Media Manager provides users and authors within Movable Type and Melody with the ability to search and insert media from a number of popular remote services like Amazon and YouTube. Using Media Manager one can open a dialog, enter a few search terms, select the book, DVD or video and optionally insert it into a blog post.
Once the media item has been selected it is automatically inserted into Movable Type or Melody's asset management system and can be view by going to "Manage Assets" under the Manage menu.
To install this plugin follow the instructions found here:
Keep in mind that before installing Media Manager you need to make sure you have:
- Movable Type 4.01 or greater.
Using the Plugin
To add an item from Amazon to your list of Assets, select "Amazon Item" from the Create menu and follow the instructions. Adding an item from Amazon to a post is done exactly like inserting any other asset.
For the most part, Media Manager does not yet expose any template tags of its own. The only template tags exposes by this plugin are specifically for interfacing with Amazon's API.
AmazonItemSearch is a container tag and is responsible for conducting virtually all searches against Amazon's Marketing/Product API. Using this container tag you can search for Books, DVDs, or any product in their catalog, as well wishlists and more.
The arguments/attributes this template tag supports is drawn directly from the Net::Amazon. In fact, all of the search parameters supported by Net::Amazon's search() method are supported as attributed by this tag. This tag can be used to search for a specific item (e.g. by UPC or ASIN ID), or a group of items (e.g. by keyword or category).
For example, here are some of the search parameters supported by Net::Amazon (for a complete list please visit Net::Amazon's homepage).
asin- Returns a single item identified by its ASIN (or Amazon ID).
actor- Return items starring an actor (or actress!). This is useful for video. Can return many results.
artist- Return items created by an artist. This is useful for music. Can return many results.
author- Search for items created by the specified author. This is useful for books obviously. Can return many results.
browsenode- Returns a list of items by category ID (node). For example node "4025" is the CGI books category. You can add a keywords parameter to filter the results by that keyword.
exchange- Returns an item offered by a third-party seller. The item is referenced by the so-called exchange ID.
keywords) - Search by keyword, mandatory parameters
mode. Can return many results.
wishlist- Search for all items in a specified wishlist. Can return many results.
upc- Music search by UPC (product barcode), mandatory parameter upc.
modehas to be set to music. Returns at most one result.
isbn- Book search by ISBN (International Standard Book Number), mandatory parameter isbn. Returns at most one result. When searching non-US locales use the 13-digit ISBN.
similar- Search for all items similar to the one represented by the ASIN provided. Can return many results.
blended- Initiate a search for items in all categories.
seller- Start a search on items sold by a specific third-party seller, referenced by its ID (not seller name).
mode- The catalog by which to restrict your search. Common values are: Books, DVD, DigitalMusic, Merchants, VHS, and Video. A complete list can be found on Amazon's web site.
You can even combine the attributes to create compound searches. For example, to search for all books about "Blogging" you would use this tag:
<mt:AmazonItemSearch mode="book" keyword="blogging"> <mt:if name="__first__"><ul></mt:if> <li><$mt:AmazonTitle$></li> <mt:if name="__last__"></ul></mt:if> </mt:AmazonItemSearch>
Return the ASIN of the current Amazon product or item in context. This must be contained by the AmazonItemSearch tag.
Return the title or product name of the current Amazon product or item in context. This must be contained by the AmazonItemSearch tag.
Return the URL to the product currently in context. This URL will contain your Amazon associates ID if you have specified one. This must be contained by the AmazonItemSearch tag.
Return the product group of the item currently in context. This must be contained by the AmazonItemSearch tag.
This returns a complete HTML tag referring the image associated with the current item in context. A user can optionally specify the size of the image they would like returned. The following values are allowed to be used in the size attribute:
For example, the following template tag:
Returns the following HTML:
<img src="URL" width="WIDTH" height="HEIGHT" alt="ITEM TITLE" />
Amazon has a robust system for transforming images in the catalog in a number of different ways. Through this mechanism users can:
- blur an image
- rotate an image
- specify the exact width of an image
- add a drop shadow to the image
- and more
To make it easier to tweak images in these ways, the CustomImageURL tag was created. It accepts the following attributes:
blur- 0-100, where 0 is clear, and 100 is blurry as hell
shadow- left|right, to display a drop shadow on the left and right side respectively
percent- 0-100, to display a "45% off" pill on the image
percent_loc- left|right to display the "percent off pill" in the lower left, or lower right hand corner respectively
This returns the price of the current item. Amazon of course sells multiple version of an item. One can buy an item used or new. To specify which price you would like to display on your weblog use the type attribute. Acceptable values are:
- Consult Amazon's Web services documentation for a complete list
The price that is returned is "formatted." In other words, it contains a currency character (like the dollar, pound, or euro sign), and the necessary decimals.
