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First Post with Movable Type v3.35

Movable Type Publishing Platform v3.35First post with v3.35 of Movable Type blogging software (uh, I mean, publishing platform) .. which represents the latest release from Six Apart (on 12.april, see here).

My old blog (v2.63) is still > HERE (same place it's been last 4 years). I installed that version in May 2003, and never upgraded (didn't wanna do anything that might risk losing hundreds of posts) .. until now.

Actually, this is a *new* installation .. not an upgrade (same strategy I took with the YaBB forum software recently). All went surprisingly well. Oddly enough, after the installation, I had a little trouble getting the StyleCatcher plug-in to work, but that's solved now.

StyleCatcher (btw) is a very cool plug-in feature (comes with v3.35 installation) that allows you to browse a truckload of different styles .. and change the entire style of your blog .. with a single click. (Told ya it was cool.)

Most of the styles suk, but all are better than what I could do on my own .. and some are pretty snazzy.

••••• today's entry continues below •••••

The style (theme) you're viewing now is called Beckett (if I haven't changed it already). I've also tried one called Mr. Brown. I'd like to widen it a little. The style closest to that of the old blog is called Black and Bright .. but I just wasn't feelin' it.

The style that won their big contest (Grand Prize Winner) is called The Late Show, which I like, except for the popcorn.

I kinda like Relaxation, too. But it's a little bright (white) for my eyes. Raw could work for me, too. RedCurve is another favorite. I really dig Dark Hash, too. Might change to that.

What happened to WordPress? -or- Why did you install Movable Type instead of WordPress?

You may recall a week-or-two ago, I mentioned thinking of installing WordPress blogging software (uh, I mean, semantic personal publishing platform). Well, I spent the time between then and now researching WordPress, and decided it wasn't for me .. (at least, not yet).

What's interesting is that I *wanted* to install WordPress, cuz I feel it has an advantage in the COOL factor (being open source, and the hot new rage) .. and I love cool.

If you're a regular, you know how enthusiastically I suggest people install a Linux distro on their system (to play with), along with other open source software. But I just couldn't bring myself to convert. I'll tell you why.

First, I posted a dozen-or-so questions at the WordPress forums, and the responses I received were, uh, vague. I'd characterize them as less-than-helpful (not very user-friendly), even flippant at times. What if I really had a problem?

By contrast, the folks at the Movable Type forums have been remarkably helpful. Of course, I'm basing most of my opinion on experiences I had there years ago, when I *first* installed (and configured) Movable Type (May, 2003). Might not be so active, friendly & helpful now.

EDIT - After using the MT forums more lately, I wouldn't say they were bad, but definitely not as helpful as I recall. I think many of the more knowledgable folks joined MT's Professional Network. Can't blame them for trying to parlay their skills with the software into some broccoli.

Looks like I might actually have to read the manual (6-MB PDF, 120 pages). Plus there's always the book > Hacking Movable Type. But I really think 6A should designate some resources to the forums, even if no revenue is received from there, directly.
Another key deciding factor was an article I read about the WordPress user interface interface not being up to snuff. See > HERE. (Note how that guy also started using Movable Type in May 2003, like me.) I like a snazzy-looking blog, but the user interface is where a blogger spends 99% of his time (composing entries). So a 'professional' UI is important to me.

Another key factor is documentation. The Movable Type documentation is simply far superior to what you get with WordPress (as you might expect with an Open Source project). Check them out for yourself. MT's (professional-looking) manuals are > HERE. There are also cool sites such as LearningMovableType. The WordPress "codex" is > HERE.

Lastly, I read this article, which said WordPress had dicey security & "will be difficult to ensure forward-compliant code." If you search for Movable Type in the NVD, you'llfind few entries.

I should add, in all fairness, I have not tried WordPress (yet). From my research, it seems the software is still early in its developmental phase, and I'd rather spend my time blogging than updating. As you know, I'm reluctant to upgrade my blogging software. I could see with WordPress, I'd have to get used to upgrading.

Movable Type, on the other hand, seems to be in the refining and perfecting stage. Now there was a time I enjoyed playing with the latest software. But these days, I seem to gravitate toward more-mature, stable products.

Along these lines, I should note that my current installation of MT is rock-solid stable. I've been using it for years without a single crash or problem. It works.

