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Moveable Type Skin 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,


Theme Browser

If the skin is installed, you can use this browser to mix and match layouts with various CSS files that are available from the Six Apart website. Use the navigation buttons to select between options. Click on the theme name to see the CSS.

Choose DESIGNTOPIC:     go_back Moveable Type Sample Design (1 of 3) go_forward

Choose CSSFILE:     go_back Sample3Theme (1 of 36) go_forward

Choose COLUMNS:     go_back two-column-left (1 of 4) go_forward
Or type the full URL path to a CSS you have downloaded from the style browser here:

IDEA! Unfortunately there is no easy way to preview designs found from the style archive browser. But it's easy to download and install these designs. Download the zip file for your chosen design, and unzip it in the directory on the server that corresponds to this URL: Then type the full URL into the text box in the browser.

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

Aside from the ability to re-use these designs, there are several other advantages to this skin:
  1. It's 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 independent of Foswiki, so any stylesheet you develop for this skin will work with all versions of Foswiki that support the skin,
  3. This also means the same CSS can be shared with other applications (such as Six Apart based blogs).
  4. The skin reuses Foswiki's base templates for most of the Foswiki-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 Foswiki, 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 Foswiki, 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.


As with all skins, the basic page layout is defined in a set of templates. The Moveable Type classes can support several different column layouts, so the skin gets some of the layout from a "design topic", which defines HTML to use in different sections of the page, for the different column layouts.

The skin uses two CSS files; the reusable CSS that defines the Moveable Type classes, and a mapping CSS that adds additional classes that Foswiki requires, but aren't defined by the Moveable Type standard.

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

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 definitions (MOVEABLETYPESKIN_DESIGNTOPIC) and the Foswiki css MOVEABLETYPESKIN_FOSWIKICSSFILE) 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 Foswiki topic and point the MOVEABLETYPESKIN_CSSFILE setting at it.

For more radical customisations (or to distribute your theme as a Contrib) you will want to create your own design topic. To create a design topic:
  1. Copy the text from the MoveableTypeSampleDesign topic and paste it to YourMoveableTypeDesign (or another name of your choosing).
  2. Copy the Moveable Type Sample Design attachments Foswiki.css and base-weblog.css to your new topic (save the files locally, and then upload them again to your new topic)
  3. Attach your custom Foswiki CSS and imagefiles to your new topic.
  4. 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 by viewing that topic.

You can also optionally customise the Foswiki.css attached to your design topic. This file contains most Foswiki 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, Moveable Type Sample Design and Moveable Type Sample 2 Design.

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
  • foswikicssfile - the url to the Foswiki.css file (usually directly linked to the moveabletypetopic)
  • moveabletypetopic - the topic (in the System 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.

Open configure, and open the "Extensions" section. Use "Find More Extensions" to get a list of available extensions. Select "Install".

If you have any problems, or if the extension isn't available in configure, then you can still install manually from the command-line. See for more help.

Interesting URLS

Contrib Info

This skin is an example of how to make a Skin without duplicating the work of the Foswiki Core release. It reuses the default skin, and only adds a foswiki.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 Foswiki Skin 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: Foswiki:Main.SvenDowideit - fosiki - a partner
Copyright ©: SixApart and designs by various, and Foswiki adaption by Foswiki:Main.SvenDowideit -
License: Various Open Source
Description: a Foswiki 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: 10 Feb 2009 (v1.100)
Dependencies: None
Version: 2567 (20 Feb 2009)
Change History:  
20 Feb 2009: port to Foswiki
7 Dec 2007: stop the demo images from overflowing the design, other Skin fixes
15 Oct 2007: Doc rewrite - Foswiki:Main.CrawfordCurrie
30 Mar 2007: initial release of Skin
Home: MoveableTypeSkin

Related Topics: Default Preferences, Site Preferences

-- Foswiki:Main/SvenDowideit - 28 May 2017