Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Review: Movable Type 3.3


Movable Type 3.3 vs. WordPress 2.0.4
I can do a wild guess on why Movable Type is loosing popularity as compared to WordPress.
  • Movable Type is slightly harder to install for me, as it involves CGI, Perl and Permission Setting (the newer generations are more familiar with PHP, and PHP is more straightforward and require less configuration and setup)
  • Movable Type administrative menu look slightly more cluttered and old styled (harder to find what I need instantly), while WordPress is clearer and easy to pickup.
I guess it is all about the entry barrier and learning curve, where WordPress excel at both.

Yes, Moveable Type should be more powerful once you get it up and running. You could actually administrate a few blogs using one installation. And by default, they generate static blog pages upon publishing (faster page serving, yet require republishing every time there is an update, somehow like Blogger). Semi-dynamic page serving is available as well upon some tweaking.

Both depends heavily on plugins for some extra or popular features, and the number of options out there for both are sufficient, yet the quality of these plugins maybe of question.

A review on Blogging Tool WordPress is not ready for Prime Time.

Movable Type
  1. Is a decent blogging tool
  2. Should have a minimalist theme (the default is)
  3. Support categorization
  4. Support Pretty URL by default
  5. Support Hassle Free Commenting
  6. Had CAPTCHA plugins, but they are unsatisfactory in a certain sense
Captcha
Captcha is the name of a CAPTCHA plugin, which require the Authen::Captcha Perl module to be installed, but my web hosting company doesn’t have it, and won’t install it for me.

SCode
SCode looks pretty promising at 1st, then I notice a few annoying inconveniences. When you fail you CAPTCHA test, it won’t tell you that you failed you test, but rather prompt up some generic error instead.

I decide to dwell into the code of this plugin though I know nuts about CGI and Perl. I come to the conclusion that it’s a case of laziness or due to inferior Movable Type API. When SCode verification tests fail, it returns fail to notify Movable Type of failure. The problem is, it doesn’t send an error message over, or it doesn’t have a way to sent an error message over (thus a generic error message is display instead). I check the source code of a few other verification modules to see how they handle the output of error messages. Somehow, there don’t seem to be a proper way. Some guy just uses the Log API and output the error messages and exit, but it doesn’t look elegant nor have a link to go back to previous page.

“Too many comments have been submitted from you in a short period of time. Please try again in a short while.” This message surely doesn’t seems helpful in telling the users he or she had failed her CAPTCHA test, and they might start wondering about something else or get frustrated. I just cannot accept this.

Another glitch seems to happen when you navigate back and forth too much, and the CAPTCHA verification doesn’t seems to work in certain instances.

Comment Challenge
Found another plugin which is not exactly image verification, but it does help to fight bot spam. The idea is quite interesting. You can type in a question, and write an answer for it. If the users can answer the question matching your answer, then it is a pass. The weird thing is, they only allow you to have a set of question and answer. Having an option to support 10 sets at least is more like it.

Anyway, the plugin works pretty well (functioning well, doesn’t means it is a good choice), and show a custom error page with no back link upon verification failure. But somehow I just didn’t feel good and didn’t use it either.

Conclusion

WordPress is easier to setup and easy to use, and looks good.

Movable Type is harder to setup (unless you are familiar with CGI and Perl), but seems to be more powerful and professional looking.

Both have tons of plugins and themes, yet I question their quality and usability. Somehow it might seem difficult for these plugins to keep up with the releases. They should package more plugins as the default package and test them well before releasing a new version.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

how u used both before? frankly any serious blogger wud ditch wordpress after taking movable type out for a drive

i wudn't touch wordpress with a ten feet pole.

comparing the interface - wordpress is definately more clutterred and unorganised. mt is sleek and a pleasure to use

wordpress is frustrating dude.

d_luaz said...

I am just speaking out of experience while trying my 1st hands on with WordPress, I didn't go deep though.

WordPress is easier to get started, and the look is not bad either, but MT is definitely more professional looking.