Site Updates : Round 2

Here's a quick look at the second round of changes (first round here) to Straight to the Bar.


This site (and cousins on has been growing organically for several years now, and was starting to show signs of age. This had become particularly noticeable in the painfully slow rebuilds; whether from leaving a comment or posting a new entry.

The solution involved a fair bit of pruning, and the cumulative affect of several minor tweaks wasn't bad at all. These included :

However, the change which made an enormous difference to the comment posting speed was this fix by Brandon Fuller. According to Brandon, it's a bug in MT 3.2; already fixed for the next release.

Live Comment Preview

Whilst reconfiguring the archival and commenting templates, I figured it was finally time to instate something which has been subtly suggested on a number of occasions : comment previewing. Looking at a few implementations of this on other sites, I soon realised that the most effective appeared to be those that offered a realtime preview of your input text (as well as the usual option to make changes).

Twisted Technology provided a simple bit of javascript for this purpose (even wrapping it up in the default MT 3.2x templates - unfortunately mine no longer resemble these, but it was a good start), which appears to be working fine.


It's been a while since I shot any video (I'm using a couple of DSLRs for most things currently; and there just isn't any video feature available). That will most likely change once I set things up in Australia.

For now, a list of older entries (which contain video) has made its way to the sidebar. Code is similar to the Category and monthly Archive listings.

Quicktags for Comments

Thanks to Alex King for this one. The magic of javascript controls the row of buttons immediately above the comment input area - these enable a bit of basic html formatting to be easily applied to comments. Links, bold and italic type, lists; the usual suspects.

Giving TrackBacks some love

The TrackBack seems to be Six Apart's forgotten child. For several years now it's been available for use in Movable Type, but never quite on the same level as commenting. This quickly becomes apparent when incorporating tags such as

(to count the comments in a particular blog) - there simply isn't an equivalent tag for TrackBacks. For just this purpose (counting TrackBacks) I'm using David Raynes' MTBlogPings plugin.


When it comes to tracking things down using meta-data, nothing beats the humble tag. In fact, users of MAC OSX have had this at their disposal for quite some time (and a recent article on Lifehacker discussed the power of it as a filing system).

For this site I'm using the MTKeywords plugin to automatically generate a list of tags for each entry; based on the entry's content and title. These tags are then linked to search results (again for this site) using the technique on Al-Muhajabah's Movable Type Tips. The tags appear below the archived copy of each entry.

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NB : For a complete list of everything we use and recommend, swing by the reviews area. And of course the Straight to the Bar Store. It's all in there.

To learn how to put it to work, swing by the Guides area.

Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 35) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Find out what he's up to via Twitter, Google+, Facebook; and of course his online home. Enjoy.

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, or if you'd like to join the team of Moderators here (I love hearing about everyone's training approaches) - get in touch. And if you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Over to you. Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet :

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