Personalizing the Site

Work on the site continues with the addition of some personal info and links to current reading, listening, and viewing material. I figured it was about time to put a little more of my own personality into the site. It's been nearly a year, and I've barely identified myself, so I feel this is long overdue. Only the scantest of biographical bites so far, but more according to time, demand, and my ability to find cool but modest ways to describe myself. The Reading, Listening, and Watching items are made possible through yet another nifty Movable Type plugin, MTAmazon. It handily fetches XML data such as image links and prices from keywords given in my entries. I set up new categories for Readings and Tunes (plus the previous Flicks category), and use the CatEntries plugin to pull up category information on recent entries in each of those categories. It got a bit tricky, because I wanted to be able to quickly change the content in the sidebar without having to write a full entry. So I created entries with just the title and keywords. I didn't want these showing up in the main list of entries, as they'd be nothing but the name of a book, CD, or DVD, so I excluded Readings, Tunes, and Flix from the main listing and the archives.

This wasn't what I wanted either. Full entries that are categorized, for example, as both Travel and Reading (what I'm reading on a trip) get excluded from the main listing. Likewise, full entries in these categories (rather than just the keyword entries) get excluded as well under this system. If I wanted to talk about my favourite film, or the new group I discovered, in any detail, I wanted to have these show up in both the main entries AND the sidebar.

Then I hit upon it, and share this for any of you bloggers who are trying to do the same thing. I simply created a new category called "Exclude" and assigned it as a second category to all the keyword-only entries for quick-and-easy sidebar content updates. Then I added <MTCatEntries lastn="8" exclude="Exclude"> as the container for my main entries, archives, and recent entries lists, which skips all those while leaving the full Readings, Tunes, and Flicks entries. Voila!

Posted on December 23, 2003 and filed under Site Design.