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In Praise of Moveable Type

November 08, 2002

Ben and Mena Trott, you created something wonderful.

Moveable Type celebrated its first birthday recently, and it amazes me what an incredible publishing system these two fine people have built.

initial impressions

The initial setup was a breeze for someone like me who doesn’t know perl. When confronted with any non–typical behaviour, a quick check of the well–written documentation took care of all my problems. Total installation time couldn’t have run over an hour, due in no small part to the pre–programmed install packages that automate the process.

Customization was a dream. Thanks to the W3C standard–compliant code that MT produces, fitting the content into my design was as easy as styling a few classes.

The daily use is uncomplicated and elegant. A couple of clicks, and I can compose my post. A futher click or two, and I have published. The further options built into the well–designed interface provide complete web–based control over my site’s content. While I could use a combination of hand–coded html and an FTP program to maintain my site, MT offers a much more efficient way to do it. Why re–invent the wheel each new post?

Moveable Type is simple enough that anyone with a basic grasp of the web is able to maintain a dynamic site, but it’s flexible enough to allow those who work on the web daily to create something much more complicated and fine–tuned. I’ve tried Blogger, I’ve run LiveJournal, but both rely on external servers to process the posts. The former isn’t even worth embedding into a custom–designed site due to all comments pages using a common LJ–branded template.

caveat, if you could call it that

While thriving in the domain of the blogger, I suspect anyone wishing to run a multiple page site where the priority is less on day–to–day postings will have trouble using MT. Great at archiving based on date, I see limitations in the archiving and display of more permanent information. I have much more to learn about this wonderful system though, so it’s possible there are configuration options that allow a more flexible archival format. Either way, it’s completely free for non–commercial use, so it’s not something I’ll complain about at length.

My education continues, and I’m sure newly discovered virtues will be extolled here.

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