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Preview: Comments on: blogging / pinging / rss / publishing

Comments on: blogging / pinging / rss / publishing

Comments on Ask MetaFilter post blogging / pinging / rss / publishing

Published: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 14:47:21 -0800

Last Build Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 14:47:21 -0800


Question: blogging / pinging / rss / publishing

Sun, 22 Apr 2007 13:36:03 -0800

Can I use a desktop blogging client to upload posts but keep them 'Unpublished' in Movable Type? What exactly happens when Movable Type publishes?

I'm looking for a desktop / browser blogging client to use with Movable Type 3.34 that will give me WYSIWYG editing, and I've got a couple questions about how Movable Type works.

I'd like something that will let me upload posts to the server but keep them with an 'Unpublished' status so that I can choose when to publish them later.

So far I've tried BlogJet, BlogDesk, ScribeFire, Ecto, and Windows Live Writer.

All (but Windows Live Writer) give you the option to upload post as a draft, but then within the Movable Type interface the post appears as published (however, it doesn't actually show until the site is rebuilt). If I actually publish the post in one of the clients, it appears on the front page.

So--a couple questions about how Movable Type works:

1. Is this behavior to be expected? (Someone was recently explaining to me that when you schedule a post to go up later, there's a bug in Movable Type and it won't actually appear until the site is rebuilt--this 'post as draft' behavior would seem to go along with that.)

2. As long as I post as draft and then switch to 'Unpublished', I should be fine as far as my posts not going out, right?

3. If I forget to publish as draft, and the post goes live, but then I immediately change it back to unpublished, will it still go out in my RSS feed? What's the time delay? (Or am I fundamentally misunderstanding the way RSS works--is the post only accessible if the person loads the feed that second it's live, but if they check later it won't be there?)

4. Same with the servers I'm pinging--if something goes live and I unpublish/delete it, does the ping still go out and just point back to nothing? Or does the ping die/negate itself?

5. And finally...which desktop / browser blogging client do you prefer?

Basically I don't want to pre-publish / annoy my readers when I use something other than the standard Movable Type interface to put posts on the server. I'm relatively new to Movable Type and blogging in general, so any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks hive mind!

By: ijsbrand

Sun, 22 Apr 2007 14:47:21 -0800

I prefer w.Bloggar as a weblog client, because it offers me the possibility to add custom made tags to my typing. Which is a lot of help in the coding.

On the other end, I don't know that much about Movable Type. Especially because I hated it that it needed the rebuilding every time.

However, I can give you some answers, based on my experience with w.Bloggar and Wordpress.

1. Don't know
2. Yes.
3. Based on what I experienced with Wordpress: if I publish a post with a timed delay, the RSS-feed is already available, even though the post doesn't show on the blog. RSS behaviour cen be weird.
4. As for as I know you only ping you've published something, not what you've published.
5. w.Bloggar, though I have used Zempt in the past with success as well.

By: Matt Oneiros

Sun, 22 Apr 2007 15:25:29 -0800

MT API reference

I'm not quite sure what's going on, but I reckon mt.PublishPost is responsible for changing the state of a post to published or unpublished and rebuilding the site, and it may be calling metaweblog.newPost for new posts. Depending on how the client is implementing published/unpublished results may vary. At least based on the MT docs and my limited experience with MT's specific xml-rpc API. I have not read MT's source though.

Also, I've noticed a lot (most?) of blog clients continue to display UI elements for features not actually supported by the used API.

As for clients, flock, deepest sender, w.bloggar.

By: anildash

Sun, 22 Apr 2007 20:52:19 -0800

Hi reflexed, I work with the Movable Type team. There is a weirdness around this behavior in the API for historical reasons that you probably don't want to be bored with.

The bottom line is, you can make the "draft" setting in any of those clients work by putting this line in your mt-config.cgi file:

NoPublishMeansDraft 1

Basically, this is a setting that will make sure drafts work correctly. To answer your other questions:

1. Yes, this behavior to be expected, though the workaround above should fix it. The bug you're describing with scheduled posts isn't how MT is intended to work -- if scheduled posts aren't showing up, you should file a help ticket with our support folks and they can help you straighten that out.

2. If you don't make that change to the mt-config.cgi file, basically all posts are published (really, published) so switching them back to draft would work, but they would have already gone out in the meantime.

3. If you immediately change it back to unpublished, the RSS feed will be updated to remove the post. However, most people read feeds in applications like My Yahoo, Google Reader, or Bloglines, and those services tend to grab MT's RSS feeds very quickly. That means if they've grabbed your feed during the short time when the post was visible, their millions of users will be able to see the post. This is basically because feeds are published as static files. (also, ijsbrand, MT doesn't require rebuilding for publishing posts, and hasn't for a few years, though it does if you want the benefits of static pages.)

4. If something goes live and I unpublish/delete it, it does just point back to nothing. This happens a lot with spam blogs on services that get a lot of spam posts.

5. I really like Windows Live Writer and Microsoft Word 2007, both of which support MT really well despite being created by Microsoft. Qumana is also pretty interesting, in addition to all the other ones you've mentioned. Honestly, a lot of these clients still feel surprisingly rough around the edges, but I'm hoping they mature in the future.

Hope that helps! If not, email me at and I can route you to the right people to get you all set.

By: anildash

Sun, 22 Apr 2007 20:54:00 -0800

Oh, and more info on NoPublishMeansDraft is on Jay Allen's blog.

By: reflexed

Mon, 23 Apr 2007 07:58:10 -0800

thanks anil et al. really helpful.