Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Giving up on Movable Type?

There's a lot of angst in the Movable Type world right now over the release of MT version 3, which adds no significant new features except for a mildly controversial (although optional) comment key system -- you can configure an MT3 weblog to use a central key registry, so commenters have to register to leave comments, but only have to register once to use all of the approximately ten billion MT-based weblogs out there. The angst is MT's new licensing system, which remains free for many users -- but requires payment if you have more than one author for your weblog, or run more than three weblogs off the same MT installation. Some people who were running non-commercial multiuser installations would be expected to pay upwards of $600 (!) to be in compliance if they upgraded.

But I don't fall into that category, so this has nothing to do with that.

For about a year I've been running an experiment -- I switched to MT because it allowed a lot more flexibility in the design of my home page with the journal. I was also curious to see what kind of comments it could draw outside the LiveJournal "world."

In certain ways, it's been successful. As near as I can tell, Google doesn't index LiveJournal, but it does index my MT weblog. That's neat. And Coyote Cartography's design is pretty damn spiffy, if I do say so myself; I don't know that it can't be duplicated within LJ's style system, but I think it'd be really difficult. And I have MT set to do a few subtle nice things, like convert my entries to use smart quotes and em-dashes.

But in addition to the annoyance value of having the cross-posting patch that I wrote (which copies entries from MT to LJ) stop functioning, there have been other irritations. Nearly all the comments that get posted on Coyote Cartography's MT incarnation are comment spam, a particularly vile incarnation of the form. (If junk email is analogous to junk mail, albeit increasingly sneaky and slimy in packaging, comment spam is the equivalent of someone spray-painting graffiti on your wall.)

LiveJournal takes deserved knocks for having 9 out of 10 journals be stupid quiz results alternating with "My life sucks OMG OMG OMG!!!" messages from angst-ridden teens, and some of its technology is well behind that of other weblogs. But the combination of its friendlist management, community and interest searching, and just frigging huge user base makes it pretty much unbeatable for weblogs which really are journals. I was strongly considering moonfires's suggestion of switching to the lj-crosspost plugin -- it does some things my hack doesn't (although I think the reverse might also be true), but the truth is that other than being an excuse to delve into a little Perl and serious CSS magic, MT doesn't really do much for Coyote Cartography.

I'm increasingly considering doing what I'd done before I discovered Movable Type: simply taking advantage of LiveJournal's ability to be embedded in another page, and creating a special style that will follow Coyote Cartography's look as much as possible. Or, just creating that style for my main LJ page and having a redirect from my web page. Or... something. (If you haven't looked at , give it a look -- it's pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself.) There are some things I'll likely lose in the transition, but we'll see.

Barking at the Moon will stay on Movable Type for now, though. It's more of a true weblog, where MT's tools like trackbacks and bookmarklets come into their own -- and there, I'm using the eminently cool Markdown text formatter (something I'd love to bring into a LJ client, since I doubt LJ will add it to their back end!).

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