The more I use this new v3.35, the more I feel like I made the right decision. This doesn't mean I won't install & use WordPress in the future. It just means I don't feel it's my best option right now.

As a side note, one of the major negatives you hear about Movable Type (compared to WordPress) is that it's difficult to install. But I didn't have any problems. The software launched properly my first try. Took maybe an hour, following the installation guide (520-KB 39-page PDF). But now that I'm familiar with the process, I bet I could do it in 20 minutes.

Here's a quote from 6A regarding MT 3.35:
The new feature is a dramatically improved installation process. Now, when new users install Movable Type and access it for the first time, the Movable Type Setup Wizard will help them configure the platform on their web server. It asks them a few questions and then takes care of the rest. It makes installing Movable Type downright tolerable!

Looks like I decided to upgrade at a good time. This installation was much easier than what I remember with v.2.63.

Another thing worth noting is (before you even install the software) MT has you run script (mt-check.cgi) which CHECKS YOUR SYSTEM, to make sure your server has everything you need to run Movable Type. See page 13 of the Installation Guide (520-KB, 39-page PDF). Pretty slick when it tells you your server is good to go. (No guesswork involved.)

Again, some day I will install WordPress and see what everybody is raving about. And then I'll be able to speak with more authority on the subject. For now, I can only say why I didn't install it.

It's worth noting here, before leaving this topic, that, altho Movable Type might not be Open Source software, it is FREE (for personal use). Definitely something worth considering.

On the 6A home page, they say the following about MT > The best choice for business blogging. Note that Six Apart uses the same User Manual for both both Movable Type and their Enterprise version, so I'd guess they're fairly similar.

••• Other tidbits regarding the MT 3.35 installation •••

On a different note .. originally, I installed this blog to the site's *root* (radified.com). Didn't plan it that way. The old blog (v2.63) ran (runs) off the subdomain > blog.radified.com. For v3.35, I had created a similar subdomain > blogs.radified.com (simply added an 's' to the word blog).

But during the install, I didn't see where to configure this setting, and when was all done, I noticed the blog installed itself (so to speak) to the root directory. I have since changed this (on 21.April) to subdomain previously mentioned > blogs.radified.com.

Still need to do a good deal of tweaking to configure the blog the way I like, but all the hard part is done (installation). Actually, it went rather smoothly.

A few surprises:

1. I've learned that Six Apart now allows *unlimited* blogs .. even for the (free) Personal use license. See entry HERE, for August 25, 2005, titled > Movable Type 3.2! .. near the bottom of that entry, where it says:

Unlimited blogs for everyone. MT 3.2 now offers unlimited weblogs for all licenses, including the personal free edition.

You won't however, find this information spelled out quite so clearly on the MT site. My eyebrows raised when I noticed the link to Create New Weblog on the MT System Overview page. The freebie used to allow only ONE BLOG with a max of 3 authors.

The Wikipedia entry for Movable Type says this:

With the release of Movable Type 3.2, the ability to create an unlimited number of weblogs at all licensing levels was restored. In Movable Type 3.3, it is completely free for personal users.

2. Movable Type also offers (beginning with v3.1) dynamic, PHP-based publishing, similar to the method WordPress uses.

Movable Type has traditionally been based on a static file system, which means you have to *rebuild* your files following changes. Dynamic publishing creates new files on-the-fly.

Each method has its own set of pro's & con's. Dynamic publishing (PHP) uses more server resources, which could be a problem with larger sites.

Static pages take time to rebuild (this page takes ~3 or 4 seconds from the time I click the 'Save' button .. all 360 pages at the old blog would take ~ 30 secs, during the 'Net's less-busy times), hence pages such as this > How to Speed Up Publishing in Movable Type.

Anyway, I might have to try out MT's new, dynamic PHP-based publishing .. but I'd want to do another new installation, so as not to screw up the beautiful thing I have now.

3. This version makes it easy to control the URL (look-n-see), which is good for search engines. My old version could do it, too, but you had to jump thru (too many) hoops. This version makes it a snap. (They call that SEO > search engine optimization.)

I have downloaded new versions of Movable Type several times over the years, but never actually installed them .. until now.

There's a whole bunch of cool, new stuff I need to learn how to use.

One last thing, for this installation, I created a new MySQL database (even tho I had some old, unused ones laying around), which seemed to go okay .. especially since I had problems last time I did this with Lunarpages web hosting.

