Create an image gallery in Movable Type
- Article 3 of 3
- .net, August 2007
Rob Buckley shows you how to create a photo gallery, complete with comments sections, using Movable Type
It’s easy to think of a blog as just a blog. Obviously, since it was designed that way, a blog system is a great way of publishing regular articles that other people can comment on. But you can use it for much more, since a blog can also act as a basic content management system.
Movable Type is one of the most popular blogging systems available. It’s also very powerful, thanks to built-in technologies such as its largely Perl-based plug-ins, its static page-building mechanism and its templating system. What’s great about the Movable Type templating system is that it uses a very HTML-like system of tags for adding dynamic content, making it easier for regular web designers to understand and to debug.
Rather than needing to know PHP and submitting yourself to that scripting language’s occasionally infuriating debugging system as you might have to with WordPress, you only need to add these tags to regular HTML pages, just as you’d add headline tags, paragraph tags and so on. When Movable Type creates the pages for your site, it’ll replace those tags with the dynamic content, giving you regular HTML files you can open up and edit in any web page editor, direct from the file system. If there’s an error in your coding, it’ll tell you where it found it, what caused it and why there’s a problem.
To show you how simple the system is, we’re going to create a basic photo gallery using Movable Type. You’ll learn how to use MT’s built-in library of styles to give your blog a new look. We’ll also show you how to install plug-ins, create new blog entries and upload pictures using MT’s file uploader. Once you know the basics, you’ll be able to reformat the gallery and amend your blog’s templates to show more sophisticated representations of your photos. To keep it simple, we’ve not put in any error checking, so try not to do “funky” things like include strange characters in filenames.
To follow the tutorial, you’ll need to download a plug-in, MT-PhotoGallery, from http://brandon.fuller.name/archives/hacks/mtphotogallery/. You’ll also need to have some images, otherwise it won’t be much of a gallery. We recommend sizing them to 300 pixels wide, but you can play with the designs and templates to find a size that suits your blog’s look.