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WordPress vs Movable Type

Its a matter of history that I was a member of the Movable Type diaspora when the house that Mena built decided for better or worse to alienate a large number of their loyal user base with MT 3. Its been 12 months, and a lot of the old MT gang are writing WordPress plugins and helping out whilst Six Apart continues to chase the corporate dollar whilst protesting that it’s really a good corporate citizen at heart (eg: we support Open Source because we bought Live Journal).

But enough of my purposeful provocation in a blatant attempt to drive up poor Darren’s stats here whilst he is in Europe. Seriously, 12 months later, what’s better: WP or MT? Both have moved forward in terms of development. I’ll start the ball rolling, I prefer WP, and there is one gigantically large reason why: ITS FREE and no matter what happens the source code will be free for me to tweak and customise for ever more…and naturally it works a treat as well, quicker in my experience than Movable Bloat, sorry Type, and I reckon Matt’s a much nicer person than Mena as well :-)

You might use another piece of blogware that you’d prefer, and there is some great development happening there (Nucleus, Serendipity to name but a few) so if its something else for you let us know. Please though, share your thoughts on blogware (self installed scripts if you like) not hosted blogs.

Fire away!!!

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Comments

  1. markku says:

    WordPress’s installation alone is enough reason to love it. And certainly the opposite holds true for MT.

  2. Blog Party says:

    WordPress has saved my life :)

  3. I love WordPress but the recent issues I’m having with trackback are causing a really big problem.

    I’m not really getting any useful advice off the support forum and therein lies the weakness of using free software.

  4. Adam Simon says:

    One thing that people often overlook in the whole MT going for-pay and corporate is the benefits you get from having an 80-person company back a product you’re using – like tech support. John Bradbury notes (in #60) that he can’t get the support he needs from the WP community, but when my org’s site, built in MT, started acting crazy, I just had to open a support ticket, and within 24 hours I had Six Apart techs in the trenches, examining my installation directly until they found the problem (it turned out to be a combination of a MT bug and some server settings, which I never would have found myself). And this was for a $0 license for a non-profit org’s site – I’ve never paid SA a dime, and they still had three people working on my case. The level of support was impressive, and convinced me to stay with MT. It’s not perfect, but at least there are people who’s livlihood depends on making it work, which can be a real salvation when things go awry.

  5. Michael says:

    You should ask your question next week again, when Sixapart will announce the next version of Movable Type. Will they deliver what they promised?

    Read here what MT Product Manager Jay Allen says in the MT Forums:

    “Since MT 3.16 (which was a massive bug fix release in case you missed it), the Movable Type team has been working extremely hard behind the scenes on the next version. It’s absolutely beautiful and the most powerful and satisfying-to-use version of Movable Type to date. All of us at Six Apart are literally going nuts waiting for the moment when we can actually safely use it for our own sites and intranet blogs. I’m sure that you will find it equally compelling.
    You’ll be hearing a lot more about this very soon. I apologize for the wait, but it’s a major release and there were a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross before we could call it a finished product.
    (…)
    The next version (and probably the next and next and so on) would be a free upgrade for you. You’ll start hearing more about this next week.”

    Links:
    http://www.movabletype.org/support/index.php?act=ST&f=12&t=52749&s=3418ee61f22b771569053dfd15136dc6
    http://www.jayallen.org/journey/2005/06/the_best_friday_in_a_long_time

  6. James says:

    Right now, all the comments on this page say:

    Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier ‘/’ in /home/virtual/site103/fst/var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/google-hilite.php on line 107

    Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier ‘a’ in /home/virtual/site103/fst/var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/google-hilite.php on line 105

    So maybe that’s a point for MT.

  7. Setti says:

    WoW! 64 comments! Cool!

  8. duncan says:

    A new version of MT, wonder how much this one will cost? Will it put some more knives into the little people? oh, and Michael, thanks for the links: I love this quote:

    “For example, Trackback moderations was suggested 2 years ago, and a more user-friendly system of assigning multiple categories to a post was suggested in January 2005.I’m pretty frustrated that I actually bought a few MT licences, because simple issues such as fighting spam and basic user-friendliness seem abandoned by SixAprt. ”

    Good money after bad I say :-)

  9. Darren Rowse says:

    I’m a WP guy although still run 5 of my blogs on MT. I’m hoping to move them though to WP when I get home.

    Great discussion

  10. Mikey says:

    I prefer the more custom solution. I use blur6ex and while still growing in features is a simple solution that offers what I need.

