Hicks

Move away from MovableType?

To put it mildly, there has been a little brou ha ha over SixApart’s announcement to charge for MT 3.0 (for a more level headed opinion, go read Jason Santa Maria’s thoughts, which echo my own exactly).

However, I’ve been considering moving away from MT for a while, as it has always irked me having to rebuild so much. Now that my journal is starting to get a healthy amount of entries, I can easily fix myself an omelette sandwich while it chugs away. It makes MT feel quite clunky for me.

One of the options I’ve been fiddling with for a few months is Textpattern, and its impressed me with the speed at which it allows me to work. One of its many nifty features is a preference to automatically close comments on entries after a cetain length of time. This is the best way to defeat comment spam, and I’m not clever enough to know how to set up a cron job to do it for me.

There’s a lot to overcome with TP though – it has its own idiosyncratic names for things – e.g ‘forms’ are not actually ‘forms’ but ‘reusable chunks of content’. Another drawback is that you’ll have a hard time getting to run in ‘clean URL mode’ on certain servers. If you’re using server where you have access to the config files all well and good, but many may find it a bit torturous to get it working on their shared server hosting account. Nevertheless, its an attractive possibility.

The other option that I’m starting to consider is Wordpress, which has been Eric Meyers choice of CMS. I’m trying this out now, and I’ll let you know what I think. My initial run with it was very encouraging.

There are still many advantages for me to stay with MT. Its very flexible, and lends itself to content management outside the world of blogging. For instance, a single installation of MT can be used to power multiple blogs easily – thats how this site works, a blog for every section. With tools like Wordpress, you have to create a new installation every time, and if using the same database, create a new table prefix to avoid wiping over other data. MT also give you more options, other than the standard ‘Title, Body & Excerpt’ fields. This was vital when I created my portfolio site.

So no decisions yet. If MT 3.0 is the right tool, I will pay for it, but I’m feeling led away from the chugging…