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John T. Unger

40+ Ways that TypePad Could Rock Even Harder

John T. Unger March 6, 2006

image from hetemeel.com


Update 2:21:2007: I've added links to more hacks which solve issues discussed below.

Update 9:22:2006: I've just gone through and updated the Agenda list to include  Hacks and new updates to TypePad's software that resolve issues on the list. Out of 65 items currently on the list, 14 have links to Hacks or updates. There are a few others that I know can be fixed, but haven't published the hacks for yet. Definite progress… not even counting the other updates to the software that were not on the list before the design team implemented them!

Update 3:20:2006: This entry is now the TypePad Hacks Agenda— New feature requests and suggestions from comments will be added here on an ongoing basis. Each has been edited to format it for the list, but includes author credit and a link to the original comment. A new post will announce changes whenever the list updates.

NEW: Quick Links to request categories: New Features, Typelists, Comments + Trackbacks, Blog Management, User Interface, Customer Relations

Here's a list of the things I'd like to see changed in TypePad. Some are new features, some are issues that I feel would improve the existing interface, some are either bugs or oversights. This is the "master list" and I'll add to it as other bloggers make suggestions. I'm also going to devote a post to each of these, and why I feel they are important. For now, I just want to create an overview. If there's something that's really bugging you or that you've long wished to see implemented in TypePad, please let me know in the comments section.

Some of these suggestions can currently be done in Advanced Templates or handled by third party solutions. Many of them should be should be integrated into TypePad's core functionality. It's also possible that some of the things I suggest can already be done in some way that I overlooked. Feel free to make corrections or suggestions in the comments.

My favorite is (of course) at the very top of the list.

