Friday, May 28, 2004

Network World and Movable Type

The Daily Dose is now on Movable Type, having joined the other bloggers from NW who are using this (blame Adam, who keeps changing his mind about which software he likes). - 9/6/02

Weblog geeks can tell at a glance that we use Movable Type for our Weblogs. Suits us fine - especially the way it supports multiple Weblogs and authors and has a simple workflow. The fact that it runs on a server is also a plus, since we often have folks posting from borrowed PCs at trade shows. - 7/3/03

After a couple of weeks futzing around with potential intranet platforms, we've settled on Movable Type. Huh, that Weblogging tool? Yeah, that's what I thought, initially, as well. But then I saw the Consumers Union site - which is done almost entirely in Movable Type. Turns out MT actually has some nice intranet-ish abilities, some of which I didn't know about. - 07/18/03

Our Movable Type-based intranet is getting closer to a launch date (smart us: We didn't set a specific date, though). - 08/08/03

Movable Type is a wonderful tool, but it absolutely sucks as a group blogging tool, in the sense that there's no way to manage all your blogs at once, for example, to kill identical comments across multiple Weblogs. You have to go into each single Weblog and delete each single spam comment by hand and then add the IP address of each offending spam to the individual blacklist for each individual Weblog (all those in favor of me getting off my butt and learning enough SQL to do all this at the database level, raise your hands). - 10/13/03

I've just been experimenting with Movable Type from Six Apart (see links below and yes, that is the way the company spells "Movable"). Movable Type is an open source blog written in Perl so it can run on most systems. I'm using it to provide my son's school with both a public and an intranet publishing platform that doesn't require much expertise.
Advertisement: And I'm impressed. This is quite a piece of engineering. - 10/15/03

As mentioned earlier, we're going live with a redesigned Fusion on Monday. We use Movable Type for both traditional Weblogs (like, oh, this one) and for reporters "notes" on the topics they cover (see our Security page for an excellent example). Problem: Each one of those blogs has its own template set, because Movable Type doesn't allow for user-defined fields in its database and we just have too much stuff we want to cram into our blog pages (for example, we have "topics" that determine the sort of ad that goes on a page). I was so not looking forward to modifying all those templates. But what Movable Type does have is a very nice plugin architecture. - 01/29/04

Six Apart has come out with the pricing for Ver. 3.0 of its Movable Type blogging tool (sorry, for their "publishing system"). A commercial license will set you back $700. That's not really all that outrageous for good quality software (we spent $500 for the software we use for our research links), but even for all that, the Ver. 3.0 license limits you to 15 Weblogs. We already have way more "blogs" than that (we're using Movable Type to power the reporter notes on all our research-center pages and use it on our intranet). I *might* be able to scrounge up $700 (well, $600 if I order now), but I'm really doubting our finance people would appreciate an unbudgeted bill for $1,400 (minus the $45 discount we'd get for the $300 in commercial MT licenses we've already purchased, that is). So our options are: Look for an alternative platform (hmm, Drupal, the open-source tool we're using for our new Feeds aggregator, has blogs built in); move our research-pages to our fancy-shmancy content management system (but then we'd lose the commenting function which was the main reason we put them in Movable Type to begin with). Or stick with Movable Type 2.6x, which is working just fine for us now. - 05/13/04

As I said yesterday, I don't object to paying for software (and yes, we paid for licenses for our current MT installations). What bothers me is the limitations in the licenses (which right off the bat would force us to buy two licenses). But, hey, they're free to charge what they want, and we're free to look at other platforms... - 05/14/04

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Enterprising Movable Type

Once upon a time, Six Apart were thought to be developing three products: Movable Type, TypePad, and Movable Type Pro.

The question is, Is Movable Type the right solution for the enterprise?

Basically, my terrible meeting taught me that just as MT 2.6 was often made much more useful to individuals and small companies by the simple plug-ins available, MT 3.0 will only be able to penetrate the corporate market through extension by professional developers. - Ari Paparo

Or should there be another product like MT Pro?

My advice? If you want to charge for corporate licensing - here's a thought: make it a commercial product. It's not. What does MT do that would appeal to commercial enterprises? Does it facilitate commerce? Does it have a robust email tool to reach large numbers of people? Does it provide for automated advertising? Is it secure? The answers to all above - mkrempasky

Maybe the question to ask is whatever happened to Movable Type Pro?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Unstyled Movable Type

One thing that has been overlooked in all the uproar over the new licensing are the new templates.

Movable Type 3's default template is different from MT2.x. Well, not hugely different, but different enough to break all the stylesheets here. Of course, it is possible to code CSS to be used in both MT2 and MT3, but it is restrictive and quite a bit of work. MT3 includes another div id="center" around the content and sidebar, so it is possible to do more fancy styles around it. - Scott Yang

One wonders how to describe the new default styles.

The new styles suck...hard. They are all the same except for color. Even Blogger has better layouts. Again, they want us to do all the work, and pay for the privilege. - Laura McMasters

I am really surprised at what a giant step backward these are.

