Movable Type Review

November 11th, 2003

I, like many people are new to the blogging experience. In addition I look at applications that accomplish what I need done with a high degree of flexibility. One of the many application I have look into using was Movable Type. During the installation of Movable Type the obvious thing to recognize was the need to run this application in a CGI executable directory or CGI bin with Perl support. This was done with ease on my set up however some hosting services do not allow this capability because of the need for security and efficiency. Also the flexibility to place this application indifferent places on a website can be greatly complicated for the average web programmer. The configuration however is very well documented and straight forward. Once this application is unzipped and/or uploaded a getting started how to is provided in the web directory of the application as index.HTML. This web page link to a documents page which will guide you through the entire setup of the application. This application is entirely written in Perl and provides many option during and setup and also once the application is up and running. These options include support for many different kinds of databases including flat text file databases, which can be useful on system where a SQL database is not available. Also support for mail services such as sendmail. Once installed and up and running, you must first log in a one of the developers which listed in the install documentation. After logging in as the admin you can addusers, setup templates, add blogs, and manipulate the existing blog to get a feel for how the application operates. One draw back found with this application is the lack of dynamic content insertion. With some other blogging application which operation using PHP, a web developer can insert a PHP tag into an existing website essentially inserting the blog information into the website. This content then becomes dynamic which mean the static pages never need to be change when information is posted to the blog. In Movable Type a less dramatic approach is used to update pages with new content. In Movable Type all information is entered into the blog management interface then once in place the postings are published which essentially writes out a new static web which includes the content and template. This in my opinion is a less elegant approach to inserting updated content of a blog however in the end does achieve the same end user effect. With a few small drawback Moveable Type excel as a blog management application which allows control of several blog though one interface where as many PHP counterparts only allow one or a couple blogs to be run on one site and very little support for multiple users. In the end Movable Type is a very easy application to install with the proper server configuration and blog management is first rate. Room for improvement can be found in the lack of support for dynamic pages and move from the old Perl and CGI standard to a more modern language such as PHP.



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