typepad store icon


New Features:
  1. TypePad Storefronts Shopping Template + Layouts. A compose window that creates a store layout with extended entries that serve as product pages. The catalog would be generated from a thumbnail image, title and pay pal button, not unlike a photoblog layout. The extended entry would contain descriptive text, full size photo and a pay pal button. Having a TypePad network of stores (just as TypePad.com has featured blogs and photoblogs) would bring more non-users to TypePad as potential customers. Using categories and tags to organize a dynamically generated store would be a powerful reason to come to TypePad as a host. This could be so frickin' huge… I'll be posting  screen shots of proposed layouts and templates soon.
  2. Category archives for photo blogs. Being able to organize photos by category within one photoblog would be a powerful tool.
  3. Custom spelling dictionaries tied to user accounts. (It's silly that the spell check feature doesn't recognize the word "blog," for instance).
  4. printer-friendly page (if checked, this generates an icon in the footer linked to a text-only pop-up of the page. Just as "insert image" generates a thumbnail image with a pop-up that displays a larger picture.
  5. Email forms for blog authors. The current encryption used to encode email address in a standard Typelist can be easily read by using "get info" in FireFox.
    (Read this post to learn how to incorporate a secure email form for your typepad blog, with a free or paid account from freedback or response-o-matic).
  6. "Email this post" buttons for Basic and Plus accounts.
    (Create email this post links for Basic account TypePad blogs by using Feedburner's free FeedFlare service).
  7. Top level navigation bar, directly below the header.
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this Hack).
  8. Permanent intro post or homepage.
    (Create a killer landing page with a TypePad Plus or Pro account using this Hack.
    Or, refer to this post to learn about hosting HTML pages on TypePad and creating better "about" pages even in Basic TypePad accounts).
  9. "Sticky" posts (short entries at the the top of each post, either for announcements or to orient new readers)
    (You can now pin a post to the top of your blog's home page by marking it as "featured." It's easy to do -- read how in the Knowledge Base article.).
  10. NEW: I would love to have the ability to make the title of a post link to the Permalink URL.
    Posted by:Phillip Molly Malone | March 20, 2006 at 06:08 PM
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this Hack).
    : this is now a standard feature for TypePad.
  11. NEW: I would like to suggest the ability to add text ads (such as Adsense) between posts.
    Posted by:Jorge | March 20, 2006 at 08:31 PM
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this Hack kindly provided by Asha Dornfest.
  12. NEW: I'd like expandable excerpts, rather than entire posts, to show up in the archives. Clicking on a category or month in an older, active blog, brings up a very long page to scroll through.
    Posted by: Nuthatch | April 28, 2006 at 05:40 AM
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this Hack).
  1. Drop down menus for categories and monthly archives can be created in Advanced Templates. This should be a standard Typelist option.
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this hack).
  2. It should be possible to set the number of months displayed in the archives sidebar, just as you can with categories. Including "set to all" (Currently, there isn't an option to increase the number of items displayed in the Archives listing. It only lists the ten most recent periods.)
  3. A built-in, native search function would be a nice Typelist feature.
  4. The sidebar calendar should use scroll arrows to navigate between months.  The "publish on" pop-up calendar in the blog compose widow has this feature.
  5. I would like to be able to make a  TypeList that does not display a title, only the content.
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this hack).
  6. The "your TypeLists" page should display the file name used by the system to identify the TypeList in Advanced Templates.
    (To do this  use this hack).
  7. Grouping TypeLists by blog would be useful for those who have multiple blogs.
    (To do this  use this hack).
  8. It should be possible to see which blogs each TypeList is attached to from the "your TypeLists" page. Some Typelists get used on multiple blogs.
    (To do this  use this hack).
  9. It should be possible to use a different descriptive name for TypeLists than the title that displays on the blog. Multiple blogs may have the TypeLists with the same title but different content.
    (To do this  use this hack).
  10. NEW: Ability to change the order of Typelists on the "About" page.
    Posted by: Nuthatch | March 23, 2006 at 07:17 AM
    (To do this use this hack).
  11. NEW: Sub categories in drop-down menus.
    Posted by: pieman | March 23, 2006 at 04:46 AM
    (To do this  use this hack).
  12. NEW: Subcategories for Typelists.
    Posted by: Chris |   March 31, 2006 at 04:48 PM
  13.  NEW: I would like to be able to set a custom order for items in Typelists.
    Posted by: Chris | March 31, 2006 at 04:48 PM
    (To do this, you can adapt the instructions in this hack).
Comments + Trackbacks:
  1. Although it is possible to create a comments feed in Advanced Templates, comment feeds should be a standard feature.
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this hack).
  2. When comments are set to require approval, a notice should be generated so that the commenter knows his comment has been sent and is awaiting approval.
    (This is now integrated into the standard comment form)
  3. It should be possible to turn off TrackBacks or comments for all archived posts, rather than having to do this individually for each post.
    (To do this in a Basic or Plus account use this hack. In Advanced Templates, use this hack).
    (this is now possible by using bulk actions on posts, as desribed in this post).
  4. It should be possible to set comments and TrackBacks to be open for specified time period. IE: after one week, or one month, TrackBacks or comments are automatically closed. Most valid comments and TrackBacks appear when a post is fresh.
  5. NEW: I'd like an easy way to style the author's comments to make them stand out from reader comments.
    Posted by: Chris | March 31, 2006 at 04:48 PM
    (To do this in Advanced Templates, use this hack).
  6. NEW: E-mail notification for readers leaving a comment on a post-by-post basis. (to alert them when others respond to their comment).
    Posted by: Bud Parr | Apr 6, 2006
  7. NEW: Let TypeKey user's comments be automatically approved when comment moderation is enabled (as an option on each blog's configuration).
    Posted by: Bud Parr | Apr 6, 2006
Blog Management Issues:
