August 19, 2011

Template Tag Syntax

Tag Syntax

All tags are enclosed within less-than greater-than signs, just like HTML tags. You can optionally insert a $ inside these signs, like this:

<$MTEntryBody$>

This can be useful to quickly determine whether a particular tag is an HTML tag or a Typepad tag.

The $ is optional; a convention that is followed throughout the default templates and the documentation is to use the $ on Variable Tags, but not on Container Tags.

Part of the reason for this is that you should not use the $ on the end tag of a Container Tag, because the system will then be unable to find the end tag.

Tag Types

Container Tags

Certain tags are "container" tags; they contain what might be called a subtemplate, a chunk of text and tags between two other tags: the start of the container and the end of the container.

For example, if we have a tag called <MTFoo>, you might see the following markup in one of your templates:

<MTFoo>
Foo bar
</MTFoo>

The start and end tags for a container look like standard HTML tags.


List Container Tags

If a container represents a list--the <MTEntries> tag, for example--the subtemplate within the container will be applied to each of the items in that list.

For example, when you use an <MTEntries> tag, the markup between <MTEntries> and </MTEntries> is applied to each of the entries in the list.

Conditional Container Tags

If a container represents a conditional--the <MTEntryIfExtended> tag, for example--the markup between the start and end tags will only be displayed if a certain condition is met.

For example, in the case of <MTEntryIfExtended>, the condition tests whether the entry has an extended piece ("Post Continuation").


Variable Tags

All non-container tags are simple variable substitution tags. They are placeholders for dynamic pieces of information. For example, the <$MTEntryTitle$> tag is replaced with the title of the entry.


Tag Attributes

Some tags take attributes that modify their default behavior. Tag attributes work similarly to HTML tag attributes: they are lists of name="value" pairs, separated by spaces. For example:

<MTEntries author="Foo" category="Bar">

(Look at the <MTEntries> documentation to determine what this does.)

Attribute values must be enclosed in quotes; otherwise they will not be parsed correctly.

When using attributes in a tag where you are using the $ character after the start and before the end tags, you should place the attributes before the end $ character. For example:

<$MTEntryDate format="%B %e, %Y"$>

The attributes supported by the various tags are listed along with the tags.


The Importance of Context

Most tags are context-dependent, meaning that they should only be used in the appropriate context.

Context is generally determined by either the surrounding template or the surrounding container tags: for example, template markup is placed in entry context either within an <MTEntries> tag, in an Individual Entry archive page, in a Comment Listing template, or in a Comment Preview template.

Because of this, it only makes sense to use an <$MTEntryTitle$> tag, or an <MTComments> container, inside one of these contexts.


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