blog posts is to have them somewhere else on the Internet.  I often have photos and images on Flickr that I then include in blog posts.  I use this method occasionally, but not for images such as screen captures that are meaningful only in conjunction with a blog post.  Even when there is a Flickr version, I may want to resize and crop differently for the blog version.

Aside from using photos that are already on Flickr, FTP is my chosen method for all blogs that are published on nfoCentrale sites.  I did this when I used Windows Live Writer with Blogger to publish to nfoCentrale sites (also via FTP), and I am creating the same procedure for using Windows Live Writer with Movable Type.


Configuration of Windows Live Writer for FTP transfer of images to a web site is in four steps:

    1. Connecting Windows Live Writer and the Blog.  The blog must already be set up and Windows Live Writer configured to post to it.  If Live Writer can’t log into the blog-publishing engine for your blog, it can’t be configured to upload images.  This step can be performed any time prior to step (4). 
      This part of the setup depends on the blog-publishing engine and how accounts for automated publishing through it are managed.  I use a Movable Type configuration on an Apache-based hosting-service account.  The user identification and password that Windows Live Writer uses to deliver posts is determined by that configuration and custom setting under my control.
    2. Preparing a Place for the Images.  A web-server location for the images must already be created for use.  This can be accomplished by using web-development software that publishes to a web site.  It can also be done using FTP access to the full web-server account and creating the necessary directories and any initial content.  The result will be a structure such as the one for nfoCentrale Status images described in Part I.
      If the site is already published via FTP, then providing additional FTP accounts for delegating limited access to Windows Live Writer may be relatively straightforward.   I use a combination of Microsoft FrontPage, Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), Visual SourceSafe, and FTP as part of a web-site development workflow.  While that’s more involved than many prefer, it also provides a backup and a restoration/migration mechanism for my web sites and the blogs that are part of them. 
    3. Creating a LImited FTP Account.  It is desirable to create a limited FTP account that can only be used to upload to the images location in step (2).  While there is little risk that the account credentials can be stolen and abused, I find it to be a consistent practice to create separate, limited FTP accounts that are easy to cancel or to change the password of without disrupting anything else.  This stage is illustrated in Part II.
      In my case, I also use computer-generated passwords that are definitely not memorable.  I remember these passwords in a digital safe on my computer.  This helps me to avoid using the same password in more than one place while also making it difficult to attack the password.  This, combined with the limitations on the FTP account limit the damage that can result from a successful exploit against the limited FTP account.  Along with the backup procedures that are kept in place, recovery from an exploit or other damage is also relatively straightforward.
    4. Configuring Live Writer for Photo Upload.  The final stage.


Open Windows Live Writer and select Tools | Options | Accounts.  The account should already be set up for publishing to the blog without accompanying images.  (At this point, only images that are elsewhere on the web can be posted.)

Typical Live Writer Tools | Options | Accounts selection

On the dialog for editing the Blog Settings, select the Pictures option, select “Upload pictures to an FTP server:” and then click “Configure FTP …”:

Selecting FTP Configuration for Uploading Pictures

Moving the password from the safe to the clipboard for adding to the Live Writer FTP Account Parameters To configure FTP, I use the settings obtained when I created the FTP account.  I recover the password from its location in my password-safe software. 

This password is delivered to Windows Live Writer and I allow it to remember the account log-in for automatic use from my blog-authoring computer(s).

An interesting feature of Windows Live Writer is its provision for browsing to the FTP account.  This confirms that access works and it reveals what the access reaches.  Take that opportunity:

Browsing to the FTP location checks the FTP parameters

The option to Browse For Folder shows the achievement of access and the structure that is available at that point.  We are (we trust) looking at the place on the web server that corresponds to and that is where we want Windows Live Writer to place the images it uploads:

The FTP access is limited to the folder set up when the FTP account was created.  Nothing else can be seen here.

Technically, the FTP account that I supplied has a base address at the server location publish_html/status/images/ and when we view the server via that account, all we can see is what is under that location.  Even that location is relative to my server-account location /home/orcmid/ but that is not part of the material displayed by the web server as (although I can access it as part of working directly with software on the hosted account via logging into the Linux server through a remote console).

FTP Browse allows creation of subfolders.  I chose not to do that at this time.  My experience is that unless there is something already there, Windows Live Writer has difficulty confirming the setup.  I have already created an index.htm file in the images/ folder, although it is not visible in the Browse, and it will help confirm that I have found the right place.

After selecting that I want to use the folder that Browse shows me, Windows Live Writer fills in the appropriate base-relative location in its configuration:

The completed and confirmed FTP Server Configuration for Windows Live Writer uploading of images

The configuration is accepted.  Windows Live Writer has confirmed access to the place that pictures will be published to.  The validity of the URL has also been verified, although I do not know if Live Writer has any way to establish that the two places are actually the same.

In any case, the test, now, is to confirm successful upload of pictures inserted into a Windows Live Writer post and uploaded with the publishing of the post.  I accomplished that by writing and posting Part I.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Movable Type category.

Blogger is the previous category.

Windows Live Writer is the next category.

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