  1. I've lost many a post by clicking "save" in a compose window that was opened before  service went down. A warning notice in the header when there is scheduled downtime (or even more importantly, unscheduled downtime) would prevent this. I can think of four ways to do this:
    a)  by importing a real-time feed from the TypePad status blog into a field in the compose window. This is probably too much of a server load. A better solution might use ajax to detect whether service is up and then:
    a) AUTOSAVE (locally)
    b) save locally to named file when "save" is clicked
    c) give a warning on error code (404, 505, etc, etc) or timeout on publish, with option to re-attempt to republish.
    The current system just loses all the data when you click save if the service is down.
  2. Currently, if a blog is set to display oldest entries first, it shows posts in chronological order but displays only the most recent 10 (or however many entries the main index page is set to display). It should start with the first post, or this should be an option. The existing way pretty much guarantees that all readers will be dumped in the middle.
  3. The insert image feature should allow  users to choose (or create) a directory for the image, rather than just dumping it into "Uncategorized Photos". This would make it easier to back blogs up, easier to find and replace images if needed and most importantly would prevent having to scroll through a directory of 1000's of loose files when searching for a specific image.
  4. There should be a way to back up image files as well as blog posts.
  5. "Uncategorized Photos" should not appear in the stats + referrers menu. It does not actually lead to any data, and is just takes up space for users with multiple blogs.
  6. When exporting a back-up file of a blog, it should be possible to break it into multiple files by category or month or post. The current export feature generates one long file. This runs the risk of eventually becoming too large on older blogs with many posts. Imagine trying to back up boing boing in one file!
  7. NEW: The ability to offer individual category feeds. Bud comments that category feeds are already do-able!
    (For instructions, read this article in the TypePad Knowledge Base).
    Posted by: Stuart Bruce - BMA PR | March 17, 2006 at 05:05 AM
  8. NEW: Method to create a single post and publish to multiple blogs (like a mini-blog-network).
    Posted by: Steve Borsch | March 17, 2006 at 09:48 AM
  9. NEW: An import/export feature for template designs, similar to the import/export feature for posts. It should be possible to import either single templates or groups.
    Posted by: john t unger | March 17, 2006 at 01:18 PM
  10. NEW: The ability to have a "Next/Previous" or "More" link at the bottom of the main index page.
    Posted by: Jerry Dunn | March 19, 2006 at 03:52 AM
  11. NEW: A template that allows users to add a footer with various content to index pages.
    Posted by: john t unger | March 19, 2006 at 08:07 PM
  12. NEW: A backup/restore function for templates.
    Posted by: Ivan Pope | March 17, 2006 at 11:28 AM
  13. NEW: I'd like to be able to select which photo albums and/or weblogs to post to when  moblogging. It appears that TypePad allows only a single default location.
    Posted by: James Milstid | March 20, 2006 at 11:11 PM
  14. NEW: I'd like to be able to more clearly separate authorship of multiple blogs under one account. I have two blogs under one account, but don't want them to share identifying features such as the author "nickname" or Amazon Associates ID in my Typepad profile.
    Posted by:Nuthatch | March 23, 2006 at 07:17 AM
  15. NEW: When you have junior authors assigned to your blog the admin should get an alert each time they post so that they know there is new content to be reviewed.
    Via email from: John Jantsch | April 7, 2006, at 5:21 PM
  16. NEW: More pinging options (perhaps add your own).
    Posted by: Bud Parr | Apr 6, 2006
  17. NEW: A place to designate which feeds (even if they're Feedburner or some other service) to be used for auto-discovery (without using Advanced Templates).
    (Feedburner feed management has now been incorporated into the TypePad application as described here).
    Posted by: Bud Parr | Apr 6, 2006
  18. NEW: The ability to manage Advanced Templates in an outside editor.
    Posted by: Bud Parr | Apr 6, 2006
User Interface issues:
  1. Add text justification buttons to the "compose post" tool bar. It's the one word processing tool that I miss the most when doing blog entries, and really seems like a standard feature that should be included. It's silly to be able to click a button to style text as a bulleted or numbered list, but not be able to control justification on a paragraph level without going into the html. I use justification most often for photos, so, it could be included in the insert image dialogue, but would be more useful in the compose post window.
  2. Add "insert media" button to compose window for video and sound files
  3. The calendar interface used to select when an entry will be posted is awkward when scheduling entries more than a month or two into the past or future. It would be better to use drop down menus for day, month and year.
  4. Add a window for tags, similar to the TrackBack window.
    (Technorati Tags have  been incorporated into the TypePad application as described here. Also see this update if you are using an older blog template.
  5. Stats should use a cookie to discount my own visits to my blog.
  6. Add an embedded real-time survey feature.
    (Read this post to learn how to incorporate embedded real-time surveys for your typepad blog, using MajikWidget).
  7. TypeKey allows multiple web addresses. It should also allow me to select the one I want to use as default.
  8. Although there are plenty of third party solutions for offline blog editors, I would really like to have a TypePad-native offline editor.
  9. NEW: On the page after sign-in, blogs are listed at the top in a blue box. If blogs were listed in order of most recently modified, my favorite blogs would always rise to the top.
    Posted by:Douglass Davidoff | March 24, 2006 at 05:34 AM
  10. NEW: I would love to be able to choose the order blogs are listed on the "Your Weblogs" page by rating their importance to me, rather than by alphabetical order (or posting frequency).
    Posted by: john t unger | March 24, 2006 at 12:04 PM
Customer Relations issues:
  1. A TypePad equivalent of Robert Scoble who actively engages with the customer base and other bloggers.
  2. Archived posts at http://status.sixapart.com, so users can see the history of TypePad Service and what was done to rectify outages. This is crucial to transparency. Service outage posts should not be deleted when service is restored.
  3. TypePad should maintain a list of available third party solutions for stuff they don't want to take on personally. This could almost certainly be outsourced to a customer evangelist, but should be accessible from somewhere obvious within the knowledge base.
  4. There should be a way to purchase incremental bandwidth for bloggers who are between the TypePad Pro and TypePad business account.

