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On WordPress and Moveable Type

So why did I hate WordPress, you ask? Most of the reasons probably have more to do with me than WP itself; I'm not that great with big, wholesale changes and I got a little unnerved while trying to navigate through WP. However, there were some things I just didn't like. For instance, no comment preview and no post preview. Yes, I know those things are available through hacks, but that right there is my number one problem with WP; a lot of the features I was used to having in MT were only available by using hack scripts in WP. I also didn't like the way the comment section looked. It was too busy and shorter comments got lost between all the other things going on, like the RSS feed, permalinks, etc. One thing I love about MT is being able to fool around with the templates right inside the program. With WP, everything is done using ftp. I also found the interface kind of clunky. What I like about is there were no rebuilds; that is something that irks me about MT. And the longer I use MT, the more I feel like my rebuilds are taking longer or that MT is going to crush under the weight of how many posts I have. But that just might be leftover baggage from my Greymatter days - that system actually did collapse on me at one point. There are many, many good features of WP. They just aren't the right featurs that will make me continue to use it. MT is simple enough for people like me who have a fear of coding. WP requires a degree in blog coding to get it to do exactly what you want it to. Some people will comment here or email me and say how easy it is to implement all the hacks and scripts, how easy it is to fool with the templates and that's great for those people. It's not great for me because I don't do code. I'm an HTML kind of gal. Also, I tend to break things a lot when I fool around with code. Just ask Stacy (if it weren't for Stacy, I would probably still be using Tripod and Front Page Express. She taught me everything I know, including how to redesign my own site without killing it. But I would never be daring enough to try different things if I didn't know she was there to mop up my messes. Which is why I am flying down to Florida in July just to buy her dinner). So that's my deal with WP. I will stay with this version of MT for the foreseeable future. I'll never, ever switch to the paid version, as I outlined my problems with that already. Despite my feelilngs right now about Six Apart, I still think MT is a pretty solid, easy system to use for less-than-geeks like myself. And that's the story.

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Comments

I had the same experience with a short experiment with pMachine. The php codes were so different that I didn't want to mess around too much that I'd screw the whole thing up.

MT is elegantly simple software in a lot of ways. Too bad the business model is screwing things up. Who knows, five years from now, we might all be like people who still hack old Texas Instruments or Radio Shack computers. The MT 2.x brigade, like a cargo cult or something.

Michele, I'm certainly not going to try and sell you on something your uncomfortable with, and MT is obviously serving you well. But I wanted to comment on a couple of things you said.

"One thing I love about MT is being able to fool around with the templates right inside the program. With WP, everything is done using ftp."

You can edit the templates inside Wordpress. There is a control panel section that provides a text field for this (you just have to make them writeable first). There are also fewer of them than with MT.

"I also didn't like the way the comment section looked. It was too busy and shorter comments got lost between all the other things going on, like the RSS feed, permalinks, etc."

You can edit the templates inside Wordpress. There is a control panel section that provides a text field for this (you just have to make them writeable first). There are also fewer of them than with MT.

Similar to MT the provided templates are just placeholders and you can customise the display anyway you want.

That said, the idea of these things is to get your words out there and you seem to be doing a fine job of that with MT. Why fix it if it ain't broke?

Patince young padwan.

If you still have it up on the server, play with it with the blast helmet on with the visor lowered, but pointing to some unadvertised sub directory.

True, with MT you have the comfort level of familiarity. Take some time to get the feel of the interaction of the clutch, and throttle, with the feedback through the wheel as you rip through the corners with WP on a back road while no one's watching before ya call it a Ford. Hey, and if ya spin, or smack it against a tree, no one will see while ya walk over and bop the tree rats doing the high five dance cause ya wiped out.

Wow, I think I watched Gone in 60 seconds with Geico commercials too many times...

You are quite correct, Michele, that rebuilds take longer over time with MT. That's its #1 achilles heel, in my view. With every post, your database gets bigger and rebuilds take longer, and every time you save a new article it takes a little bit longer.

