How It Is

Looking Back at MovableType

MovableType still feels very early 2000s.

For the first time in years, I looked at Movable Type.

I walked away, like so many people, in May of 2004 when the restrictions and pay requirements were too much. I’d played with b2 before and WordPress, but that was when I fully moved to WordPress. While I’d remembered that the Open Source version had been fully restored in version 3.3, I forgot that when they released v6 in 2016, they ‘terminated’ the Open Source licensing option. Again.

In doing normal research of things, I ended up on, and was struck by how modern and out of date the site felt.

The site isn’t mobile friendly. Or at least not iPad friendly. It does this peculiar zoom in where the content is focused but it still has a sidebar. This means flicking down to read can causes my screen to wobble side to side as well. The zoom also didn’t work consistently, making me have to fix it over and over.

That said, it has a much nicer design and layout than I expected. front page

I have to say, that’s a much more modern front page than and less cartoony than the current pages. The same can’t be said of navigation, which was a little confusing. If you don’t know you have to purchase to download, seeing the Software License section without clarification is weird. That should be even more obvious, I think. I shouldn’t have to click on “Release Notes” and then see Install MT on the sidebar.

Once I ended up in the documentation, I poked around and had a laugh at the software requirements.

PHP 5.0 or higher (5.3 or higher is recommended)

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The rest of the install direcrions are incredible weird and hands on. It has none of the simplicity I’ve come used to with WordPress. And please remember, I think that WordPress is far too complex for a new user, still, because WP’s NUX sucks. MT’s is worse.

What interested me the most is that, while you can’t get MT for less than $900, they have a public GitHub repo available.

Still, I didn’t install it. Instead I read the documentation to see what using it would look like, and was rather startling to read the author page on creating entries and see an interface that looked old.

MT's post editor looks like WP 2.x

It reminded me of WP 2.5. Which I guess is understandable since the documentation on how to import from WP to MT is very old. No, I’m serious, it has screenshots of what looks like WP 2.5 as their documentaion.

While I still think that MT lost out big time when they decided to separate from the Open Source community, their product doesn’t draw me in. It doesn’t look fun or nice to use, and that’s probably a reason it’s not as popular as it could be. The GitHub page has 22 contributors. WordPress 4.5, led by my coworker and friend Mike, had 298. Even the official, but not really used like that, WP GitHub repo has over 30 contributors.

I wonder how the web would have looked if Six Apart had never made the license changes.

I wonder would power 26% of the Internet in that world.