More Like This: Info , Issues , Six Apart , TypePad

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Stuart Bruce - Wolfstar says:

Definitely offer needs comment subscription but would also be benefit from ability to offer individual category feeds.

Ric says:

Hmmmm - you HAVE been thnking about this for a while, haven't you? There's a lot of good stuff in there ...

I haven't lost a post yet due to an outage, but I have lost one by accidentally opening another link in the same tab (FF) ... very frustrating.

The storefront idea would make it pretty easy to use a blog for your entire on-line presence/business - damn fine idea!

Well, I'm only up to March 6th, but I like where this is going.

Steve Borsch says:

Wow John...really nice list. Typepad store could be huge. Here are a few additions:

New Features

1) Method to create a single post and publish to multiple blogs (this is between a pro and business blog...but even a mini-blog-network concept would be cool. Today, I run a few private client blogs and often have to cut-n-paste the same entry several times and if there is an image inside it, I have to re-input the image *or* the security set for one blog will interfere with parsing in another blog with different security since the image reference is identical and looks for the place it was first input.

2) Top Level Nav Bar. Need to reiterate how HUGE this would be for almost quasi-website use of a blog.

3) Templates, templates, templates. Did I mention templates? Even some of Six Apart's Movable Type partners have gorgeous templates. No...98.7% of Typepad users will *not* go in and fool around with CSS or advanced templating. I've done what I can to move away from pedestrian designs offered by Typepad, and there's *no* reason why they couldn't offer a s**tload of new templates that would actually use some cutting edge web design principles (look at squarespace.com as one example).

User Interface
Been with Typepad since December of 2004 and I *still* have to stop and think about where some miscellaneous feature is buried. The admin UI is *not* intuitive nor geared for workflow.

Customer Relations
What customer relations? At a minimum, actually blogging on the SixApart status blog would be a start. Often a "stats are down" or some such issue is posted...then complete radio silence afterwards. For a company providing tools for conversation online, there is an almost amusing lack of it from Typepad.


Ivan Pope says:

I don't agree with the order, but I agree with just about everythign on this list. It just seemed to me that Six Apart have never been very serious about adding new stuff or updating the way things are done in TypePad. It's a bit stagnant.
I totally agree that a company like Six Apart (a BLOGGING company, ferchrissakes, should be blogging like crazy. But they have gone all corporate and busy and stopped a long while back. Bad news).
One thing that bugs me is the lack of simple support for changing stuff when you're using an Advanced Template. For example, if I create a new List, I find it really hard to find out how to add it to my Advanced Template. So basically, I don't do things like that. But it would be really simple for TypePad to help me out - if they just understood the issues.

john t unger says:


Yeah, I lost a nice post last night to a crash of FF. Fortunately, it was one of the few times in my life where the re-write came out better! And yeah, the storefront idea is my flagship here.

john t unger says:


Great comment! Let me take it by the numbers…

1. A cross-posting feature does sound like something with some great potential.In the meantime, I *think* I see a way around the problem you are having with pasting photos… If you were to upload all your pics to one directory that does not have security settings, then wouldn't it show up equally weel in any of your blogs? I haven't played with the security settings, but I'm guessing that blogs can be secure and still carry linked images from non-secure blogs. Let me know if that seems right, and maybe I'll do an extended post about it as a workflow hack.