  11. Michele says:

    I would have to agree. MT was “nice”, but I have never regretted moving over to WordPress. I found MT’s handling of templates and plugins awkward and our clients were constantly having issues with obscure Perl modules that the plugin writers neglected to mention as prerequisites. A little over 12 months later and we have many happy WP users on our network and very few support requests from them :)
    As for me, well I love my blog and keep tweaking it – even if I sometimes break it in the process.
    Six Apart may be making money from “a” market, but I think they have lost as much, if not more, than what they have gained.
    Just my two cents.

  12. I don’t understand the level of animosity against Six Apart that’s showing here. Movable Type was never open-source software, and it never claimed to be. Just because it was written in Perl so that you could read the source doesn’t mean anyone should’ve expected it to be free forever. 6A is a corporation, and corporations exist to make money.

    They screwed up the original licensing plan, big time, but they also had the good grace to admit the screw-up and handle it openly using input from the community. The new pricing structure is much more reasonable, and has a free option well suited to most personal weblogs. That said, I still prefer ExpressionEngine’s $199 flat-rate, unlimited-use commercial license. MT’s tiered pricing based on number of users is restrictive and expensive by comparison. Hopefully 6A will realize this and cut prices to keep their product competitive.

    I jumped ship from MT when the original, ludicrous, licensing plan was announced. I was running three MT blogs to produce two front-facing web sites (old MT users will know what I mean), and didn’t qualify for the original free personal license. WP impressed me, and I’ve stuck with it for my main personal weblog. Version 1.5 now does everything I could want, and when combined with some amazing plugins does even more than the current release of MT (3.17).

    I’ve stuck with MT for my photoblog, however. As someone else mentioned above, the WP photo upload interface is seriously lacking. Basically, it comes down to using what best meets your needs. Even MT is free to try out, so the best strategy is to investigate both and choose the one that suits you.

  13. Totally different topic, so I’ve started a new comment. I’d like to address some of the worries of MT users who are considering moving to a new platform.

    One thing that’s come up a couple of times is permalinks. First it should be said that permalinks are highly configurable in WordPress, and you may be able to mimic your old URL structure on that platform. Here’s the documentation for that: http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks

    There are some cases where that won’t work, but you still have options. For bloggers hosted on an Apache server, the best route is to create a custom MT template that will automatically create URL-rewriting rules for your .htaccess file. I did this, and it’s incredibly slick how well it works. Instructions: http://www.quietconfusion.com/2003/03/movable_type_file_rewrite/

    If you’re hosted on Microsoft IIS or some other non-Apache server software, you can still re-direct search engines and visitors. The best way, in my opinion, is with PHP redirects. These will transparently transition your users from the old page to the new one, and will also send a message to search engine spiders telling them that the page has moved to the new location. First, change your archive paths to match what WP (or your other new platform) will use as closely as possible and rebuild. Create an MT template that contains the necessary PHP code, but with a template tag in there to give the correct location of the new URLs. Set up the archive path for this new template to be the same as the old archive paths, so that visitors will land on the old pages and be re-directed. Rebuild again, and you’re done. Find the PHP code you need here: http://www.mallasch.com/web/story.php?sid=49

    As a last resort, if you have neither Apache nor PHP (get a new host!), you could use HTTP re-directs. These work a lot like PHP redirects, but without the PHP. Instead, the archive template you create will be for an HTML file with a special meta tag in the head. Find out more here: http://www.codepoetry.net/archives/2003/08/05/changing_archive_links.php

    Okay, now that we’ve covered re-directing permalinks let’s hit spam. I’ve seen some fans of MT-Blacklist here, and I agree that’s an excellent spam-blocker. WordPress has something even better, though — Spam Karma ( http://www.unknowngenius.com/blog/wordpress/spam-karma/ ). This thing is absolutely amazing. Word has it that some of the best features of MT’s SpamLookup (used and praised by Blacklist’s creator) were inspired by an early beta of Spam Karma 2.0.

    If you’re considering non-WP CMSs, your anti-spam options do dwindle a little bit. Mambo has no substantial spam blocking solution to speak of, though I suspect that may change after the release of version 5.0 next year. ExpressionEngine’s spam protection is disappointing, consisting mainly of per-site black/whitelists, CAPTCHA, and throttling (see http://eedocs.pmachine.com/general/spam_protection.html ). Drupal is the stand out here, with an optional spam module that sports flexible Bayesian filtering (a learning filter, like many e-mail spam blockers). For more on Drupal’s spam module, see http://www.drupal.org/project/spam

    Hope that was helpful. Good luck to all the switchers out there! :-)

  14. I had used MT 2.3 for a year and loved how it worked. I finally reached the crossroads where I had to decide to fork over the $70 to MT or try WP. I spent a weekend with WP and it finally came down to a decision… Do I relearn everything that took a year to learn on MT or do I pay to have a system I already know that is fully supported.

