The SmartyPants Plugin
John Gruber of Daring Fireball has released a new Movable Type plugin, aptly named SmartyPants. It is written specifically for educating quotes, apostrophes, dashes, elipses and other dull ASCII characters into their typographically-correct, HTML entity equivalents. Since I got to help beta test it, I installed it a few days ago on my site and it's been working very nicely ever since. Now my writing looks a little more professional even if it doesn't read that way.
I avoided adopting previous attempts at creating 'smarty quote' solutions, mainly because they didn't respect <pre> and <code> blocks. At my request, John has enforced this rule into SmartyPants, so content within those tags will not be altered. This is important to me because I use <pre> blocks all the time for code samples. If the quote characters in those samples were changed to be typographic symbols, you couldn't copy and paste them if you wanted to use the code. (Well you could, but it would be a pain to have to edit them all back to simple characters.) Here's how you use this thing:
It's that easy.