2. agreed.

3. I think one of the reasons TypePad has been happy to leave most stuff as is is because they also feel users mostly won't want to hack their code. Heck, that was why I chose TypePad over MT in the beginning… I though I wanted the simplicity (I still do) and didn't think I needed to be able to get deep in the code (no longer so true). It's possible that the best way to handle your suggestion of more templates would also solve Ivan's comment on another post here suggesting that there should be a way to backup/restore template items:

If there were a simple import/export feature for template designs, then anyone could create templates for TypePad and users could choose to upload templates from external designers. Actually, yeah, that rocks doesn't it? It would make it easier to monkey with the code without fear of permanently damaging it, it would take the burden of designing and hosting the template designs of Typepad's shoulders (well, servers) and would allow users access to a huge library of skins just like wordpress does. Nice.

User Interface:
It could be better, and yeah I hunt and peck too sometimes. On the other hand, the last time they made changes to the interface (not all that long ago) I think they made some really major improvements. I'm much happier with the current UI than the one before it. So I think, in all fairness, they are trying and succeeding in improving it.

I think the real difficulty lays in the fat that there are *a lot* of features in TypePad and a lot of powerful options. It's hard to design an intuitive UI to navigate that much stuff. At some point, I think it's fair to expect users to really explore and then remember where they found what. No?

john t unger says:


I don't agree with the order, but I agree with just about everything on this list.

Thanks! The order was actually a bit random… I did throw some of my favorite stuff towards the top of the lists, but it all felt fairly important and I was rushing to launch. The numbered list seemed better than bullets, but shouldn't necessarily indicate priority.

john t unger says:

Dammit! Apparently if you have more than one blockquote, you lose the rest of your comment…

(yes, I saved to clipboard. Then I copied again not realizing 3/4 of the comment was gone. crap!)

anyway, RE: templates, Steve. I think you have a point, but it gives me a good idea that would also solve Ivan's complaint on another page that there is no backup/restore feature for template code.

If TypePad made it possible to import/export files for templates it would really open some doors. That way, I could back up my templates, (especially useful before tweaking them) and it would allow anyone to design new templates and offer them to Typepad users (free or for pay).

This would take the burden of hosting and designing templates off of Typepad's back, which would probably be a welcome thing. Another benefit is that it would extend the design possibilities enough to make TypePad truly competitive in the business market and would create a whole new sub-industry for designers.

I really like this idea!

john t unger says:


you said: I totally agree that a company like Six Apart should be blogging like crazy.

I agree, obviously, but go read this exchange in the comments of this post: http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/005872.html

Jay Allen writes:

"I will tell you: a LOT of posts die on the vine at Six Apart because it's more difficult to post under your company's name than it is on your own site. (Ask Niall Kennedy about that one.) So we post a lot of things to our personal sites, just to rattle them off, and before we ever clean them up for the 6A site, we get sucked back down in the actual work we're doing. If there's any barrier at all in a startup to blogging, you just won't do it because you're hopelessly buried with real deliverables.

So I guess the big question is, would you rather that we release slower so that we have time to blog more often? We operate under the assumption that that's not the case. Yes, we do need to get better about blogging, but I know that if you worked for us under the same conditions, you'd find yourself in our shoes. I say that because I have said exactly what you are saying when I was an outside developer living in Hungary. I thought I would come to Six Apart and get us blogging more. I was, at least to this day, wrong."

I totally see his points, it *is* hard to find time to blog when you're busy getting the product out the door. And there is a difficulty in striking the right balance between personal and corporate interests. All the same, even he agree that SixApart need to try to do better. And the blogosphere is full of examples of people who manage to do both blogging and product shipping.

