Goodbye Movable Type, Hello WordPress

I have to thank Pat W for his comment on my post yesterday – he suggested I try WordPress and TextPattern. I’ve done a test installation of WordPress, and it’s a dream. I had been resisting checking out other blog applications, as I’ve become so familiar with Movable Type I didn’t want to have to learn a new system. But there’s no denying the superiority of WordPress: the installation was fast and easy, and after even just a quick run through the administrative interface, it’s obvious that the features for creating entries, theme management, etc. (even including overall site management), are superior.

I’ve realized the problem with Movable Type is that it’s based on a web programming paradigm that’s at least 8 years old, when a “dynamic” page was something you generally only saw after filling out a form, and you needed to stick with static pages whenever possible anyway, for the sake of conserving server resources (it’s the kind of stuff I used to teach in my CGI/Perl class in 2000). The web has moved beyond that, but only with the latest version of Movable Type does it seem that Six Apart has even started to catch on. What’s ironic is that the early success of Movable Type has allowed Six Apart to become a real company (now with at least 50 employees), but they’re clearly not keeping up with what the smaller competitors are doing. Instead they’ve let themselves be distracted with developing TypeKey, a project they would have known was doomed from the start if that had just asked somebody (not even Microsoft has the market leverage to get everyone to sign on to a central registration system – how many of you use Microsoft Passport?). A slightly out-of-date but still useful overview of Movable Type and its competitors is at the Unbounded blog entry Goodbye, Movable Type.

The time-consuming part of the transition will be migrating my stylesheets and templates away from the custom Movable Type tags and into PHP. But since PHP is the main language I program in now, it’ll ultimately be a good thing.


  1. Reply
    John P. Speno February 23, 2005

    yeah, my next blog will use WP also despite the fact that it’s written in PHP (my eyes! the goggles do nothing!). I doubt I’ll need to hack any code to get it working.

    I’ve experimented with WP in the past for our Owen and Luke pages, but we never switched over. It was remarkbly easy to get the old data into WP with a little help from python, however, so maybe someday we’ll try again.

    btw, you must have seen some buzz about ruby on rails lately. tell us what you think.

  2. Reply
    PatW February 23, 2005

    WordPress 1.5 really was a huge leap in the CMS features for Wp. The old version was a blog and that was it. The interface still hurts my eyes. I like Textpattern’s a lot more for that reason alone but Wp is a much farther along product. The thing I like with TXP is that plugins are just new PHP functions you call, so technically you can do anything. I was really thinking of moving over to Wp with 1.5 but I think I might stick it out with TXP a little longer.

    Ruby on rails …. yummm! Then again I do Coldfusion all day now (talk about goggles doing nothing. What a hideous looking language. Although variable scoping is much more natural then Perl and PHP)

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