Movable Type plugin: Gravatars
I recently saw a few blogs that had photos by the author of each comment. I thought, "Wow, those blogs must be very popular if people are willing to upload photos!" But then I saw the same dude with the same photo on a couple different blogs, and the blogs were smaller than mine. So I started looking into it, and I learned about gravatar.com. That Web site allows you to associate a photo or icon with your email address, so that no matter where you post, your photo goes with you.
Of course, you wouldn't sign up if you want privacy. But lots of people are signing up, and I want to show the icons they're using. So I found an old Movable Type plugin from 2003 that does the job. But it does it badly – it has a feature that no longer works (the border option), and it doesn't use any of the newer plugin features. So I've revised it to use the newer Gravatar URL format as well as use the MT plugin interface. However, I haven't revised it to work with MT 4. No. Instead, I've revised it for MT 3.
Why revise for MT 3? Well, there are a lot of us still using it. I won't be onto MT 4 for another 6 months or so. But I want Gravatars now. So here we go.
To get started, you need to have a Movable Type 3 blog. As of this writing, the latest is 3.36. You should try to get up to that version, but it's not required.
Next, download my new Gravatar plugin for Movable Type. Unzip it and upload the .pl file into your plugins directory.
Finally, go to the Web-based control panel for your Movable Type blog. Select Settings -> Plugins -> Gravatar -> Show Settings. There you will find explanatory text showing how to use the MTGravatar tag.
For this blog, I've set it up so that if you have a Gravatar and you make a comment, it will show it... but also, if you do NOT have a Gravatar set up, it will auto-generate a small image of a monster (the middle icon near the beginning of this article). The monster is based upon your email address, so it should be unique to you. Have fun!