Perhaps what they need to do is hire one person whose sole job is blogging for the company. An evangelist. A Scoble. I'm hoping that as this blog grows and gains an audience, I will start hearing more from the people at SixApart and will be able to present both sides of the story. And obviously I would welcome any comments or feedback from SixApart employees.

I'm not looking for a job. But I'd better be honest here and say that I wouldn't turn one down if I felt like I could still write what I want to, pro or con. I *would turn down* any job that involved censoring posts.

john t unger says:

Oops, Stuart, I missed you didn't I?

yeah, it would be *cool* to be able to offer feeds of specific categories.

I'll be posting a comments feed hack soon. I'll see whether I can figure out how to do one for categories as well.

Steve Borsch says:

To Jay Allen:

"So I guess the big question is, would you rather that we release slower so that we have time to blog more often?"

Sorry Jay. They're not mutually exclusive.

My first boss at my first job out of college drilled in to my head a client/customer service basic:

"If a customer contacts you about a problem, don't go off and solve it and let the customer hang around waiting. They'll wait and wait and wait and wonder what the hell you're doing for them! So after a few hours, pick up the phone and let them know that you don't yet have it solved...but you're working on it."

I can't tell you how many times this ONE simple thing has made all the difference in my client relationships. From a lowly sales rep to a VP of Strategic Alliances working with clients and partner relationships, follow-up and letting the customer know what's up is CRITICAL. Six Apart has one of the most awesome and simple customer informative tool yet developed for a geographically disbursed, tech savvy clientele: the blog post. It's fast, simple, and immediate.

Here's one simple, yet illustrative example:

Jan 26, 2006
TypePad Service

We have temporarily disabled the display for
visitor stats in the app. Status updates to follow.

Updated 1:26 pm PST

After **17 hours** I sent an email to a guy at Six Apart I'd interacted with previously, CEO Barak Berkowitz and left him with this one thought after pointing out the loooong time with zero communication about the outage:

"One of the most powerful aspects of blogging is immediacy. Another is transparency. That said, whenever there are outages with Typepad, Six Apart ironically is neither immediate nor transparent."

Typepad BlogMechanic says:

No time to write a long comment, just wanted to say that people at Six Apart are reading this. Thanks

john t unger says:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the comment. I hope you guys know that I want the best for all of us... I love what you've done so far, I just hope we can work together to make it even better.

I'm excited about this and I'm *really* glad to hear from you.

Nuthatch says:

I nearly wept with joy when I saw this site announced. Typepad is a great tool, and I have been flabbergasted that there isn't a strong community or central hacks repository for users.

As for #5 on your Typelists wish list: you can make a Typelist appear not to have a title by using a font color tag in the title, and making the "title" (one letter if you want) the same color as the sidebar background. The only problem with styling the titles of Typelists is that you are limited to 50 characters, and that includes HTML tags. I've mentioned this in a ticket to Typepad.

Looking forward to reading and participating.

john t unger says:


That's a good idea about using the font tag to "disappear" the title. On the other hand, part of my desire to make it go away was also about saving space in the sidebar. Most of the time, it's no big deal, but a good example of something you might not want a title for is a typelist holding ads from Blogads. Their script provides its own title and it becomes redundant.

The 50 character limit can be frustrating. I ran up against that a long time ago and had forgotten it. Thanks for mentioning it here.

Nuthatch says:

A nice spacesaver in Typelists is to just use one item, and list all your links in it. You can just do a straight list (e.g., multiple lines like "link title
) or use unordered lists, including nested ones. I have examples in my sidebars.

john t unger says:


I like the way you've used the nested lists. It looks good.

I do most all of my typelists as "Notes Typelists" and like you, have learned that they work best if you put everything in one entry (with paragraph, break or list tags to separate items). That way, when I want to edit or reorder them I can just copy the html into an editor (usually dreamweaver, but often a text or email window) and reorder to my heart's delight. It used to drive me nuts having multiple items in a typelist and having to delete the top five and re-add them in order to put a new item in between item 5 and 6.

