There seems to be some changes coming down the pike for Movable Type. With version 3.0, they are going to require you to purchase their software to get the same functionality as you had in 2.661 and below. Now, there is a free version, but according to their website, with the free version you won’t get support, you won’t be able to have them install it for you (you’d have to pay for that normally), you don’t have access to fee-based services (like I’d use that anyways), no promotion of your weblog via their recently updated list, no commercial use, no more than one author and 3 weblogs (ruh roh). You can see the list here. It’s in a banner on the right hand side that says, “Movable Type Free.”
Now, everything in that list is ho-hum to me, except for the only 1 author. For those of you not aware of how things work here at rebelpeon.com, each weblog is running it’s own self-contained version of movable type. This allows me to use my own search template since search templates are shared across all weblogs that use the installation of movable type. Also, each weblog has (at least) 2 authors. One of them is me, so that I can get everything setup and then the other person is the owner of the blog. Now I’m sure most of you are seeing why 3.0 may screw me, err my weblog owners, over.
Now, I could purchase the software (and get my weblog owners to help chip in), which would get me the ability to have 5 authors and 5 weblogs. However, I felt that it would be a good idea to test out their free version to see how crippled it actually was. You can see the fruits of that labor at my test site. I simply made a new database in mysql, exported this website’s tables and then imported them into the new database. This way I was able to get an exact copy of this website. Since there’s only one author on this website (me), I had to create a new author after the upgrade to 3.0 was completed. As you can see, both aaron and rebelpeon were able to post news. Yes, that means that there are 2 authors on that particular weblog.
It seems odd that they, in essence, lie to you while purchasing. Think of all the websites that won’t take the time to actually test this like I did. Talk about a sleazy way of making money. I don’t know if this a simple mistake, or not. It is also possible that I’m not dealing with a final, final version. However, they had a complete website design touting 3.0, so I’m assuming I’m using final code.
Enough with the movable type bashing, lets move on to some of the improvements. The biggest one is the comments. You can leaving commenting the same (which is probably safe for the vast majority of our little weblog sites), or you can force people to register with TypeKey, then log in to leave comments. You can have comments automatically posted, or you can screen them first. There is also a new section where you can list and edit comments, just like you can entries. I can see the benefit of this, but I can also see the abuse, especially with politically motivated websites. The easy of editing posts may overcome some… If TypeKey is being used, you can have a listing of commenters who have posted on your website. You get such information as status, name, date registered, etc. I’m not exactly sure how this all works (need to test it), but it may be the same as a profile for the website. This could be what I’m looking for on my website, so people don’t have to look at categories that bore them.
There is also a new trackback section. I personally am not a fan of trackbacks, but some people swear by them. I suppose it’s because I’m not linking to websites that talk about similar things all the time. Anyways, you get a list off all the trackbacks. Once again, you can edit and list just like entries have always been and comments have just become.
Another nice feature that I sort of just stumbled upon, was if you log into movable type, the click on the view site, then do a search on your website, you can actually edit posts right from there. This is an added feature, since there’s not really a search feature for entries while logged in. This way, if you don’t happen to remember the post off the top of your head, you can simply do a search to find your website. Talk about a random find though.
Finally when you’re logged in, the look is different. The same categories are there, but it has a much more fresh look. There isn’t as many images to load (which may be beneficial to some), so actually logging in is faster, etc. I enjoy the new look much better than the last. It’s also not as blocky and big.
I’m sure there’s a lot more features that I’m simply not using or seeing yet. If I were to actually look through the change log I’d probably see more things that have changed that I actually use, but what’s the fun in that 🙂
I will probably move rebelpeon.com over to the new system sometime in the next few weeks. It changes some database tables, so I want to be absolutely sure when I want to go, since it will be a pain to get it back. After rebelpeon.com makes the switch, I’ll slowly be moving the other sites too. So, if you happen to log in one day and notice it looks a little different, that’s why 🙂