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John T. Unger

Easier Ways to Add New TypeLists to Advanced Template Blogs

John T. Unger December 6, 2006

One of the requested features on the Agenda Page reads:

  • The "Your TypeLists" page should display the file name used by the system to identify the TypeList in advanced templates.

Just as TypePad automatically creates permalink URLs for each post on your blog, it also creates filenames for items such as TypeLists. These filenames are used to link to the content in your list and display it on the page. If your blog runs on Basic Templates, you can add a new TypeList easily from within the Design Wizard and edit the order of lists on your blog with a handy drag + drop interface. But if you're using Advanced Templates, it can be difficult to discover the filename needed to include a new TypeList on your blog. There are a number of ways that you can go wrong when trying to guess the filename for aTypeList, whether it's new or old:

  1. When you first create a TypeList, the filename is based on the name you provide (which becomes the title of the TypeList). If you later change or edit the title, the filename remains unchanged. A year or two goes by, and you forget that the original TypeList name was something else altogether.
  2. If you create a TypeList with the same name as an existing TypeList, the system will name the new one filename_1. This can get really thorny if you have a lot of TypeLists with the same name (for instance, four blogs that all have a TypeList titled "Info").
  3. Names with spaces will be dirified (an underscore is substituted for spaces between words).
  4. TypeList filenames are case sensitive (they are always lowercase, regardless of whether you capitalize the list name).

In the past, the way I've dealt with this is to create a new blog, add the TypeList to it, convert to Advanced Templates, copy the include code for the new TypeList from the sidebar template of the new blog and paste it into the one I'm working on. Then I go back and delete the new blog and it's templates. It's a pain, and it's kind of labor intensive.

I figured, there's gotta be a better way. In fact, there are several better ways.

How To Find Filenames For Existing TypeLists

If you're trying to find the filename for an existing TypeList, this tip from Marjolein Hoekstra may help. The directory of filenames TypePad has created for your TypeLists is hosted here: http://www.typepad.com/t/app/control/files?path=lists

This directory is invisible from your home folder in the Files tab (although the breadcrumb trail above the directory shows that it is hosted there). So you pretty much have to manually load the URL to view this. I suggest bookmarking the page if you think you'll need it again.

Unfortunately, this will not always solve your problem if you've changed the title of a list radically enough that you no longer recognize the old filename.

The better methodology is to plan ahead as described in the next section.

How To Include TypeList Filenames on The Your TypeLists Page

TypeLists have an optional field for descriptive notes which you can access from the Configure tab when you are creating or editing the TypeList. I never really paid attention to it until one of the TypePad Help Crew suggested using it to distinguish TypeLists that have the same title. This week, while focusing on TypeList issues, I had an even better idea— the Description Field is the perfect place to save info such as the filename for the TypeList, other blogs which share the list, etc. Here's a screen capture of my new TypeList organization methodology:

Label TypeLists with Filenames on The Your TypeLists Page

Eventually, I'll go through and add this info to all my TypeLists, but from here on out I'll be sure to include the following info immediately upon creating a new list:

  1. All lists will be named blogname_function (i.e. typepadhacks_subscribe). Before I add it to the blog, I can edit the title to read as desired (i.e. Subscribe).
  2. When I convert the template, I'll copy the TypeList filename into the Description Field right away, before I forget what it is or change the title.
  3. If at any time I add an existing TypeList to an additional blog, I'll note that in the Description Field. That way if I remove it from the original blog, I won't accidentally delete the TypeList while it's still in use elsewhere.

Of course, once you know the filename of your TypeList, it's easy to include it into an Advanced Template blog: Just open the Sidebar Template, copy the code that brings in an existing typelist and replace the old filename with the new one. Easy!

More Like This: Advanced Templates , Agenda Updates , Hacks for Typelists , Typelists + Sidebars


Gavin Johnson says:

Hi John

I am not sure whether this post relates to what i am trying to do but I am a litle stuck and would appreciate your advice.

I am trying to display a Typelist using custom css and having it display with a different name to the actual Typelist Name.

ie. I have a Typelist called "Rattle International" and rather than the module header displaying "Rattle International" I just want it to display "International".

I can get it to display OK but it does not display as per every other Typelist on the page and I have spent hours and been speaking to Typepad and I cant work it out for the life of me. I am only a self taught coder so it is probably obvious.

This is the code in the sidebar

<$MTListInclude name="Newsletter"$>
<$MTListInclude name="Cruise Packages"$>
<$MTListInclude name="Domestic Packages"$>

You can see how it is displaying at http://andrewrattle.travelblog.net.au

I would appreciate any advice. Many thanks

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