PS - I wrote most of this late at night, so you must forgive me it it seems disheveled (like me).

PSS - On the old blog, I had disabled the commenting system, due to massive problems with spam (p0rn, gambling, casinos). On this blog, I had originally not activated the commenting system (for same reason), but may try opening that up .. since this version is supposed to have a more robust anti-spam system. Might also try installing the Comment Challenge plug-in.

On the topic of UPGRADES, I'd also like to say, I have no qualms about upgrading MT if I only had a dozen or two entries (to risk losing).

It's when I have *hundreds* of posts/entries (the old Rad blog has 360) that I get squeamish. The risk/reward structure for upgrading an old installation suks when you have hundreds of entries, which is the same advice given here > A Safe Way to Upgrade to MT 3.3.

That's why I didn't "upgrade" the forums (with more than 3,000 threads, containing over 25K posts).

In fact, I hope Six Apart releases an upgrade to 3.35 fairly soon, so I can see what it's like to upgrade the software (and gain that experience), without risking very many posts. No doubt an upgrade to v3.36 would be easier & simpler than to 3.40.

Update - Byrne says the beta for v4.0 will likely be out before summer. 4.0? Gotta admit, that's a cool release number, if you enjoy a good grade point average (GPA).

I find it interesting I just-so-happened to (not planned) move to a new/upgraded blogging platform after (exactly) 360 entries at the old blog .. cuz 360 represents the number of degrees in a (full, perfect) circle. In other words, my blogging has come full circle. (Or maybe it's just a coincidence.)

Also interesting (to me, anyway) that the FINAL blog entry there was mail titled > Touched by your PorscheBago! (entry #360) .. perhaps a sign that I'm leaving that part of my life behind (for good). 

Rad out. Peace.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query > "movable type" moveabletype installation upgrade wordpress blogging


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Comments (21)

Well Rad, you may have changed me. I have WP installed as my blog (not really a published one) and am now looking to convert. I'll download it and give it a test run to see if I like it better than WP.

I will keep you updated.


You would be in a perfect place, then, to compare and contrast. I'd be intereste to hear your views.

Already started.

Nothing on the MT blog yet, but configuration was a snap. Just had to tweak a few settings on the cgi file settings (chmod) and I was good to go. I plan on playing with the templates and such tonight.

Existing blog: http://blog.lotgod.com

New MT blog:

I'll update you when I've tweaked the MT blog a bit more.


be sure to chmod stylecatcher.cgi to 755.

in stylecatcher config, make sure *both* paths (path + url) point to static directory *outside* cgi-bin.

for styles, browser these two places:




One thing I'm seeing with the new commenting system is that - even tho I currently have it configured to allow anyone to post withOUT my review/approval - the system *still* makes me approve a comment that contains a URL.

That's cool, since most spam comes with a URL.

I *think* that's how it works, anyway, since I had to 'approve' my own comment.

I receive an email that says, "click here to approve this comment".


You probably saw the pop-up on your last comment, which said:

"If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting..."

.. or words to that effect .. due to the links.

I hate not being able to *edit* (my comments) tho.

UPDATE - You *can* edit comments .. both yours and those of commenters .. in the blog's admin interface.


Gonna have to start spell-cheking my posts, tho:



You obviously got StyleCatcher figured out. =)

I liked that style, too. It's one of my top 5 favorites.

Figured out how to export from WP to MT today! Nice little php call, paste to a text file, and viola!

I'm curious how you truncated your first entry with the #more at the bottom. I'd like to do the same on a large post I have, so the viewer doesn't have to scan through the whole entry to get to the bottom.


Importing is always slick .. when it works.

The #more part comes up when you click the link "Continue reading..." link on the blog's 'home' page.

In the MT admin page, where you compose your entry, you have 2 windows (actually 3).

One is labeled "entry body" .. the other "extended entry"

Extended entry becomes #more.

Got it! I had to turn on extended editor from the display options.

This thing is slick!

I'm hoping to incorporate the "lightbox" photo feature I had with WP. Its nice to be able to open a picture on top of the post so the reader doesn't navigate away from the page.

Got Lightbox to work with MT. It was previously used for WP, but I managed to port it over somewhat. Click on the any of the pics here to see what I am talking about: http://www.lotgod.com/2007/04/2000up_jeep_tj_wac_oba_install.html#more

If your interested, shoot me an email and I'll give you the install steps.


