Why Movable Type is no longer king of the bloggers

Six Apart released a beta of Movable Type 4 today. As I’ve installed just about every blogging/CMS tool out there (and Movable Type was one of the first ones I ever used), I figured I’d give it a shot. Unfortunately, a mere 90 seconds after attempting the install, I’ve decided MT will never again be the top dog in the blogging tool world, for one simple reason:

It’s too much work to install.

WordPress (my current tool of choice) has schooled Moveable Type on this for years now. In WordPress, you

  1. download a WordPress archive
  2. copy it to your web host
  3. set up a database
  4. edit a text file of database connection info (username, password, location)
  5. visit a web page

For Movable Type, on the other hand, you

  1. download a Movable Type archive
  2. copy it to your web host
  3. set up a database
  4. visit a web page
  5. copy files from where they told you to put it to a different location and reload the web page
  6. figure out which missing database module you should install
  7. visit that module’s web page, figure out how to install it

At this point, I gave up on Movable Type. In the time it took for me to get this far with MT, I would already have a basic WordPress system running, probably with a few extra plugins, and a new theme to boot.

This isn’t about lack of knowledge, of course. I know I can just drop to the command-line and do

$ cpan
cpan> install DBD::mysql

But I shouldn’t have to. There’s no reason the folks over at Six Apart couldn’t ask a few intelligent questions (“Which database do you use?”, for a start) and download the modules directly, or, even better, distribute the packages they need as part of the Movable Type package.

I haven’t needed to use CPAN in a long time, and firing up CPAN required me to do an install Bundle::CPAN to get the basics installed on my system, which in turn required the install of a whole lot of other dependencies. And, there’s no guarantee that after all that, I’ll be able to install DBD::mysql anyway: who knows what requirements that module has that I can’t satisfy?

I suspect some of this may be the benefit of using PHP for WordPress rather than Perl for Movable Type. PHP has database modules built in: no need to download additional pieces to get basic functionality.

Perl is getting rather long in the tooth, and almost no one is creating any high-profile projects using it. I stopped using Perl about five years go, in favor of PHP, even though I once had a rather torrid love affair with Perl, back in the early 90s. (I was self-taught and Perl allowed me to do some interesting things for big advertising agencies.)

I’ll probably end up getting Movable Type 4 installed on one of my systems, if only for the challenge of doing it, and to see how it works these days (I gave up on Movable Type about two years ago, after finding WordPress and getting tired of the rebuild cycle Movable Type forced on me).

If I do, I’ll report back on the exact process I had to go through to get things running. One thing’s for sure: it’s not going to beat WordPress’s “Famous 5 Minute Installation”.

Technorati Tags: , ,