Sticking with Movable Type

Movable Type is a static publishing system. That's unique among blog tools. When you publish an article under Movable Type the system writes a static HTML page to disk. Visitors get served that static page. There is no whirring or grinding by scripts or databases. Most other blog packages are dynamic publishing systems that build the page on-the-fly from stored data.

I prefer a static publishing system to a dynamic one because it is a significantly lighter load on the server. Our server is pretty low powered. It would run out of steam very quickly if I published significant dynamic content. My server has been slashdotted before, and it survived just fine. I fear the server might crater under the load if I used a dynamic publishing system .

Movable Type works well as a small, self-contained tool. The software tool approach is an increasingly unfashionable, but still valuable, concept. The idea is that a program does one thing well, and can be used as a building block to construct larger applications. I can do this with Movable Type. It is well suited to building functions, say a sidebar blog, into a larger site.

A lot of people don't like the software tool approach. They prefer complex, monolithic systems that provide all the capabilities they want—an integrated, all-in-one groupware environment. Of course, one rarely finds all the capabilities one wants in the monolithic package, and so it's usually a compromise. You don't get all the functions you wanted. Or, you get a lot of functions implemented in a less-than-optimal fashion.

A software tool such as Movable Type won't solve all your publishing problems. It just does one thing. This is an excellent approach if you are willing to assemble or build pieces to get a complete system.

I like that Movable Type easily supports multiple instances. I only need one installation to power a number of blogs.

I like that Movable Type has a scrutable programming API. For instance, when I wanted to upgrade the spam protection in the Movable Type system I didn't have to modify the guts. I created a plug-in.

Those are the reasons why I like Movable Type. This isn't to say that a blog package that doesn't meet these criteria is bad. The Word Press blog system, for instance, is an anti-Movable Type. I don't think it's well suited for my needs, but it's a very appealing package. If somebody wanted a standalone, complete blogging solution, I'd encourage them to investigate that.

Although I'm very happy with Movable Type right now, I'm a little concerned about the future. A new release is being prepared for release. The comment system will be one of the most significantly changed functions, and I'm not sure I'm going to be happy with all the changes. I'm afraid I will lose the one-click "delete this spam" function that MT-Blacklist gives me. I don't want to force registration for comments, and I hope that's not the only option given to me to fight comment spam.

I plan to keep watching out for what's available, but for now I don't anticipate switching to a different blog system.