I’ve been doing some tweaking to this blog in the past couple days, experimenting with some “Movable Type” plugins to extend the functionality of this site. Some new items:
- Installed MT-Amazon, a plugin that lets me link this blog to Amazon.com using the Amazon web services API. Without the technobabble, that means that I can trigger look-ups to Amazon when the blog publishes, and Amazon will populate the blog with the appropriate info.
- To extend MT-Amazon, I also installed Brad Choate’s MTMacro plugin, which lets you define macros that will perform magic. By following Brad’s example, I can now create a tag called “Amazon” that will let me create a link to Amazon without having to remember my Associates ID, or how to format the URL to the book. To link to a book by John Grisham, I just enter in:
<amazon keyword=“John Grisham”>John Grisham</amazon>
The result looks like this: John Grisham
- Update (10/31 10:20am): Seems like Amazon’s Web Services are down; I’ve been getting error messages all morning.
Until further notice, I’m disabling this functionality. Oh well.**
I had looked at MTMacro a while ago, but had some trouble understanding how it could help me. Now I’m starting to see just how powerful it really is — it lets me extend my weblog in any direction I want. I need to give this some more thought, but there’s huge potential in using this to push Movable Type well beyond simple weblog publishing.
In all likelihood, more changes are coming: friendlier archive URLs (no more numbers!), creating a weblog that tracks all articles I’ve ever written (finally), breaking up my Movable Type templates into a series of modules that can be bulit by using the MTInclude command (which will make the site a true template-driven site with as little repeated code as possible), and more…