February 2010 Archives

UploadDir plugin added

I added a new plugin to the Movable Type Enterprise 4 instance called UploadDir (Japanese to English, Google Translate link). The “Insert Image” and “Upload File” dialogs normally only have two default options,  “<site root>” and “<siteroot>/yyyy/mm/dd.” Then there is a text input field to manually specify another directory. This plugin auto-suggests an upload directory based on the three-letter file extension.

UploadDir dialog

Blog administrators can override the default settings under Tools → Plugins → UploadDir. Below are the default options:

audio: mp3,wma,m4a,midi,wav,aiff
videos: mp4,m4v,mpeg,avi,mov,wmv
images: bmp,jpg,jpeg,gif,tif,tiff,png
text: txt
docs: pdf,doc,xls,ppt
src: pl,c,cc,pas,rb
archive: bz2,cab,gz,jar,lzh,rar,tar,taz,zip

blogs.princeton.edu relaunch

The blog published to blogs.princeton.edu/main took a two-year hiatus. This was mostly thanks to a flood of Roxen-related development projects and because I had never had a chance to migrate this site to Movable Type Enterprise (MTE) 4.

Stay tuned for more frequent postings about system updates, outages, and tutorials for improving your blog. The top five headlines from this blog also publish to the dashboard of the MTE administrative interface.

I based the new site design on the Professional Website template set. I also created a new logotype treatment for the Princeton University Blog Service logo.

Here are a few hints about what is coming in the next few months:

  • We will migrate the database from MySQL to MySQL Enterprise, with automatic restarting after failure and a mirrored database server that can be brought online in the event of compete failure.
  • We will migrate the blog service from its original server box to two virtual machines in separate locations that will provide load balancing and redundancy.
  • The MTE 4.x admin interface will switch from blogs/mt4 to /mt, and the legacy MTE 1.5 instance will switch from /mt to /mt3.
  • We will eventually migrate the last of the blogs off of the MTE 1.5 server (probably just in time for the next major version, renewing the cycle).
  • We will bring the News Hybrid template set into production, which is a slick template set for publications.

Adding non-Princeton users

Blog administrators sometimes need to add users who have no direct affiliation with Princeton University. One past solution was to have a department create a Departmental Computer User (DCU) account. Another option was to create an "mt underscore" user and direct that user to a separate (no longer active) instance at blogs2.princeton.edu.

Fortunately, OIT's Security and Data Protection group came up with a much more elegant solution. Their Guest Account Provisioning service allows a Princeton University faculty or staff member to sponsor up to 25 guest accounts. A sponsor can set up and manage these accounts via an easy-to-use online tool.

The username for a guest account is the guest user's e-mail address. A common mistake is to leave off the text following the @. Guest accounts expire after one year, but can be renewed.

Once a sponsor has created a guest account, he or she can e-mail blogs@princeton.edu to request that the new user be added to the blog system.

Please carefully review the KnowledgeBase article about Guest Account Provisioning before proceeding with guest account creation.

MTE 4 rolled back to 4.32

On February 3, I attempted the minor upgrade from Movable Type Enterprise 4.32 to version 4.33. This upgrade promised a few bug fixes and security patches. Unfortunately, later that day I discovered a bug with the publishing of date-based archives. I confirmed this bug on forums.movabletype.org.

Six Apart has released a patch to 4.33 that must be manually applied. We will instead wait for the official 4.34 release.

Legacy MTE upgraded to 1.56

So far we have only been migrating users to Movable Type Enterprise (MTE) 4.x upon request. Quite a few users still manage their blogs through our legacy installation at blogs.princeton.edu/mt.

The mixed environment of Princeton LDAP and non-LDAP users forced us to keep that version of Movable Type Enterprise at 1.0.3 (MTE 1.x is equivalent to MT 3.x). This was an undesirable security risk. The recent introduction of the Guest Account Provisioning (GAP) service allowed us to remove non-LDAP users from the system, freeing us to move to MTE 1.56.

Users should not have noticed any minor changes to the user interface; most of the visible changes in this version dealt with user management. Those with questions about the updated version, or those who would like to migrate their blog to MTE 4 should contact blogs@princeton.edu.