Fri, Sep
27
2002

The Advantages of Movable Type

Fri, Sep 27, 2002

This changeover has taken two days of solid tinkering, and isn’t done yet. Please bear with me as I still have to import my old blog entries, and clean up this template. Nobody said this was going to be easy, but it may prove rewarding…

As you can see, I’m switching to Moveable Type to house the various blogs on clarksbury.com. This Blog goes first and, once done, I’ll move on to Vivid (cue maniacal laughter). I’m not in a snit over Blogger.com as I will continue to recommend this service to anybody starting their first blogs, but Moveable Type offers several advantages. There are, however, some pitfalls, which I will share for you here.

If you don’t know how to tinker with HTML and Perl script, and you just want to set up a Blog and go, sign up with Blogger. However, if you want more control over your website, Movable Type is a good program to use. Movable Type offers a number of features for free that Blogger requires you to pay for, including titles for your posts. It also offers some things that Blogger doesn’t yet do, such as the ability to hide text from initial viewing and the ability to sort your post into categories for easier viewing and indexing. You can also look back at individual posts, rather than slogging through lengthy monthly archives.

And, yes, switching this blog over to Movable Type jumps me a few points closer to the position of Alpha Geek around my blogging friends. Look at me! I can Perl!

Thanks to Todd Turnbull for putting me onto Movable Type, by the way. He’ll always be my Geek superior when it comes to these things.

But the biggest reason I switched is this: Movable Type resides on my server. Blogger sits somewhere on the web and changes the files on your server. Under Movable Type, my ability to post rises and falls with clarksbury.com alone, not clarksbury.com and Blogger.com. Comments are hosted locally as well. So, I’ve cut down on the number of independent servers that have a say in the running of my blog. This makes my blogging more reliable, and the page should load up a little faster, as well.

But there are pitfalls. My biggest complaint with Movable Type is their instructions which, while informative, don’t tell me everything I need to know. I should have been told up front that installing Movable Type on a Windows NT server would require work requests to be sent to my webhost to change the permission of a handful of directories (UNIX servers don’t have this problem). Also, the tweaking of the perl script can be cumbersome and frustrating, and some of the instructions weren’t clear on precisely what I was supposed to do. But, as you see, I’m now up and running. Is it worth the effort? I’d say it is.

So, look for some more changes to this website as I clean up the mess I created switching over. But it’s all in a good cause. Thank you for your patience.


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