This is one of the more powerful template tags provided by Media Manager for Amazon, as it provides direct access to any attribute or property that a product might have. The list of all of these properties is not listed here because it is an extensive list. The best place to look for these properties can be found at the Net::Amazon homepage. When you click through you will see a bunch of links to modules like:
These modules each document the list of properties associated with each product/media type. Let's look at an example. The media type of "Software" supports a property called "studio" which is meant to hold the name of the studio that produced the software. To output this property you could use the following code:
<mt:AmazonItemSearch asin="B00005JNOG"> <img src="<$mt:AmazonItemProperty property="ImageUrlMedium"$>" /><br /> <a href="<$mt:AmazonDetailPageURL$>"><$mt:AmazonTitle$></a> - Studio: <$mt:AmazonItemProperty property="studio"$> </mt:AmazonItemSearch>
The following template tag sample code will show the last 4 Amazon items you added your system.
<mt:Assets type="amazon" lastn="4"> <mt:AssetsHeader> <div class="sidebar-module pkg" style="width: 185px; clear: right;"> <h3 class="module-header">Currently</h3> <div class="module-content"> <ul class="module-list"></mt:AssetsHeader> <li class="item" style="float:left"> <a class="asset-image" href="<$mt:AssetURL$>"> <div style="height: 75px; width: 75px; padding: 5px; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: center center; background-image: url(<$mt:AssetThumbnailURL width="75"$>)"></div></a> </li> <mt:AssetsFooter></ul> </div> </div> </mt:AssetsFooter> </mt:Assets>
See the documentation for the "Assets" tag for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between version 2.1 and 2.0?
A: In 2009 Amazon made a significant change to their AWS Product Marketing API on top of which Media Manager and MTAmazon are built. Media Manager 2.1 contains the fixes and changes necessary to make Media Manager work once again with Amazon.
In updating the software to work with Amazon's new API, Media Manager was overhauled to utilize the CPAN module Net::Amazon. For most people this is meaningless, so let me explain. Net::Amazon is a library, a small bit of software that talks to Amazon's APIs on behalf of Media Manager. The library is maintained by a third party and far more flexible and performant than anything that has previously shipped with Media Manager.
Q: What are the changes between version 1.0 and 2.0?
A: Media Manager 2.0 is a dramatic evolution from its predecessor. Media Manager now integrates far more seamlessly with Movable Type then ever before.
In this rearchitecture of the software, however, I redefined what the goals of the software are and adjusted the scope and feature set of the product to meet those goals. For example, Media Manager 1.0 was an evolution of BookQueue and BookQueueToo, which by their name should indicate that they presumed you were managing books alone. As a result Media Manager 1.0 allowed users to set the "status" of an item as either "reading," "read" or "unread."
That is flawed assumption, especially in light of the fact that those statii are irrelevant to CD's not to mention patio furniture - both of which are available through Amazon. What follows is a list of features that have been REMOVED:
- item statuses - users are encouraged to use Movable Type's built in tagging system to manage the state of an item
- reviews - now that Movable Type allows users to insert assets directly in their posts, there is no need to support the concept of a "review."
- ratings - ratings were associated with reviews in previous versions and since reviews are gone, so are ratings
- list import - i suspect many users did not make use of this feature so the ability to import items from an Amazon Wishlist has been removed
- finished on date - yeah, sorry about this one for now
Q: Is Media Manager 1.0 forward compatible with Media Manager 2.0?
A: Items found in Media Manager 1.0 will automatically be ported into the new Media Manager 2.0 and Movable Type 4.0 system. However, not all data will be carried over. Reviews, ratings, and statii will NOT be ported over. Not yet anyways.
Q: Will my Media Manager 1.x template tags work with MT4 and MM2.0?
A: No they will not. To simplify the code base and bring focus to the Media Manager application, all legacy template tags have been removed. Movable Type's core template tag set should be sufficient for anything most users need to do.
You can file bug reports here:
Help and Donations
Media Manager represents a lot of work by one individual. While the author is happy to write this software, and support it completely free of charge, the author also appreciates and form of support you can provide. Please consult the following URL to learn more:
Movable Type versions: 4.3