Making a blogroll with Movable Type

· Customizing

Dylan Tweney reports on his own fairly ingenious blogroll solution. He has set up his blogroll (with categories, no less) as a new blog in Movable Type and even used the extended-entry capability as an optional RSS-feed link field for his blogroll entries.
I like this approach and may adopt it! At this point you’re really building a directory, so maybe I’ll dedicate one of my stray domain names to a blogroll database blog. (Sure, think like that, say I to myself, Then you run into the one-level-of-categorization only limit in MT and start pining for FtrainKit all over again….)
Also, this reminds me that I am trying to come up with a canonical approach to doing a links sidebar. Anil’s is probably the best known model, though Kottke’s recently upgraded (comment and trackbackable) links sidebar is another good example.
The idea seems to represent the return to an optimized idea-capturing, instant blogging approach as facilitated by the BlogThis! bookmarklet. Sudden blogging, call it.
Blogger Pro, with it’s Title/Link/Description fields, provides possibly the best interface for entering these links, though Radio Express! would work well for Radio setups with title and link fields turned on.
Movable Type doesn’t have the idea of a master link associated with the entry (aside from the entry’s own permalink – this is one of the sources of confusion in weblog syndication to this day), so its bookmarklet isn’t optimized for entering quick links, but by mentally reassigning the fields (relabeling the text boxes), and including three in your (customizable) bookmarklet (the easiest might be Title for title, Entry for the linkURL, and Extended Entry for the description).
The vogue is to present the links in HTML in a minimalist style with the description embedded as the title attribute in the anchor tag, which is rendered as a floating “tool tip” in many browsers. It’s easy enough to put together a stripped-down, includable MT template to present your links this way.
The trick is that the RSS feed has to give T/L/D, so the same MT-database-hook tags show up in slightly different from usual positions in the RSS template. That is, the usual MT templates wrap the item’s permalink inside <link> tag and put the entry copy inside the <description> element, but in this model you’d want the entry copy (which will be just the URL) to go out as the link and the extended entry copy to go out as the description. Capiche?
No, probably not. I’m still working this out myself, and i’m tempted to use one of my legacy Blogger accounts to drive my quick links bar. We’ll see.