Wow. That is very cool, especially the way it opens (not just a simple pop-up). Drool.

You've had the prgm 1 day, and already you're ahead of me. (And I've been using it 4 years now.)

Never even heard of lightbox.

Is it an MT plug-in? Or did you 'massage' it into MT from WP? You must have 'skillz'.

I must have it for my new blog.

I have the bug (playing dad) next few days, so will be busy, but send me the goods (so I can have a cool blog, too).

Did you install /configure LDAP? I didn't (to make things simple).. but if it adds cool features, I would.

I read a little about it on www ala google search, but couldn't determine if i wanted/needed.

I don't think LDAP is something you would benefit from. From what I know of it, LDAP, or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, is a method of querying a Windows Domain for user access and privileges. I think in both of our cases, since we host our Blogs on a webserver, and not a business network, LDAP is not a viable option. Our setup lacks the domain structure that LDAP pulls its queries from.

If your blog were setup on a corporate network that users viewed from the outside, LDAP could control specific rights for authors, viewers, etc. I'll check it out a bit more and let you know.

I see you've done some house cleaning! Looks good so far. It seems your much better off at .css manipulation than I am. I tired to change mine to auto adjust depending on browser windows, but it just keeps hanging the banner. I also see you got your Google ads coded in!

As for the lightbox that you were talking about, directions have been posted to my blog. Feel free to check it out, and leave a comment if you need help getting it running.


Yeah, I know a little CSS & HTML .. enough to get in trouble.

None of the pre-made templates make me happy. Every one of them has something I don't like. But it takes so long to code up a style .. so I'm just using a pre-made one right now.

I changed the publishing location from the site's root directory (radified.com) to the subdomain I originally planned upon (blogs.radified.com).

I will leave you a comment .. to test that aspect of your site.

I'd like to read thru the MT User Manual (120 pages).

http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/docs/Movable_Type_User_and_Administration_Manual.pdf (6-MB)

Update - Here's the note I got on your site after commenting:

Thank you for commenting.
Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.

Your blog looks sharp.


I've also incorporated del.icio.us and DIGG, so users can "social" bookmark pages. It never helps to get hits (bows to the master of web traffic)

I got confused when I saw your site...thought it was mine.

Concerning the Google Ads...you should also code them into the Main Index template, since that's where users land first.


Okay, I copied your design.

hehe "Who's blog am I at?" =)

How did you get your menu over on the left hand side? Mine's on the right. I like your way better.

Ahh...I did that last night...pretty late, so it took me a few tries.

This link helped:

I had an extra in there, and I couldn't figure out where the heck it came from. Finally got it around 1:30am...

If your in a helping mood, see if you can make the width of the blog expand to fit the entire page (Like your index2.html)


Thanks for the link.

I'm there now. I see how it could be easy to grab an extra div tag.

At the very end of the page (main index), .. after "powered by", and before /body, I see 8 div closing tags.

Can you tell me HOW MANY of those (closing div tags) do I grab when I move?

From what I can see (counting opening & closing tags), it looks like you grab the first 3 (leaving the last 5). Altho, from the example given at the site, it would seem you grab 4.

[I'm glad you did this first. =D ]

Update .. looks like "4" was the right answer. I used their example.

Regarding the size, I'm trying to figure out how to do that now. They are using a FIXED-WIDTH .. somewhere around (roughly) 760-to-800 pixels. So if I can find that value, I change it to a percent value (100% would be the entire screen). It would be listed near the top, since it affects the very beginning of the page.

I also changed the 'HOVER' color from white ("FFF") to the orange they use: "FF9933"


Think I found the WIDTH tags.

In CSS file, look under where it says:

min-width: 780px;
color: #ccc;
background: #343f4a url(body-bg.gif) repeat-x;

width: 780px;
background: url(container-bg.gif) repeat-y;

*** and ***

/* two-column-left tweaks */

.layout-two-column-left #container-inner { background: none; }
.layout-two-column-left #alpha { width: 200px; }
.layout-two-column-left #beta
width: 500px;
margin: 20px 0 0 20px;

200 + 500 + 20 + 20 (for margins) .. looks close to what I'm seeing. If you change those number to % values (roughly equaling 200/740 and 500/740), you should widen to max. Cut it down a little to give yourself extra border room to play with.

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