I could not resist coming up with a cute name for a blogspace for Steve Gilbert, Stephen Ehrmann, and Steve Saltzberg, all with the TLTGroup (Teaching, Learning, Technology Group)- hence 3 Steves And a Blog.
This started when I proposed to the Charles Ansorge, the current maintainer of the TLTGroup’s “Low Threshold Applications of the Week” site (a static, hand coded, Front-page encrusted zeppelin) that it could be done more easily (and with more style) publishing as a blog, in the MovableType prototype I concocted.
The next thing I knew, I was on a conference call with the 3 Steves, trying to explain the benefits of CSS web design, and backing far away from any veiled promise of doing a web site design for the whole TLTgroup (I do not even do that for my own institution).
Anyhow, to help them understand blog publishing, the best way was to drop them into a sandbox, hence the 3 Steves blog. Who knows what, if anything, will mushroom there. Already Steve E has jumped in quite nicely.
Each MT blog I crank out of the free 2.661 version I am able to come closer to some mosre workable and repeatable design approaches. On this site, it was easy to set up archives and RSS feeds for each author (simply creating templates that filter
<$MTEntries> tags by
<$MTEntries author="steve_g"> . The left navigation bar used on every template is a module, so it only takes one edit to modify.
There is so much one can do beyond the basic templates MT gives you just by sticking your nose into the template tag reference guide. There is no reason to have so many carbon copy looking MT sites, my best estimates are that 35% of educators using MT are publishing that basic content templates and the Georgia Blue (or worse) Plain Jane style sheet.
There is more I have gotten a handle on for MT roll-outs, and hope to publish a series later this month summarizing all of these techniques. Sure it will apply less to MT3 and other platforms, but I will say that just about every blog publishing tool does archives the wrong way. (Huh?) Stay tuned to the CogDog.
One content chunk I have already re-used from another site is an 8-part illustrated authoring guide– rather than a series of posts or static HTML, I have a PHP template and a collage of content files, making it easy to deploy for different blog sites. It was rather critical for this group of new bloggers to provide concise directions for authoring, and what you see is an evoluation of our BlogShop.
But enough of that.. let’s give the Steves some time to roll our more entries, or jump in and send some comments.