Still, navigation is one of my pet control freak items… So there are times when I find that I want to put something into the sidebar that doesn't belong within a labeled category. That's where I see it coming in handy to be able to turn the title off. The best example is ads, I think. Most ad's raise people's hackles… Being forced to label them as ads (or worse call them something else) has the potential to annoy people even more by calling attention to the ads' presence.

Ergoblog says:

All I really want (and resent that they don't have) is a stupid "previous 10" kind of link at the bottom of the categories pages. I've practically stopped posting on some of my blogs, because these pages have gotten ridiculously long. I'm not interested in doing weekly archives. I want categories. My friend added this feature to his privately hosted Moveable Type blog, so don't tell me it's hard.

Mollyfud says:

I would love to have the ability to have the title of a post also link to the post view (i.e. the Permalink URL).

Also (I didn't see this, but might be there) is ordering of items in the typelists (including the notes ones).

john t unger says:


Permalink titles are a nice feature. I'll add that to the list on the next round.

Ivan Pope says:

Revisiting the list (which is looking great BTW), it occurs to me that this is probably a good argument for closed v. open software. TypePad is Closed, so everything that gets added has to be added by the company itself, and it will make its own internal decisions on what is worth the effort. These decisions will be driven by an (ultimate) profit motive. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and it doesn't make TypePad a bad system. Compare it to Wordpress, which is an Open system. The entire ecosystem of Wordpress is designed so that users can design and deliver new functionality. In the marketplace of ideas, good and useful additionality will out, so the best things that need to be added tend to get added fairly quickly. There is no internal struggle for resources - just a global network of interested parties who care about the software.
So how can TypePad be more Open and less Closed? Well, they need to make themselves much more extensible. Take the first item on the list - adding a Storefront to TypePad. Well, if they had an extensible architecture, this would have been built already, probably a couple of dozen times, by different people. I can't believe that some of the existing storefronts wouldn't like to deliver a plug in for TypePad. We should be able to choose from a bunch of solutions. But hey, TypePad will get round to it maybe one day.

john t unger says:


I think I'll devote a post soon to address your comment on open-source vs closed in detail. Movable Type *does* allow for open-source development. TypePad doesn't. What I am hoping to achieve with this blog is a sort of hybrid of the two. I think there's some interesting potential in in a hybrid model, on many levels.

Jay Allen says:

Hi there. First off, very interesting blog, and yes, we at Six Aprt are paying attention. I actually came across this post not because of the TypePad-related content but because my it showed up in my PubSub "ego feed" because you mentioned my name.

First let me say that the thread in question had nothing to do with TypePad, but instead Movable Type. Further, and perhaps more important, my response had nothing to do with the TypePad team, but instead the Movable Type team.

The MT team is much leaner than the TypePad team and has been for some time. Finding time to blog is actualy quite difficult when you have a team as small as ours and large looming deadlines. (To wit: I hardly have time to sleep much less blog about things we're not ready to talk about yet...)

As far as your anecdote about helping people and giving them status updates, I assume that you're talking about the TypePad service in which case my answer to the MT user doesn't apply.

Anyhow, I hope that puts my comments into context. We'd all love to blog more, and for the TypePad team it's even more critical. We on the MT team just simply have our heads down and are going full steam ahead.

Take care!
Jay Allen
Movable Type Product Manager
Six Apart - Professional Products Group

Jay Allen says:

John, I now see that that comment wasn't by you but instead by Steve (Damn tiny text!). Just clearing that up. So, rearrange my words as necessary to make them make sense. :-)

Also, on this: "Perhaps what they need to do is hire one person whose sole job is blogging for the company. An evangelist."

As I said on that thread, we agree! In the past, that role has been mainly filled by Anil Dash. He took a few months off from that in order to jump in with us on the Movable Type team, but he's coming back. I can't think of anyone better to interact with bloggers and get people exicted about our products and blogging in general. Evangelism is coming back to Six Apart. At long last...

john t unger says:


Oops, bit of a faux pas on my part, wasn't it. I *did* know you are doing MT, but I *didn't* make that clear enough. I was kind of thinking about Six Apart on the whole that day, rather than TypePad specifically. And I thought that your comment summed up the difficulties involved rather well.

I should have been a bit more careful and thanks for clearing up the possible misunderstanding.

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