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Integrated Quicklinks Tutorial

Hit or Miss

Integrated Quicklinks Tutorial

As promised, here’s a brief tutorial for MoveableType on combining regular weblog entries with quicklinks (basically, entries from two blogs each using a different template) into one column.

(1/10/04 Update: I’ve also created a second tutorial that combines the entries in a different way, which I’m now using on this website)

The assumption is that you have two weblogs set up in MT, one of which you use for short links. In my “quicklink” weblog, I store the link’s description in the EntryTitle field, the URL in the EntryBody field, and any additional description in the EntryMore field (meaning, I have to use a different template than for my other blog).

I’m also assuming that if you’re smart enough to try this, you know your way around MT Plugins, CSS, and inserting a chunk of text into page using PHP or SHTML, etc, so I won’t have to explain everything.

  1. Download and install the GlobalListings and MTCompare plugins.

    (Stephan’s site is temporarily down, so here’s GlobalListings.pl, which you should put in your plugins folder.)

  2. Step deleted 1/8/04: I had originally given instructions for adding a new tag (MTCurrentBlogID) to the Global Listings plugin, until someone pointed out in the comments below that MTBlogID (which is built in) can be used for the same purpose.
  3. In your main weblog, create a new template called “Combined Entries.” The output file should be called “combined.txt” and you should link the template to a file named “combined.tmpl”.

    Paste the following code into the template box:


    Here’s the basic idea: As we loop through the entries from the two weblogs, we use the <MTBlogID> tag to specify which template we’ll use to display the entry. It’s likely that the ID of your main weblog is 1 and your quicklink blog is 2 — if not, you’ll need to adjust the numbers in the template above.

    Because I wanted to group my quicklinks together in a box, I use the the <MTIfEqual>s and <MTIfNotEqual>s to insert formatting before and after groupings of entries (if you don’t want to do this, you can easily remove all those other conditional tags).

  4. So that the include file (combined.txt) will be rebuilt when you add to/edit your other quicklink blog, create a template in that blog with the same information (linked to the same combined.tmpl file).

    Make sure you specify the directory path correctly. For example, if your Quicklink blog is in a subdirectory of your regular weblog (i.e. “/quicklinks”), you may need to use “../combined.txt” (and “../combined.tmpl”) to point the files in the proper direction.

  5. Finally, we include the combined.txt file in your main weblog page. I use the following PHP code:
    <? include("combined.txt"); ?>

    If you don’t have PHP or SHTML, you can try the MTIncludePlus plugin to insert combined.txt into your main weblog page.

And there you have it. A fairly simple way to combine entries from two or more weblogs using different templates.

27 responses so far (Respond)


This site has a useful tutorial on how to use MTSQL to do the same thing, which gives you a bit more flexibility. Also, I posted a tutorial on my site detailing how to combine monthly archives and category archives from multiple weblogs.

Frankie Dintino | 7 Jan 2004

Thank you! I needed to do this because my sidebar was stretching past the entries, and for other reasons. You made it quick and simple! Thank you!

Zach | 7 Jan 2004

Quick question, Matt — there’s no reason why the code couldn’t be modified to incorporate 3 or even 4 blogs, correct?

Joe Grossberg | 7 Jan 2004

Exactly. It would just require a few more conditional tags.

Matt | 7 Jan 2004

You don’t need to define a seperate tag to get the BlogID of the current Entry — MTBlogID in the context of a MTGlobalListings Container returns the BlogID of the Current Entry as used in my Creating an Updates list for Multiple Blogs, which uses essentially the same concept (which can be seen in action at the bottom of http://ed.fanworks.net).

Crys | 7 Jan 2004

One question: When you edit the template, do you have to edit, save, and rebuild each blog (1 and 2) separately each time you change the template? I have been, but I don’t know whether that is necessary. It’s a pain.

Zach | 7 Jan 2004

This is really good stuff, but – argh – there is a hitch with it, from a valid markup point of view. The /ul tag at the top of the template will always be inserted whether or not it’s needed, which will result in an orphaned /ul at the top of #1 weblog.

I notice that the /ul at the bottom of the template code is intended to close the quicklinks list – only it doesn’t seem to do anything, hence I presume the /ul at the top of the template.

Try as I might, I can’t solve this. I’m sure there’s a workaround though.

Marcus | 8 Jan 2004

I made a slight change in the template to prevent it from inserting the leading </ul> tag.

Matt | 9 Jan 2004

I just wanted to mention that if people are not yet using the “Post to MT” bookmarklet, it makes things really easy to post to a quicklinks section.

Charles | 11 Jan 2004

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Pathways | 9 Aug 2004

Thank you! I needed to do this because my sidebar was stretching past the entries, and for other reasons. You made it quick and simple! Thank you!

Zach | 4 Nov 2009