Wordpress logoWhen I decided to try a weblog so many years ago, I had no idea where to start or what to do. I started out with a couple of years on a no name system before falling in love with Movable Type in 2004.

Movable Type became my CMS and was solid. It appeared to be superior in development and features compared to its rivals. They later changed their business plan and charged for their blogging system. I think the community was offended and I noticed less support and praise. Suddenly, out of nowhere, comes open source platform WordPress.

WordPress had a quite a buzz. When I first tried it out in versions 1.5, I was impressed. However, with all the upgrade and plug-in problems, I decided it wasn’t worth it for me to switch from Movable Type. I was happy with what I had, knowing I had a growing problem.

To end a long story with a short ending, I integrated Movable Type’s lackluster commenting system with the power behind phpBB. This served me wonderfully until my web host decided to screw me over a few years ago and shut down. Setting Movable Type back up and reintegrating it was a nightmare; it was an ongoing mess.

Fast forward: Movable Type 4.1 released itself as open source, WordPress 2.5 was released. As I’m a huge fan of Happy Cog and their products, I knew 2.5 would be an amazing update to WordPress’ admin system. Indeed, it was enough. MT 4.1 was an amazing update, but its anemic community and lack of interest was enough to drive me away. Not permanently, however.

Jump over for some additional commentary.

I won’t review both as they have been reviewed extensively on many sites. Here’s a few reviews:

So no, I’m not getting into it. I’ll just go over a few things that bug me about both.

  1. Installation – The fact that Movable Type requires you to use the cgi-bin is a negative. According to Movable Type’s quick start installation guide, I can’t keep all my MT files in a root MT folder? Pathetic! Sometimes, as is NOT clearly stated, the cgi-bin is not in the root of the public_html folder! What do I do then? There’s no clearly stated alternative?Wordpress needs your mySQL info. No muss, no fuss. Although the installation could still be streamlined (why don’t they tap directly into mySQL?), WordPress is easier.
  2. Multiple Blogs – Sorry WordPress users, you must upload two completely separate folders of unique wordpress systems. Movable Type has this functionality.
  3. Code Design – Two things:
    1. Movable Type has a built in text editor that’s easy to use, functions like you would be working in Textmate, Coda or Dreamweaver. SCORE!
    2. WordPress reformats your code spacing in posts or pages after publishing. Waaaah! I like my source formatting! Fix this
  4. Permalinks – After some buggy implementations, WordPress finally has this totally right. Set it how you want, you’re done. Easy to setup, nothing to think about. Hey Movable Type, I have no idea if you even have this functionality? Bogus.
  5. Publishing – When I’m done with this story, publishing takes all of 5 seconds. In Movable Type, it’s a 15 to 20 second wait! Sorry, this is just poor functionality.
  6. Community – Movable Type has lost many faithful users. The few who stick around, where’s the excitement? Who’s editing the site for more in depth instructions on how to install or upgrade MT 4.1? Should I just assume that plugins that work with 4.0 also work with 4.1? Your wiki and forums contain very little useful and organized information for the end user.Wordpress has very active forums, very active updating to their site content, and extensive installation and upgrade instructions. Thank you, WordPress community.
  7. Plugins – Movable Type, you’re more mature and have more features out of the box. Good job. But where are your plugins and themes? WordPress KILLS you on this!

Movable Type is great for new installations only and if your cgi-bin is in the root of your account. If you’re using legacy Movable Type, don’t bother upgrading. It’ll be a huge headache. Export your data, install WordPress, import, and be merry. No more headaches!

WordPress is still quite immature as a blogging platform as it requires some plugins just to function as well as Movable Type. There’s also a bunch of great blogging/CMS systems including Expression Engine, Textpattern, and Symphony. Otherwise, WordPress has all the momentum. Simple as that.