Granularity in Licensing

I woke up this morning think about the whole MT Pricing Issue. I was going to write down my thoughts somewhere and then I happened to find this.

Granularity is important. The price list has figures with two to four digits (including the one that some corporate users got to see). Six Apart chose to index the price on two variables: the number of authors and the number of weblogs. I think the present model is not granular enough, too steep for individuals (I’m already using four weblogs and two authors to run this web site because of MT’s present limitations!) and lacking clarity and flexibility for the high end corporate user. It could benefit from being clearly split in three: a limited but free version for individual/personal use, a flat-fee unlimited version under $70 for the personal use of power-users (like Jason Kottke suggests) and a granular price list for business users that should do a better job at explaining the options, notably in terms of support. - Francois

It seems to me that what all of this comes down to is that Six Apart is not eager to see anyone use Movable Type as a platform for launching their own weblog service. We saw this debate play out last year. I think the licensing changes were an attempt to address that. There is a ready solution available, but I think there are ways short of that to solve the problems.

Setup personal licenses two ways: one for individuals and one for individuals who wish to host sites for friends. Setup a license for non-profits and educational institutions. Setup a license for businesses. And finally, setup a license for businesses who wish to offer weblogs to their customers (and that is perfectly reasonable to do on a sliding scale).

I don't want to see Six Apart go the way of Eazel or ArsDigita, but I am definitely struck by the similarity of the situation. I don't know what the answer is, but Six Apart is in too competitive an industry to try to rely on their reputation for long.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


Since Blogger does not support Trackback, there are limits to what you can do. But there is a partial solution. You can at least ping other people via something like the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Form

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Changing RSS

I participated in a discussion on Phil Ringnalda's weblog the other day. My part revolved around how should a proposed change in the RSS 2.0 be implemented.

1) announce a proposed change

2) requesting comments about the change for a set time period of reasonable length to give those who might offer positive feedback time to discover the proposal and formulate a response

3) When that period ends, the Board then votes the change up or down

4) If the change is approved, a date certain implementation date is announced allowing sufficient time for aggregators and feed producers to implement the change

Even if it were never used, the fact that it existed could serve to be postitive.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


The single I miss most when using the Blogger interface is Textile. With the other major blogging platforms making good use of it, Movable Type, WordPress, and, of course, TextPattern, one can hope that Blogger will do so as well someday.

Master of My Domain

Last year, I decided to purchase a certain domain. Unfortunately, I missed registering it by one day. Since then, I have kept track of it. The purchaser never actually deployed it and did not renew it prior to the anniversary date.

Now the fun begins: Eleven days after it expired, the registrar changed the status to REGISTRAR-HOLD. 26 days later, the status changed to REDEMPTIONPERIOD.

The wait continues. I have no idea when the next step will occur but according to this discussion, it could be another 34 days.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Pushing RSS

RSS, in its simplicity, is a breath of fresh air. You can understand it fully in a few minutes. You can quickly deploy an application with just a basic understanding of HTML and a bit of experience in a scripting language like Perl, AppleScript or Python. That is the reason it gained traction, while most other XML formats are still in the working groups or waiting for deployment. In the overworked world of Web development, there's no time to study, there's only time to do. - Dave Winer

But while the vision has become vivid once more, the seamless Web of the original push fantasy is almost as far away as ever. This is because the Web has grown far bigger, more diverse, more open, and messier. It cannot be unified by a single easy-to-learn, concretely useful specification like RSS. - Gary Wolf

Remote Posting

I am really intrigued by the ability to post via e-mail. I always meant to set something up to do that on my other blogs, but never quite got around to getting it to work. This should be a big boon especially to those who blog via alternative devices.

This message arrived via that very method although I did have to edit it to remove the hard link breaks. That is something I will have to look at.


Evan is proud of his new permalinks. Sam thinks his have improved but plans to do more.

I love the nearly-Ultimate Weblogging System style of them. If only they did not include the .html or, in Evan's case, the .asp. Sam is in the lead on this point.

As Sam mentions, the real problem is generating the slug to use for the URI. Multiple word titles result in multiple word slugs which complicate things. Blogger is apparently removing articles like the which is a very nice move. But I think that the latest version of WordPress still has the most elegant solution I have seen although you don't see it in use in the post linked to in this sentence.

Monday, May 10, 2004


One plus side as well: I now have the same username for Blogger and TypeKey. That should help a great deal with commenting.

And of course, I have the same username at hotmail, yahoo, excite, and earthlink as well. As well as some other places.

I guess I like to keep things simple.

The Relaunch

I started this blog a few weeks ago in order to try for a gmail account. That didn't work, but it did give me the opportunity to play in the new Blogger interface when it was launched last night.

The funny thing is, if Blogger had worked this well years ago, I would probably have never left it for GreyMatter. Oh, well...

Anyway, I had written a bunch of really silly things in here so I decided to start fresh by deleting all the posts. Adding a mass delete to the interface would be a good idea.

I intend to use this for really personal writing that I can't quite fit in anywhere else.