Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Added blogroll managed by Movable Type

One of the things I did in Radio was use the built-in outliner to manage my blogroll, and then use Marc Barrot’s activeRenderer to add it as a component on my home page. Once I moved to Movable Type, I needed to find a way to manage links to other sites from my weblog.

Many people use to do this. I opted against that for a few reasons. First, I signed up a while ago, and despite repeated attempts to get my login info from them, the site stubbornly refuses to send me my login credentials. I tried signing up with a different e-mail address, and it balked at that too. But the more I thought about it, the more I disliked as an option. It’s a third party service, which means that this blog’s performance would be at the mercy of their servers. (This is the same phenomenon that causes so many Radio-driven and blogger-driven sites to load slowly: their reliance on third-party comments servers.)

I’m surprised that there’s not a more elegant solution built into Movable Type – the development community has built some pretty incredible extensions to the system (a good directory of plugins to Movable Type is here). Note – there is a blogroll plugin, but it requires an OPML file for rendering; since I’m not using an OPML file that’s stored on my web server, this wasn’t a practical option.

I did find a mention of using as a way of incorporating content into my page. It ended up being a perfect solution.

From Movable Type’s Templates menu, create a new template called “Blogroll”. In this template, create a list in HTML with links to the sites you want to include. (Use the BR tag to force a line break between items.) In your “Main Index” template (the page that controls the look and feel of your home page), under the “Links” sidebar, use the following syntax: . Each time the index page is built, it will incorporate whatever content is listed in that “Blogroll” template.

I went one step further – I created a pop-up window so that I could easily add links to the blogroll from my browser. The URL to the template is:

In other words, the template has an ID associated with it, and it’s tied to a particular blog ID. I wrapped that URL inside a simple bookmarklet that creates a new pop-up window and navigates directly to the Blogroll template edit window:

Edit blogroll
(Obviously, if you choose to use this one, you’ll need to change the URL, template and blog IDs.)

Add that URL to your “Links” folder in Internet Explorer (I forget the exact instructions for Netscape and Mac OS browsers, but Google should help there). Now when I navigate to a page I want to add to my blogroll, I just click the button and fill in the sitename and URL. (Ideally, there would be some way to add the URL and page title to the form in the template edit screen automatically, but that’s beyond my capabilities. Anyone care to assist?)


  1. Blogroll

    Thanks to Rick Klau I have a new way to mangage my blogroll. Instead of using blogrolling, I can now...

  2. Blogroll in MT

    Rick Klau shares a useful solution he found to add blogrolling to Moveable Type weblogs, in stead of using, which is almost the last third party service, I still use in this blog. Since the whole point with moving...

  3. MT managed Blogroll

    tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog: Added blogroll managed by Movable Type. I want to use something other than This article seemed like a decent place to start looking at options....

  4. MT and blogrolling

    You must have noticed that a lot of blogs have a section on the side, mentioning links to other blogs that the author reads (sometimes the links are ordered based on their time of update, sometimes not). Well, this is...

  5. Rick--

    Nice solution! I especially like the JavaScript bookmarklet feature.

    I did something similar on my weblog (, except I manage the links list as a mini-blog of its own. Here's how I did it:

  6. Friday Feast #56: CSS, MT, Style Guides, TopStyle

    I've had an interesting and challenging 7 days dealing with Movable Type and server upgrade issues, unusual thunder storms, and daily life. In the meantime, the world marches on, and there are plenty of great links to share for today's feast -- CSS lay...

  7. Movable Type Blogrolls

    Two ways - here and here. (Yes, I'm cleaning out my browser bookmarks tonight ; )...

  8. WOW! wow wow wow!
    thanks Rick! You have made me a happy bunny


  9. Blogrolling in MT

    Been having a read around about how to include your Blogroll, or Blogs which I read regularly, into the side of my site. Strangely enough, there is no automated feature on MT to do this. There is a plugin called...

  10. Notice anything different on this site?

    Well, apart from the fact that I've added some more buttons/ banners to the navigation-pane, you will notice that I've also added a list (usually called a blogroll) of blogs and e-zines that I frequent. I figured there are so...

  11. Blogrolls for MT

    Having been used to the wonderful TypePad functionality called Typelists which helps you maintain lists of Links, People, Music, Books etc etc in a very simple & easy to manage interface, I was kind of surpirsed at the lack of...

  12. New feature

    tins ::: Rick Klau's weblog: Added blogroll managed by Movable Type You may not be able to see the difference, but I've just implemented the above method of handling my buddy lists and links ... eventually I think I will...

  13. Retooling websites takes time, you know

    I seriously retooled a crapload of stuff to simplify it overall, but it was a long road.

  14. New Webtoys

    If my back end got this much play, I would never blog. The geekery continues: MT Blacklist. As far as I can tell it's working fine, or not working at all.MT Blacklist Updater. One of 2 or 3 out there....

  15. Zempt, and blogrolling inside MT

    I found this Zempt tool for offline blogging with Movable Type from The Marmot's Final Hole. I am trying it right now, and it looks fine. I am still writing most of the code myself, but I prefer to do it when the syntax is highlighted (i.e. different t...

  16. Thanks for the solution, that's very neat. Combined with full modularity for my side panel now, it makes maintenance much easier.

    And good luck for the fund-raising and other campaign stuff.

  17. RefSearch and Refer

    Ask and you shall recieve. Thanks to Rick Klau for showing me how he does that cool Google trick. The secret is MT-RefSearch, which automagically detects when someone is coming to your site through a search engine, then runs a search on your site based...

  18. Whoa! Exactly what I needed! Great job! Buh bye Blogrolling!

  19. MT, Spam, and Why I'm Up at 3:30 on a Work Night

    I have been playing around with MT tags -- that would be Movable Type for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym. I decided to see how I like doing without the Blogrolling blogroll and found out how to create...