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August 06, 2005

For Blogger Nerds Only

If you are not a blogger nerd, you probably don’t want to read this post.  My next post, however, will be for newbies.

A number of you have requested that I open-source the changes I made to my TypePad templates to add a Tag with del.icio.us link to the bottom of each post and to insert that along with comment and trackback links into the feeds of each post so that they show up in feedreaders.  I’ve learned a lot by copying other bloggers so glad to do that.  The two changes are independent of each other and, of course, can used to insert any links, not just the ones I chose to add..

Some disclaimers:

  1. Most of the real thinking that went into these changes came from Colleen and Laura at TypePad who have been very patient with my requests for help filed as trouble tickets and from Joshua at del.icio.us.  They are not responsible for my mistakes, however.
  2. I’m not responsible for my mistakes either:-} These changes should only be implemented by a trained (self-trained is fine) nerd on a test blog first.
  3. My templates are derived from TypePad templates and I am not claiming any ownership in either the templates or the changes.  If you are a TypePad blogger, you are entitled to use and modify these templates.  If you are not, these templates will be useless to you.  However, I welcome comments and trackbacks  from people who can translate these capabilities to other blog platforms.  Comments already posted here are for those with other platforms who want to add the tagging capability to non TypePad blogsites.
  4. This implementation uses TypePad’s advanced templates which are only available with a Pro membership to TypePad.  Advanced templates are not available if you are using Mixed Media Templates.
  5. If you have already modified your templates, then obviously you have to be careful that my mods and your mods don’t clash.  My mods are commented with my name.
  6. I only do tech support for Mary and my mother.

So, if I haven’t scared you off yet, here’s what you do:

To add “Tag with del.icio.us” (or, actually, any other link) to the bottom of each post on your TypePad blog

  1. If you have not already done so, convert the template set used by your blog to advanced templates.  TypePad documentation here tells you how to do that.
  2. MAKE a test blog and choose the new template set for it using Apply Design.  Leave your real blog alone at this point.
  3. Use Edit Templates on the Manage your Design page to make the following changes.
  4. Retrieve my templates entry-list and entry-individual and add them as new template modules to your template set with exactly these names.  These are based on modules in the TypePad documentation so I don’t BELIEVE that you have to worry that yours will be different UNLESS you’ve already modified these.
  5. Edit the four existing templates Main Index Template, Category Archives, Date Based Archives, and Individual Archives replacing each instance of <$MTWebLogIncludeModule module="entry-list"$> with <$MTInclude module="entry-list"$> and each instance of <$MTWebLogIncludeModule module="entry-individual"$> with <$MTInclude module="entry-individual"$> respectively.  This change includes the two modules we added in step #4 above rather than the standard version of these modules.
  6. Save and Publish your changes and take a look at your test blog.
  7. If the changes worked with no unintended side-effects, apply the new design to your real blog and take a look at that.
  8. Remember always to be able to back out changes.

Note that Joshua describes a different way of making a similar change here.  The difference makes me suspect that template sets may vary depending on when you created your TypePad blog.

To add links to the bottom of your Atom and RSS feeds

  1. If you have not already done so, convert the template set used by your blog to advanced templates.  TypePad documentation here tells you how to do that.
  2. MAKE a test blog and choose the new template set for it using Apply Design.  Leave your real blog alone at this point.
  3. Use Edit Templates on the Manage your Design page to make the following changes.
  4. Retrieve my templates atom and rss and use them to replace the whole contents of the index templates with the same names.  These are based on modules in the TypePad documentation so I don’t BELIEVE that you have to worry that yours will be different UNLESS you’ve already modified these.
  5. Save and Publish your changes.
  6. Use FeedValidator or a similar tool to check both your atom and your rss feeds from your test blog.  Warning are OK; errors are not.
  7. Look at your feed in a feedreader.
  8. If the changes worked with no unintended side-effects, apply the new design to your real blog and take a look at that with FeedValidator and a feedreader.
  9. Remember always to be able to back out changes.

Note that there is currently a bug which TypePad is working on which makes new blogs using COPIES of advanced template sets function incorrectly.  So it is a little more complicated to leave yourself a way to back out changes than it will be when the bug is fixed.

Please comment promptly with any mistakes I may have made or suggestions for making this easier.

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