Moving Type

SAM: Hi, my name is Sam. ALL: Hi Sam. SAM: I've used Moveable Type. ALL: (gasps) Screw this, we're leaving.

Yes that's right, I've used Moveable Type. Briefly. It was in-between my usage of Greymatter and my decision to move to the PHP/mySQL goodness of b2. During the CA phase of, "lets get a bunch of people who are interested in writing to write a quick weekly or bi-weekly...

Bi-annually, is twice a year, semi-annually is every other year. But then, bi-weekly is every two weeks. Right? Well that's what I mean. Or is it semi-annualy? Arrrg. Anyway, you now know what I intended, I'll get back to the story.

column about something they're interested in. Graphic Design/3d image modeling, current events, birds, the craft/business of writing, you know, the shtick. Anyway, Greymatter was basically what I needed and I even tried to set it up that way, except Greymatter makes a really horrible multiple site solution, and MT was just beginning to gather steam as a useable decent CMS.

Now I was predisposed to Greymatter, and I really liked the system, so MT wasn't entering a fair playing field. I should mention that, at the time I switched to MT, I'd already tried to install it a few times, and had a problem with my host not having the right Perl modules. And the time I ended getting it installed successfully, the installation process was far from useful. And the interface was COMPLICATED, like you have no idea. There was only one level off the main Menu in Greymatter, and I couldn't cope. Lets understand, I was trying to do far too much for any sane website, but it was still a large pain in the ass, and the fast, go in post an entry and leave again philosophy wasn't applied. So I must say it didn't do much for me.

At this point I started to read about b2, and was really impressed with all that php and mySQL had to offer. And dynamic page generation seemed like a great idea. This was before MT had mySQL option (which is another reason the installation was so hellish). The truth is that most small sites would benefit from dynamic page generation, flat files only become really necessary for high traffic areas, like the main index page. There is absolutely no reason individual entry and comment pages need flat file generation. Especially when you have hundreds of entries. This remains one of my largest complaints about MT.

So I moved on to the simpler and ultimately more effective b2. Which was just a stone throw from our current Quarto setup.

One of MT's biggest claims to fame is that it's the CMS that really can do everything and the kitchen sink. And that's wonderful, and because of this, it's become the weblog system of choice for millions of users. The thing is that it's totally overkill. The flat file complaint is emblematic of the larger problems with the system: it's designed for situations that 98% of it's user base will never touch. Before I get further into this, let me give you a basic explanation how a very simple, but exceptionally functional and brilliant, CMS (like the one we're using) works. A script creates secure user interfaces, which allows users to post, and edit previous posts (and do some other stuff). All information is stored on a database. The output is completely separate and is determined by the user of the CMS, not the coder. It means the user base needs to know some PHP, or use basic templates created by the coder. This means that the user can literally do anything with the content that he/she wants, and it's as separate from the backend.

B2 and its offspring work the same way, except that the display functions are more solidified. The end result? It's the same thing, except the b2 creator was being a little nicer to his users.

MT is not like this. At all. I don't think it's even intended to be used on personal blogging sites. Or, more properly it shouldn't.

So this big hubbub about the new licensing scheme and the new version are passé. I mean there are better options out there so I think the whole thing is a non-issue. Now I think the licensing scheme is a pain. They attracted this great following, because they were free, and then they're throwing commercial-for-profit level prices at a bunch of people who probably aren't going to pay. Lets look at Trillian, they went to a paid model, but they left the old version up as being free, and honestly the old version was pretty damn good.

That would have been a good option. I think the model they're using right now is a bit flawed, more because I don't think there's a market for an application like MT, no matter how good and kitchen sink-esque it is, in the commercial web design market. But then some people bought Userland Radio, which surprises me. Go figure.

Anyway, I still like the system we have, and while I am dying to get an update that will hopefully have better comments, and track backs, that is on me. All that by way of saying, honestly the plight of Moveable Type and SixApart, doesn't really bother me terribly, Anyway. I think I'm done here. How's that for no conclusion?

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