How to make Movable Type do Radio Userland "Stories"

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Radio Userland has a feature called "Stories" which allows you to write items outside the normal chronological flow of posts. I had a few "Stories" in my old Radio Userland weblog that I hadn't migrated over to Movable Type, mainly because I was not sure what the best way was to do that.

Initially, it seemed like the only way I could incorporate my stories into MT was to create a separate index template for each story. This would be okay if I planned on never having more than a few stories, but it would quickly become unmanageable as the number of stories increased.

Then I read Brad Choate's post, "Doing your whole site with MT". This method is *much* better than creating separate index templates for every story. Using the steps in his post as a guide, this is what I did on my blog:

1. Created a new Movable Type blog and named it " Static Content".

I created a new MT blog and named it "The Tweezer's Edge: Stories" - it seemed to fit better with what I was going to use it for.

2. Deleted all the Index templates.

This seemed really unusual until I fully understood how everything worked. I did initially delete all of the index templates, but ended up adding a main index template afterwards to display an index of story (entry) titles.

3. Deleted all the archive templates, except for the Individual archive template.

I followed this step exactly.

4. Made sure individual archives were enabled.

I followed this step as well.

5. Made the archive path the root directory of my web site.

By doing this, you can then direct MT to create the story html files anywhere in your weblog. I wanted my stories to all be placed under my "archives" directory, so I made the archive path the same as my main weblog.

6. Created categories for each directory I want to create content for (category name = directory name).

I did not want to use categories for my stories, so I did not perform this step.

7. Used the following for the Individual Entry Archive filename template (specified on the "Archiving" page of your weblog configuration). Produces: "category/entry_title.html":

<$MTEntryCategory lower_case="1"$><MTIfNotEmpty var="EntryCategory">/</MTIfNotEmpty><$MTEntryTitle dirify="1"$>.html

Since I did not intend to use categories, all I needed for the file name template was "stories/entry_title.html", so this is the archive filename template I used:
stories/<$MTEntryTitle dirify="1"$>.html

With this setup, each entry in this weblog becomes its own separate page without the need for separate templates.

As I noted in step 2, I did add an index template to display a list of story (entry) titles. The only issue I had with my story index template was that I wanted to include some template modules from my main blog, but MT does not provide a way for one weblog to access modules in another weblog. Then I discovered the OtherBlog plugin, which allowed me to do exactly that.

This is really a slick way to handle "stories" and other static content. I've now finally migrated my stories into MT. In my links column (under "Navigation"), my About Me page is a story, and my index of stories can be viewed by clicking on the Stories Index link.

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Wow, the sound of my own hand slapping my forehead with a loud, "duh!". The TweezerMan (not sure if I want to know the story behind that name) has provided easy to copy templates for creating RSS Feeds for Trackbacks... Read More