    I decided to get MT 3.17…. I would also note that the update coming out (3.2) is free for those that have purchased a MT license. I love MT mostly because I am used to it. There are plenty of plug-ins available for it and my site looks great. I couldn’t be happier.

  15. Lots of interesting comments here, but I will say that while MT does have a bit of a learning curve, it’s possibilities are virtually limitless. Complaints about rebuilding? MT now supports dynamic publishing. Complaints about plugins? Please! Visit Movable Type’s plugin page[1] for an eye opener. Complaints about installation difficulties? Movable Type 3.2 is extremely simple… I upgraded to the newest version in the time it took to FTP the files and run mt.cgi.

    And the brand new StyleCatcher plugin allows a one-button implementation of a host of different styles for your entire site. Not only that, but MT lets you do a whole lot more than just blogs. I’ve just finished two immense, non-blogs[2] that are completely powered by MT.

    Definitely the way to go.

    [1] http://www.sixapart.com/pronet/plugins/
    [2] http://www.compvisions.com, http://www.plasticmind.com

  16. Also… for those complaining about spam. MT 3.2 is shipped with SpamLookup… my spam count for the last 3 months? 0 Spam comments, 3 Spam trackbacks that weren’t published and flagged for moderation.

  17. jalansutera says:

    As a newbie in blogosphere, I choose WP. I used to have PMachine. But WP rocks!

  18. test says:
  19. kit says:

    I’ve used MT and WP, and prefer MT for two reasons.

    1) Static pages! I realise that a lot of people here think serving a dynamic page for every pageview is a good idea, but this creates an unnecessary amount of database traffic. The ‘rebuilding’ nonsense of MT is actually very advantageous. I’m aware of WP-cache, but it does appear to be a bit flaky at times. If you have a low traffic blog, this probably isn’t an issue for you.

    2) multiple blogs managed from 1 location.

    That being said, I’ve recently set up a new WP blog for a new NPO, which isn’t likely to receive a lot of traffic.. and in this case it’s probably the best solution.

    I have also never had any trouble installing, or upgrading MT. MT upgrades tend to be just dropins.. not difficult :)

  20. nir says:

    testing

  21. Erin Dailey says:

    I just stumbled upon your site while searching for comparisons between MT and WP and I after spending an hour and a half trying to upload MT to my server and getting frustrated, I finally uploaded WP in five minutes and imported all my old files and damn, it rocks. I can’t believe how awesome it is.

  22. without a doubt wordpress!

  23. Will says:

    I use and love WordPress.

    At first, I wanted to use MT. But I couldn’t figure out how to install it ;)

  24. mama dearest says:

    I have chosen the MT option to try it out and I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me! It didn’t let me have the option of modifying the page, like “Word Press” does. At least it’s “Dummy Proof!” I vote for Word Press.

  25. Lee Rogers says:

    Are you sure 26256 about this?!?

  26. Farwell Sam says:

    “Whilst” is a horrible word….

  27. Id say WP all the way. More plugins, easy to install, more themes.. Try it out. Install couldnt be more easy. Setup database, get php to work, run install. Done..

  28. I need some serious blogger expertise. Our site is entrenched in MT’s modules and templates and … I worked way too long as a manager attempting to decipher it all, and crashed my site once.

    The hosts we use charge $50/hr, and oftentimes overestimate on hours needed. I can’t independently make cosmetic changes to the site because of how the div classes are set up.

    I would really appreciate some consultation on:
    A – What am I missing from Movable Type? How are all of these different pages related? What are its capabilities that we are not taking advantage of? How can one make cosmetic changes possible without relying on the host?
    B – If MT is not really the best, most manageable, user-friendly option, then is WordPress going to work for us? How long will that kind of project take to bring our MT to WP?

    site: http://www.edspresso.com
    contact: melanie (a) edreform.com

  29. Mike K-H says:

    I have used WP for a couple of small blogs, so I’m getting to know it and some of the plugins. However, when I asked one of my older hosting companies whether I could install WP rather than MT(which thye install and maintain for a monthly fee), they commented that WP could cause heavy server loads on a busy blog. What sort of traffic levels would I need to reach before this was a consideration?

  30. Lissa says:

    Hi, nice blog. Well written posts. A definite keeper :) Be good. Lissa

  31. Update! WordPress 2.6.2

  32. Yusuf says:

    Installation takes a little getting used to, but becomes a breeze after a while.

    I’m planning on using MT for my business site and WP for my personal site.

    Both are free by the way, so I’m not sure why the author mentions cost as an issue.

    The advantage WP has is that there are a lot of templates available, giving its users more choice.

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