Plugin: Using Better File Uploader

Actually using Better File Uploader is pretty simple; it’s all the Settings that can be overwhelming! Once you’ve specified the Settings to meet your needs, though, the result is a fast and efficient way of handling any uploaded files. (Don’t let the length of this document fool you! Below is a comprehensive walkthrough of how to use BFU2; if you’re familiar with MT’s File Upload tool, you already have a good idea of how to use BFU2.) You can also watch a screencast of how to use Better File Uploader.

Remember that tooltips are provided for many options during the upload process. Just place your mouse cursor over the help icon of the option for a little “helper” information about that option.

Getting Started: Upload a File

  1. While logged in to Movable Type and looking at a weblog, start by choosing Better File Uploader in a weblog’s Create menu, just as if you were using MT’s Upload File tool. Alternatively, from the Write Entry screen click the Insert Image/File buttons then choose Better File Uploader. BFU2 will open in a dialog.

    Note: If you want to use the SpeedDemon (one-click uploading), you may want to review and change the SpeedDemon Options now. The options you save will be reused the next time you use SpeedDemon, so you don’t have to reselect them.

  2. upload.gif
    Click the file field’s Browse button to locate a file to upload. If you’ve enabled multiple file uploading, another field will appear after selecting a file. Again, click the empty field’s Browse button to locate another file. Repeat as necessary! While there is no set limit to how many files you can upload at once, it may be easier to work in batches.
  3. Select an upload destination. Notice where you typically upload to and make that the default option (again, in the plugin’s Settings) so you don’t have to constantly re-select it.

    Note: If you’ve enabled the option to create an upload path with the entry’s basename, you’ll need to have a titled entry open before clicking Upload FIle. The extra path field will be blank if an entry basename can’t be read, and you can always enter a directory name yourself.

  4. Click the Upload button.

    If you’ve enabled the SpeedDemon, you can click that button. The SpeedDemon will take the default options you’ve specified in the BFU2’s Settings and apply them to the file(s) you’ve uploaded, and simply jump to the Show Me The HTML screen.

If Files Exist


If the file you’ve uploaded already exists in the location you’re uploading to, you’ll see the screen at the right. This screen will tell you the status of all the files you’ve uploaded: whether they were uploaded successfully, or exist and require you to take action. This feedback is particularly useful if you’re uploading many files. You’ll need to tell BFU2 how to proceed.

Of course, if the files you are uploading don’t exist, you won’t see this screen.

  • If you want to overwrite the files on the server with the ones you’re uploading, click the Overwrite button.
  • If you don’t want to overwrite the files on the server, click the Rename button. The files will be renamed so they don’t conflict with any existing files. Note that you do not have opportunity to rename them yourself; BFU2 will rename the file without intervention from you.
  • The last option is to cancel the upload. If you are uploading multiple files, this will cancel the entire upload process, not just for the files that conflict with existing ones.

Process the Uploaded Files


The next screen you’ll encounter is for processing your files. This is where most of the interaction takes place! Many of the options you selected in BFU2’s Settings screen will appear here, so the options you’ll see on this screen will vary quite a bit. Also recognize that the options presented will be different for image and non-image files (such as text files and PDF documents).

  • For example, you can enter some text for an image’s alt attribute, preview the image, and select a wrapper—amongst many other options! For multiple file uploads, all of these options are set uniquely for each file. If you’re uploading multiple files you can access each file’s options by clicking the blue divider displaying the file title.
  • processing-preview.gif
    Hover your mouse cursor over the “Preview” text for a thumbnail preview of the image. This is very helpful if you’ve uploaded many photos from your digital camera, where each file name is mysterious: dscn1247.jpg, dscn1249.jpg, and dscn1254.jpg, for example. A preview lets you easily see a preview and remember how to title the photo!
  • In BFU2, the title attribute is special: it serves several purposes. The title attribute will be used as a tooltip when you hover your mouse over an image. It will be used as the image caption if you build a Lightbox. It will be used as the link text if you upload a non-image file. It’s also used as the title in Assets.
  • If you’re creating a new entry in a Photoblog, the only option that is used is the thumbnail size. (Yes, this means you could pop over to your Photoblog’s BFU2 Settings and disable all options except thumbnailing—simply because they won’t be used. Similarly, adding a photo to your Photoblog can only be done one at a time, so disable multiple file uploading, too.)
  • Add tags to files with the Tags field. Yes, the tags are searchable within Assets! Note that when uploading multiple files, all tags will be applied to all files.

At the bottom of Better File Uploader’s screen you’ll see a dropdown selection box to decide how the resultant HTML is given to you: show me the HTML, create a new entry with the HTML in the Entry Body, or create a new entry with the HTML in the Extended Entry. If you’re using multiple file uploading, this option is applied to all uploaded files.

Similarly, the processing buttons (Popup, Embedded, Page Builder, Lightbox, and Link) will apply to all uploaded files. Click one to proceed.

The Resultant HTML


If you’ve opted to have a new entry created and the HTML placed in either the Entry Body or Extended Entry field, you’re done! You can preview or publish your entry to see your images or links to files.

If you prefer to be shown the HTML, you’re brought to the last screen. Of course, you’ll want to get this HTML into your entry; there are two ways to do this:

  • Click the textarea where your HTML is displayed; the text is automatically selected for you. Press ctrl+c (or command+c on a Mac) to copy this text to the clipboard, then click over to your entry and find where you want to place it. Press ctrl+v (command+v) to paste the resultant HTML in place.
  • Use the Append to… buttons. Clicking the Entry Body button will append the resultant HTML to your entry’s Entry Body field. Clicking the Extended Entry button will append the resultant HTML to your entry’s Extended Entry field. Note that these buttons will only work if you’ve got an entry displayed for editing.

If you’re using Movable Type 4.3 (or greater) and have enabled the asset association checkbox (in the Processing options of the Settings screen), you’ll notice that the Entry Asset Manager now holds associations to your uploaded files.

The Result Stacker will allow you to save the resultant HTML to be used with your next upload. The HTML from this upload and the next will be stacked to give you a new, larger piece of resultant HTML. Result Stacker can be used to build a gallery of images when processed one at a time, for example, or to build two different Lightbox galleries, where one could appear right after another. Clicking Result Stacker will save the resultant HTML and take you back to the Upload File screen where you can upload more files.

Lastly, click the Close or Upload Another button!