PHP SimpleComments

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TrackBacks are comments. They are comments left on someone else’s site rather than your own, but they are comments nonetheless. Movable Type makes a distinction between entry comments and TrackBacks that seems artificial, and it makes more sense to have TrackBack ping data appear within the comments portion of a Movable Type site. SimpleComments is a plugin that will let you do just this. But what if you want to use SimpleComments tags with MovableType’s new dynamic publishing engine? Perl plugins won’t work. You need PHP SimpleComments.

PHP SimpleComments is intended as a companion for existing installations of Adam Kalsey’s SimpleComments. With PHP SimpleComments installed, you can switch templates from static publishing to dynamic publishing without losing the ability to use SimpleComments tags.

PHP SimpleComments duplicates the behavior of all the SimpleComments tags in PHP. If you already use SimpleComments on your weblog, then all you need to do is install the plugin files alongside your existing installation (see Installation instructions below). If you’re not already familiar with SimpleComments, you can find an explanation of what SimpleComments does, documentations of the SimpleComments tags, and a copy of the plugin in Perl for download at Kalsey’s SimpleComments project page



PHP SimpleComments is obsolete.

PHP SimpleComments is obsolete, and will not be updated.

I’ve been meaning to mention this for a while, but never got around to it until I put up my new Projects page. You may have noticed that PHP SimpleComments has not been updated since version 1.31, even though SimpleComments is now at 1.32. That’s because PHP SimpleComments is no longer necessary: SimpleComments now comes bundled with a PHP plugin for dynamic templates by Brad Choate. Continuing to use PHP SimpleComments won’t cause you any harm that I know of, but since all new versions of SimpleComments will come with equivalent PHP plugins in the box, I won’t be updating PHP SimpleComments to match them.

PHP SimpleComments version 1.31

Version 1.31 of PHP SimpleComments is now available for download.

The new version should be completely equivalent in functionality to Adam Kalsey’s SimpleComments version 1.31. Support for the moderate attribute has been implemented. Let me know if you have any problems–or even if you don’t! Happy users are always appreciated.

The morning after

I realized this morning that there are a couple of provisos I need to put up about the initial release, both of them related to limitations in the current status of the PHP plugin API in MovableType 3.1x.

  1. When you use <MTSimpleComments> outside of an entry context, it returns all comments and pings (or as many as you specify in the lastn attribute) on the entire blog. Unfortunately, there’s no way to retrieve them all using the normal calls in the PHP plugin API. In the entry context, we use the standard API method fetch_comments(), but when outside of an entry context, we have to directly access the database with an SQL query. This would cause problems for non-SQL backends, except that MovableType 3.1x doesn’t seem to ship with support for any non-SQL backends in the dynamic publishing engine anyway. In any case, though, this is an evil kludge. I’m told that the MovableType developers are going to fix the PHP plugin API to solve this problem Real Soon Now; as soon as they put out a release that fixes it, I’ll update PHP SimpleComments to use the new, non-evil method on versions of MovableType that support it (but maintaining backward compatibility with versions that require the evil method). Status: awaiting deliverance from MT developers.

  2. There’s also a known issue which has less to do with aesthetics and more to do with functionality. The moderate attribute does not work in the initial release. You can use moderate="0" but you will still only get visible comments in the listings. Again, this is a problem with the PHP plugin API–fetch_comments() offers no way to retrieve invisible comments from the database. I’ll fix this and put out an incremental release momentarily; unfortunately, though, it will require more evil database accessing. So it goes in this vale of tears. Status: fix in progress.

Version 1.3 (initial release)

The initial release of PHP SimpleComments is now available for download. In spite of being an initial release, this one is numbered 1.3; that’s because it’s been written to duplicate, more or less exactly, the functionality of the Perl SimpleComments version 1.3. As new versions of SimpleComments are released, new versions of PHP SimpleComments will be released to match them.

This release of 1.3 has been written for, and tested with, dynamic publishing under MovableType 3.11. It should be forward-compatible, but I don’t know if it is compatible with older releases of MT3. (Let me know in comments if you have any successes or any problems; if there are compatibility problems that can be fixed, I’ll do my level best to fix them and put out a new release.)