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MoveableTypeSkin Contrib Package

The Moveable Type style repository was set up in early 2006 to capture the best designs for blogs built using Moveable Type. Designers were required to implement their designs using a standard set of styles, and their work could be demonstrated using some sample HTML layouts. The competition yielded some delightful designs; for example,


MoveableTypeSkin is a simple TWiki Skin that re-uses these style and HTML definitions, so making designs done for Moveable Type available to TWiki sites.

Aside from the ability to re-use these designs, there are several other advantages to this skin: 1 Its very lightweight, only generating the bare minimum html required to implement the Moveable type classes and IDs. This means it is fast, portable and easy to upgrade. 2 The CSS is totally independent of TWiki, so any stylesheet you develop for this skin will work with all versions of TWiki that support the skin, 3 This also means the same CSS can be shared with other applications (such as SixApart? based blogs). 4 The skin reuses TWiki's base templates for most of the TWiki-specific bits, so when those base templates are extended any new functionality will automatically become available for your use.

You can preview some design ideas at the the Moveable Type style library. To use one of these designs with TWiki, you will need to install the skin, and then download and install the theme as per the Customisation instructions, below. Some designs are not suitable for re-use with TWiki, as they make assumptions about the number of pixels that the text is long, but you should be able to get inspiration from these works anyway.

Alternatively you can visit Sven's personal Blog for a DEMO.

MoveableTypeSkin is a WikiRing partner production.

Theme Browser

You can use this browser to mix and match layouts with various CSS files that are available without download from the Six Apart website. Use the navigation buttons to select between CSS options. Click on the theme name to see the CSS. %STARTSECTION{"css-browser"}%

Choose column layout: one column?, two column left?, two column right?, three column?

View the Moveable Type equivalent: one column?, two column left?, two column right?, three column?



Once you have chosen your CSS and layout, you must tell TWiki to use those options. If you have used the Theme Browser to select your preferred setup, you can simply copy and paste the following section to your %USERSWEB%.TWikiPreferences topic (or WebPreferences, or your personal topic)

There are static text sections in the MoveableType? css that can be customised by editing the named sections on the %SYSTEMWEB%.MoveableTypeSampleDesign topic - each section can be re-defined either inline, or using INCLUDEs.

Skin variables

If you set PAGETOPIC in your preferences or in your topic, it will be used as the page's HTML title, in preference to the topic name. This is useful for creating user-friendly titles for AUTOINC-named topics


Customisation of this skin to create your own look and feel is very straightforward. You only have to develop (or re-use) a CSS file. You can also customise the text section definition and the TWiki.css for even greater control over the rendering, but this is not necessary for most applications.

The fastest way to develop your own CSS is to use the Movable Type Style generator. Alternatively you can adapt one an existing CSS from the web (though please be careful to respect author copyright). There is documentation for the required set of CSS classes and tags found at Stylesheet Reference and other related pages.

Once you have a CSS that you want to use, simply upload it to a TWiki topic and point the MOVEABLETYPESKIN_CSSFILE setting at it.

For more radical customisations you will want to create your own design topic. This is a topic in the TWiki web that documents the design, and also defines the common text sections (you can customise these for even more control over layout). To create a design topic: 1 Copy the text from MoveableTypeSampleDesign? topic and paste it to YourMoveableTypeDesign (or another name of your choosing). 1 Copy the MoveableTypeSampleDesign attachments TWiki.css and base-weblog.css to your new topic (save the files locally, and then upload them again to your new topic) 1 Attach your custom CSS and imagefiles to your new topic. 1 Edit your new topic and modify the MOVEABLETYPESKIN_CSSFILE setting to reflect the name of your CSS file. You should now be able to proof your design from that topic.

Optionally you can also customise the TWiki.css attached to your design topic. This file contains most TWiki specific styles, such as tables, forms and diffs.

Finally you can also customise the common text sections in your design by editing the Moveable Type Common Text sections. There are two sample design topics , MoveableTypeSampleDesign and MoveableTypeSample2Design.

