Historical dates in Movable Type
August 1, 2005 12:26 PM   Subscribe

How can I use Movable Type to publish a weblog with historical dates?

I'm working on a project that will have historical documents published as entries in a Movable Type weblog, similar to Pepys' Diary (which is done with Movable Type and stores the archives like this: /archive/1660/01/). My dates are in the late 1700s.

I changed the publish date of the first entry to the historical date, but when I try to go to the entries list I get this error: "Can't handle date (36, 16, 21, 27, 9, -113) at lib/MT/Util.pm line 105." (I'm not interesting in hacking MT; I want to use the software as-is.)

I've tried Googling, searching on Six Apart's Movable Type forums, browsing the Movable Type plugins, and emailing the guy who published Pepys' Diary, but haven't found a solution.

I'm open to using something other than Movable Type if it would handle the dates better.
posted by kirkaracha to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Does this help?
posted by fionab at 12:47 PM on August 1, 2005

My guess is that it's running into this problem with the Time::Local perl module.
Please note, however, that the range of dates that can be actually be handled depends on the size of an integer (time_t) on a given platform. Currently, this is 32 bits for most systems, yielding an approximate range from Dec 1901 to Jan 2038.

Both timelocal() and timegm() croak if given dates outside the supported range.
posted by smackfu at 12:47 PM on August 1, 2005

Have you paid for a license? If so, it would include technical support and I would suggest opening a help ticket. If not, I would suggest asking in the 6A forums, as the people there have a lot of experience working with MT.

Since Pepys' Diary handles historical dates the way you want to use them, I would guess that something may have gotten installed wrong. Maybe try reinstalling the lib directory contents?
posted by rhapsodie at 1:07 PM on August 1, 2005

If all else fails, you can adjust your MT template to use a PHP or ASP function to take the date that MT uses for an entry and subtract an appropriate offset. For example, if you need to write an entry for 1753, just write it for 1953 and have the generated Web page subtract 200 years before outputting it.
posted by kindall at 2:07 PM on August 1, 2005

Response by poster: fionab: Sorry I wasn't clear; I'm already using Authored On that way.

kindall: I thought of that, but I want the directory paths to be the historical dates, also. (I could use some PHP code in a custom 404 page, but that seems like it'd be a lot of extra work for something that the Pepys' Diary site seems to be able to handle.)

rhapsodie: I'll try posting on the Six Apart forums and reinstalling the lib directory.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:48 PM on August 1, 2005

Which version of MT and database are you on? It looks like this is an issue that might be solved with the (currently in beta) version 3.2. I've got our dev team looking at the problem, but a little more info would help us troubleshoot.
posted by anildash at 9:06 PM on August 1, 2005

Looks like Anil beat me. Big surprise.

Anyway, we encountered this same problem in an early beta release of 3.2 and fixed it for the beta-2 release. However, I just tested it with the bleeding edge out of Subversion and it looks like somehow it has crept back in.

I'll reactivate the bug, but it will be fixed for beta-3 and the final release of MT 3.2 Watch the beta blog for it if you're interested.
posted by fooljay at 9:31 PM on August 1, 2005

man touch
posted by Eideteker at 10:47 PM on August 1, 2005

Response by poster: I'm using MT-3.2 Beta 2 (not the nightly build). MySQL 4.1.11.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:28 PM on August 1, 2005

And, now, it's fixed in the 3.2 repository. You'll see it in the Aug 1st nightly to be posted shortly.
posted by fooljay at 11:56 PM on August 1, 2005

Response by poster: I upgraded to the latest nightly build and I get the same error as before.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:27 AM on August 2, 2005

Response by poster: I downgraded to 3.17 and it works OK.

(Now I get this error: "Can't handle date (06, 20, 15, 28, 9, -113) at lib/MT/Template/Context.pm line 1477," but it builds the pages and I can get to the list of entries, so I can live with it.)
posted by kirkaracha at 4:45 PM on August 2, 2005

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