If it weren't for that I wouldn't even consider switching. but I'm moving to Powerblogs. With 7475 articles to date and growing close to 50,000 comments, I have one of the largest MT database on the planet I would imagine, and the delay in rebuilds and fixes is more than irksome. I can either start a new copy of MT with a new database or I could switch. I'm going to Powerblogs.

I have to agree with the end of this post. I've harped on this topic numerous times. You don't HAVE to switch to the paid version of MT. You don't HAVE to use WordPress or pMachine or any of that. You don't HAVE to leave MT 2.6 or 2.8.

You understand that. I wish all these complainers did too.

I am a recent convert to WordPress. I am currently using 1.0.2 and they just upgraded to version 1.2(doh!) I am somewhat happy with WP so far. As you say, i am less than geeky and am working my way around certain things. My only real complaint is the support forums. They don't really seem to want to help those of us who know too little. Sure if someone pops a question about code or scripiting, they are right on it. But others who ask what may be a simplier question to others than they are to us, we get no answer. They need some form of documentation and maybe better support. Then i think all would be well in WP land.

I had better luck with WP between the MT hacks vs WP hacks (but Perl hates me).

I couldn't STAND having to edit so many different templates to get the site to look the same with MT. Finally after that struggle, I found my search template wasn't even available in the templates list. I had to manually edit that to include the skinner js call to the users skin preference. Has MT changed this? It's been quite a few versions since I fought with MT.

As far as the WP user interface being clunky, I noticed it looked incredibly icky while on someone else's pc that only had (infection/hijack/spyware loving) IE. WP looks pretty nice on a Mozilla browser; I don't know about any other browsers except those two.

Check out Drupal and Nucleus. If I hadn't found WP when I did, I might have chosen one of them. But if I remember correctly, they offer a lot of hacks too (I think it's so people's core install won't be junked up with everything under the sun; they can add only the things they want, like WP does).

I don't remember if they import MT though.

Geez.....and I still use Greymatter. I think I'm due for an upgrade.

If you want to play with stuff on your own time, install your own webserver on your computer. There's a great all-in-one package called XAMPP that installs Apache, MySQL, PHP and has other stuff available. It sets itself up automagically, so you don't have to go nuts installing them individually like I did the first time around :-)

I'm using it now to play around with a few different photo albums (been looking for a decent one for over a year now), and the ability to pick them apart and customize them without worrying about destroying my website/database allows me to dig really deep and play and learn.

Okay, since all of you seem to know what you are talking about (and Michele, you are a super geek in comparison to my knowledge), I have a question for you guys...

I want to start a blog of my own. I've wanted to for a while but am terrified of all the stuff you are talking about. Moveable type, Wordpress, what's that? Do you know of a website or a book or something that I could use to teach myself this stuff? I don't even know HTML so this is all completely new to me. Help!

Thanks guys!

Lisa Bragg

Lisa, for a complete newbie, I'd recommend Blogger. That's what I started with, and you can host the site for free on Blogspot. If you don't want to learn any HTML, you won't have to. But it provides nice "training wheels" that let you concentrate on the writing, linking, etc.

Lisa-

Skillzy is right: definitely start with Blogger. As soon as you get the hang of it, you'll realize how much it sucks and you'll want something better, but it's still where you need to start.

If you want to learn some basic HTML and CSS, I highly recommend the tutorials on this site.

As for books, there are several out there, just go to Amazon.com and search on "blogging". But you really don't need one. Best thing to do is get a Blogger account and just dive in.

We have an old saying in the Army, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Seems to be pretty sound advice.

@IgwanaRob Thanks for that XAMPP link.

I'd tried a different package in the past (forget the name); it was a pain. This one looks great to practice on w/o having to FTP to a server to see if I did something correctly.

"One thing I love about MT is being able to fool around with the templates right inside the program. With WP, everything is done using ftp."

Huh?

Michele, inside Wordpress on Tab 8 is a template editor exactly like Movable Type's.

Just had to correct that.