Multiple Categorization in Movable Type

By Deane Barker on July 17, 2005

I’ve installed the Movable Type 3.2 beta, and there are a bunch of interface improvements. That’s the big focus of this release — ease of administration. They’ve worked very hard to make the admin side scale to thousands of posts and comments, and they’ve done a wonderful job. The listing pages are wicked good.

But it’s in the post editing screen that they’ve fixed one of my biggest irritations. Prior to this release, assigning a post to more than one category was a pain. I detailed the horror in this post:

In MT, you can set one category as you edit. To set more, you have to save the entry first (technically, this is so it can get assigned an id from the database). Then you get a little pop-up window where you can select multiple categories and hit “Close,” and then you rebuild.

But, as you can see in the image above, they’ve fixed this. You can assign more than one category before saving, and they do it without a popup window. In fact, they do some snazzy interface mojo with a dropdown. I would have preferred a simple list of checkboxes displayed in a sidebar like WordPress, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

(As for the beta — don’t install it yet. On my installation, it broke any plugin that exposed a custom tempate tag attribute. This was especially bad since I used such a plugin to form my permalinks. Also, it set the status of any comment on an entry where I had closed comments to “Unpublished.” That was a drag too, since 526 comments have now disappeared from the site.

Yes, I filed bug reports on both. And yes, I’m an idiot for rushing into a beta.)

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  1. Nice, that was a big complaint of mine, too. Have they improved the entry-preview feature that you so accurately trashed in that previous post? This is the only other thing that gets on my nerves every single time I create an entry.

  2. We’d thought about doing the infinite list of checkboxes, but if you really have a lot of categories (and we have customers with hundreds) that doesn’t really scale, plus it takes up space all the time, when you’re really only usually setting the categories once.

    Honestly, I like the idea of the Tags plugin just letting me use free text to make categories, but I’m glad the new drop-down meets your needs. Thanks for filing the bugs, and we’ll make sure you don’t have any issues like that with the final release.

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