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John T. Unger

Feature Requests + Suggestions from Readers of TypePad Hacks

John T. Unger March 20, 2006

There's been quite a lot of good discussion in the comments so far. In fact, comments outnumber posts about 2 to 1 right now. Some great suggestions have been offered which I'm adding to the master list (hereafter known as the TypePad Hacks Agenda). I'll post an entry to the blog whenever I add new material to older pages, but if you'd like to keep track of the conversation in real time, subscribe to the comments feed using the link in the sidebar.

I've edited comments to boil them down to their most basic idea in order to keep the Agenda simple and direct. Most are richer in the original, with explanations of why, how or when a feature would be useful. Links to the original comment will always be included as seen below, and each of the items on the Agenda will get it's own post where it can be fleshed out and discussed in more detail.

So, here's this week's crop of winners:

The ability to offer individual category feeds. Bud calls my attention to the fact that category feeds are already do-able! For instructions, read this article in the TypePad Knowledge Base. (I can see I'm going to be learning as much as everyone else in the course of this blog. Cool.)
Posted by: Stuart Bruce - BMA PR | March 17, 2006 at 05:05 AM

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

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

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

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

A backup/restore function for templates.
Posted by: Ivan Pope | March 17, 2006 at 11:28 AM

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More Like This: Agenda Updates , Community , Dialogue

Comments

Bud Parr says:

Hey John,
I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of being able to easily backup templates.

Here are some thoughts/solutions on a couple of those items:

"The ability to offer individual category feeds."
You can do this. See this Help Page:
http://support.typepad.com/cgi-bin/typepad.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=213

"Method to create a single post and publish to multiple blogs (like a mini-blog-network)."
Ecto will help with this, by allowing you to cross-post across any of your blogs:
http://ecto.kung-foo.tv/

"The ability to have a "Next/Previous" or "More" link at the bottom of the main index page."
I have something like this on my personal blog (chekhovsmistress.com). I created an extra index page with, essentially, the code "" in it. However, TypePad has changed the code and I've yet to fix it, if it can be fixed because they've changed the way archives are presented.

Bud

Bud Parr says:

p.s. I should have mentioned that Ecto is a desktop blogging client (you make your posts through it instead of on-line through your typepad account). It's worth having for a lot of reason, which being able to post across multiple blogs is only one.
Bud

Jorge says:

I don't know if this is the exactly place to do this but I would like to suggest a feature which would offer the possibility of adding Adsense ads (or similar to) between the posts (when using Advanced Templates). I know that there are several plugins for WordPress for doing this but I as far as I know it's not an easy task doing this in TypePad.

john t unger says:

Jorge,

Pretty much any page is fair game for making suggestions… once a week or so I'll round them up and add them to the Agenda page. That said, I think I'll add a specific page and try to get most of the feature requests added there in the future. It'll make it easier for me to be sure I don't miss one.

I've just recently seen a few blogs using ads between posts, and (at least on the blogs where I saw it) I thought it was a really good way to integrate ads without being too disruptive. So yeah, that's an excellent suggestion.

john t unger says:

Bud,

Thanks for pointing out the article on making category feeds! I've adjusted both posts to reflect it. (I'm glad to know it *is* possible. I've considered offer category feeds on a few blogs.)

Ecto is cool, though I wouldn't mind seeing an in-house desktop blog client included in the TypePad Pro subscription.

James Milstid says:

I'll jump in here...
I'd like to see some way of moblogging to different photo albums and/or weblogs. From what I can see TypePad allows one default location. The only way to change it is to go into the control panel and edit mobile settings. I'd like to be able to choose where my photo or post is going when I send it from my phonecam.

It would probably require multiple email addresses, and I'm not so sure the TypePad folks would buy into that... but who knows?

RobiNZ says:

BlogJet ia another desktop blogging client which allows you to create posts off-line and also posts to mulitple blogs, on TypePad or muliple services, in one operation.

http://blogjet.com/

john t unger says:

James,

You might want to see if Six Apart's acquisition of Splashblog will solve that problem.

Robin,

Thanks for mentioning Blogjet. It won't work for me, because I'm on a Mac, but it might be useful to others.

MarsEdit is yet another offline blog editor. I'll be trying it out one of these days soon and perhaps provide a review.

http://ranchero.com/marsedit/

Phillip Molly Malone says:

I noticed you updated the post about the RSS feed of catergories. I would push that you should not do this as it doesn't help those of us who are using the bottom or middle service and don't have advanced editing!

TIA
Molly

john t unger says:

Hi Molly,

If I understand your comment correctly, what you mean is that you would like the ability to offer category feeds at the Basic and Plus levels of TypePad as well as Pro?

I'll have to write a whole post to address this, I think. Obviously the template hacks I'm providing will only work for Pro level users. Most of the changes I'm proposing will also really only be appropriate at the level. There are at least a few things I would like to see added at the Basic and Plus levels of TypePad that would be easy enough to implement without advanced templates. I'm not sure category feeds are really one of them. I'll have to do some real thinking about this…

Bud Parr says:

Mars Edit, unfortunately, is not full WYSIWYG. They're working on it.

The app works well, but is not as feature rich as Ecto. For instance, Ecto Allows you to easily (as easy as using categories) drop in Technorati and Flikr tags and other template driven items. It also easily creates links to Amazon. I also use it as a local backup of my posts. I also think its interface for uploading images is better than TypePad's.

Phillip Molly Malone says:

On the Desktop Blogging editors (probably a different topic and maybe one for a different blog), have a look at Qumana and Zoundry (URLS as you would expect). Both have very nice blogging tools and both are free.

JMTC
Molly

Nuthatch says:

My additions not mentioned yet, already submitted to Typepad:

1) Better ability to separate authorship of multiple blogs under one account. I have two blogs under one account, but I do not want one connected to the other publicly. However, an RSS feed from either blog provides the same author "nickname" specified in the Typepad account (this shows in RSS readers, etc.). Any Amazon link in a reading list inserts whatever Amazon Associates ID is in my Typepad profile. This makes it difficult to track which blog is generating Amazon hits, and readers can see the link code.

2) Ability to change the order of Typelists on the "About" page.

john t unger says:

Nuthatch,

Good points.

Perhaps the easiest way to achieve the first would be the ability to set up multiple profiles? I wonder if this is possible by signing yourself in as two different authors?

I just revised my about page recently and was surprised to discover that I could not order the Typelists… The workaround I use is to create a post in each blog titled "about" (or whatever) and link to it from the sidebar. It gives me much more control over the appearance and content.

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