Once you are done, you will be able to follow the instructions under 'Enable this design' in your design topic to roll out your design.

Skin URL Parameters for testing skin designs

* skin - must be set to moveabletype * cssfile - the url to the moveabletype css file you want to view * twikicssfile - the url to the TWiki.css file * moveabletypetopic - the topic (in the %SYSTEMWEB% only) that the moveabletype common sections come from * moveabletypecolumns - column setting (one-column, two-column-left, two-column-right, three-column)

Installation Instructions

You do not need to install anything in the browser to use this extension. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the extension on the server where TWiki is running.

Like many other TWiki extensions, this module is shipped with a fully automatic installer script written using the BuildContrib. * If you have TWiki 4.1 or later, you can install from the configure interface (Go to Plugins->Find More Extensions) * The webserver user has to have permission to write to all areas of your installation for this to work. * If you have a permanent connection to the internet, you are recommended to use the automatic installer script * Just download the MoveableTypeSkin_installer perl script and run it. * Notes: * The installer script will: * Automatically resolve dependencies, * Copy files into the right places in your local install (even if you have renamed data directories), * check in new versions of any installed files that have existing RCS histories files in your existing install (such as topics). * If the $TWIKI_PACKAGES environment variable is set to point to a directory, the installer will try to get archives from there. Otherwise it will try to download from or, as appropriate. * (Developers only: the script will look for twikiplugins/MoveableTypeSkin/MoveableTypeSkin.tgz before downloading from * If you don't have a permanent connection, you can still use the automatic installer, by downloading all required TWiki archives to a local directory. * Point the environment variable $TWIKI_PACKAGES to this directory, and the installer script will look there first for required TWiki packages. * $TWIKI_PACKAGES is actually a path; you can list several directories separated by : * If you are behind a firewall that blocks access to CPAN, you can pre-install the required CPAN libraries, as described at * If you don't want to use the installer script, or have problems on your platform (e.g. you don't have Perl 5.8), then you can still install manually: 1 Download and unpack one of the .zip or .tgz archives to a temporary directory. 1 Manually copy the contents across to the relevant places in your TWiki installation. 1 Check in any installed files that have existing ,v files in your existing install (take care not to lock the files when you check in) 1 Manually edit LocalSite.cfg to set any configuration variables. 1 Run configure and enable the module, if it is a plugin. 1 Repeat from step 1 for any missing dependencies.

Note if you are installing this extension in TWiki version < 4.2, please add these definitions to your Main.WebPreferences, if they are not already there: * Set SYSTEMWEB = %TWIKIWEB% * Set USERSWEB = %MAINWEB%

Interesting URLS

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Contrib Info

This skin is an example of how to make a TWikiSkin? without duplicating the work of the TWiki Core release. It reuses the default skin, and only adds a twiki.moveabletype.tmpl (and a viewprint that I hope to remove later), and only defines the bare essentials to create HTML that is similar to an existing system.

You can use this technique to create a TWikiSkin? that matches closely the HTML of your existing web site, and thus re-use the existing site's css styling, thus creating a comon look & feel.

Contrib Author: TWiki:Main.SvenDowideit - DistributedINFORMATION - a partner
Copyright ©: SixApart? and designs by various, and twiki adaption by TWiki:Main.SvenDowideit -
License: Various Open Source
Description: a TWiki skin based on the HTML used by The Style Archive and The Six Apart style library
Screenshot: Click for full screen image
Screenshot: Click for full screen image
Screenshot: Click for full screen image
Preview: Preview with this topic
Base Name: moveabletype
Skin Version: 03 Apr 2007 (v1.000)
Dependencies: None
Version: 15295 (15 Oct 2007)
Change History:  
15 Oct 2007: Doc rewrite - TWiki:Main.CrawfordCurrie
30 Mar 2007: initial release of Skin

Related Topics: %SYSTEMWEB%.TWikiPreferences

-- TWiki:Main/SvenDowideit - 13 Aug 2020