Forget Web 3.0...I'm jumping straight to Web 5.0.
February 20, 2008 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a way to have my Movable Type blog updated when I update my status on Twitter or post a link/image/other to my Tumblr page. I can't figure out what to do, though.

Currently, I'm working on relaunching my blog using Movable Type 4 as my CMS. In addition to my blog, I also regularly update my Twitter account, as well as posting links on a Tumblr page. I was thinking it would be neat to have Twitter updates or Tumblr posts appear alongside the MT posts. If I can manage to do this, I'd use each of the three tools as follows:

* MT blog posts: longer, more fleshed-out posts (similar to the "fireballs" on Daring Fireballs) about any number of subjects.
* Tumblr posts: used for posting links to interesting things I find or perhaps shorter, more off-the-cuff posting, about two or three sentences in length.
* Twitter updates: used when I have a particularly striking thought that I feel the need to share. I like Twitter for doing this because I can update it via SMS if I'm away from the computer.

My desire, as I mentioned, is to have the updates from these three different sources all appear as part of one source of content. I imagine this is the sort of thing that could be done with some combination of RSS feeds and a Movable Type plugin or two, but that's where I'm stuck--I have no idea what would make this possible. I spent about an hour earlier today playing with reBlog, which ultimately proved to be a colossal waste of time. I'm sure this is something that CAN be done; I just have no idea how to do it, and I'm hoping maybe someone here does.

Bonus question: is it possible to give each type of post a different CSS styling...a different font, background color, border, etc.?
posted by phaded to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Apparently Twitter has badges that let you embed recent tweets on your blog. (A sentence that would have been incomprehensible not that long ago and is still only borderline comprehensible now.)

That wouldn't style it, of course, but it's easy peasy. Kottke is styling his tweets, so it's clearly possible. He's probably grabbing the RSS feed.
posted by kindall at 7:00 PM on February 20, 2008

Is there a reason you don't want to do all of the above in Tumblr? Tumblr allows lengthy posts via the Text post type. Since it also has built in functionality for doing feed-to-posts, that takes care of your Twitter posts. Using the new {TagsAsClasses} variable, you can style posts imported from Twitter differently than the other Text posts. Using Tumblr to pull it all together is going to be significantly easier than trying to replicate Tumblr functionality in MT.

Alternatively, if you're looking for something like Tumblr that you can host, you may want to look into the Chyrp platform. It's brand new but it's designed for this type of posting that takes multiple inputs. In Chyrp, each type of post is called a feather. By default, Chyrp includes feathers for all the types of posts in Tumblr via the Tumblr Pack. Unlike MT which requires you to post within the blog post structure, Chyrp builds separate tables for each feather (type of post). I think a feather for Twitter is also in the works.

For your bonus question: Yes, it is possible but it requires you to play around with meta fields or special plugins. Essentially you'd be giving each type of post a different div class. So photo posts would be wrapped in a while link posts would be wrapped in . Then you apply different CSS styles for each class div. This is generalized but hopefully, you get the picture.
posted by junesix at 7:37 PM on February 20, 2008

As an example of page posts, here's an About page and Contact page from my Tumblr. It doesn't have the usual permalink URL but it's good enough for me. I also have comments enabled for all the posts via Disqus.
posted by junesix at 7:39 PM on February 20, 2008

Action Streams can probably do (most) of what you're looking for, but I haven't spent much time looking at it myself just yet.
posted by schustafa at 7:44 PM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding Action Streams, as this seems to be the use case it was designed for.
posted by Remy at 7:56 PM on February 20, 2008

Yeah, I'm in the process of doing what you're doing, and Action Streams is the killer app plugin which I've been waiting for on MT.
posted by brownpau at 8:15 PM on February 20, 2008

Response by poster: junesix, I think your suggestion of Tumblr might be the winner. While I wish I had a little bit more control over things (in particular, I'm not thrilled with them throwing the HTML and the CSS into one textarea, although I suppose that's easily fixable), I definitely like it a lot as a platform.

One gripe I do have, though, is that there's no way to pull content from the Twitter feed more than once an hour. Oh well.
posted by phaded at 10:20 AM on February 21, 2008

Response by poster: Eh...actually, Tumblr doesn't give me NEARLY enough control over the look and feel of things, particularly the archives page.

Guess I'll keep looking, and possibly revise my plans.
posted by phaded at 12:56 PM on February 21, 2008

Best answer: Right, that is the major fault of Tumblr as a true blog, it lacks any way to customize archives beyond the default /archives/ page style.

For Twitter, there is the MT-Twitter plugin for MT.

On the WordPress platform, there's a QuickPost plugin that handles some of the formats that Tumblr uses. It mimics the same entry fields as Tumblr for Text/Link (essentially the same thing), Photo, Quote, and Video.
posted by junesix at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2008

If you'd like to see what's possible with a bit of CSS trickery in Tumblr, check out Paul Giacherio's brand new "Museum" theme. A lot of fun stuff in there.
posted by junesix at 1:24 PM on February 21, 2008

Best answer: Phaded, I work with the MT team and this is exactly where we're headed with stuff like Action Streams. If you're stumped by how that works, or you're not just looking to capture the fact that you posted on Tumblr/Twitter, but want to capture the content itself, then Refeed will do exactly what you want, and is nowhere near as convoluted as Reblog. You just install the plugin, go to the settings for your blog, and put in the RSS feed for your Tweets and Tumbls. Feel free to drop me a line if I can help you out with it, and we'll be making this stuff easier in the future. :)
posted by anildash at 6:56 PM on February 21, 2008

Response by poster: junesix, I actually just came across the link to the MT-Twitter plugin, which reminded me to come back and check this thread. So thanks for that.

anildash, wow, it's pretty cool that you've posted in my thread. :) Refeed is definitely intriguing, and looks like the type of thing that I'll be spending my weekend playing with. I'm glad to hear that MT is moving in this direction, and you may just be hearing from me in the future.
posted by phaded at 7:55 PM on February 21, 2008

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