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Posted on Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Dave!In my earliest days of blogging (back before it was even called "blogging") there wasn't any software to help you out. My first blog, "DaveWorld," was entirely coded by hand. Any time I wanted to add something, I'd have to manually edit the HTML code. This was a cumbersome process that was way too much work, so the blog died a slow death and was eventually deleted. My second effort, "DaveBlog," was created on the Blogger platform. This made things easier... but writing was still a chore. And customizing the look of your blog in any meaningful way was nigh impossible.

Then the husband and wife team of Ben & Mena Trott came up with Movable Type and everything changed.

With Movable Type, all the technical crap required to run a blog vanished. Third-party blogging tools like "Kung-Log" made writing a breeze. And since everything ran on templates using a dead-simple coding language, customizing your blog was a piece of cake.

Blogography was born, and I have Movable Type to thank for it.

Eventually Movable Type was sold. An Open Source version was released (and powers my blog to this day), but the focus of the platform was steered towards "professional" and "enterprise" environments, so development of the "free personal" version stagnated. An effort to create an independent version (called "Melody") died. Third-party support dried up.

Movable Type as a viable platform for small bloggers like was coming to an end.

And now the Open Source version is being suspended.

In order for me to keep using a supported version of Movable Type, I would have to purchase a 5-user "Pro" license for $600.

Well fuck that.

So now I am forced into something I should have done a long time ago... changing blogging platforms. I toyed with the idea of switching to Ghost, which looks to be coming along brilliantly, but my only real choice is the 10-ton gorilla of personal blogging: WordPress.

Which is not easy.

My webhosting company, Media Temple, doesn't allow software processes to last long enough to export all my data. So I have to hire a third-party to convert my entries and comments.

And, of course all my templates will have to be converted. The cost to hire somebody for the work is outrageous, so I'm having to do it myself. It's not rocket-science, but it's slow-going. Very slow-going. Everything I learned when building DaveCafe on WordPress has long-since been forgotten. And so I'm starting from scratch.

And so there goes my weekend. But the blog must go on.

Yay.

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Comments

  1. NYCWD says:

    I feel your pain my friend. Having used Expression Engine for my orange blog, it pained me to have to put a bullet in its proverbial PHP after it ran amuck.

    While I do have the databases and all the files with the intention of doing the same conversion myself… well… it’s not going nearly as easily as I thought.

    I wish you the best in making this switch over.

  2. Catherine says:

    I clicked on ‘Ghost’ and it looks pretty sleek. How come you decided against that one? Does WP do heavier lifting, or…? Just curious.

    • Dave2 says:

      I have three days to make this happen. I may have forgotten a lot of what I learned about WordPress, but it will eventually come back to me. I know absolutely nothing about Ghost. And since it’s still pretty new, I don’t know if there are any problems yet. But who knows? Eventually it might be worth another switch!

  3. Connie says:

    Thanks for making the effort. Your readers appreciate it.

  4. When I was deciding what platform to move to I also looked at Ghost. Looked really slick and I was going to give it a whirl but it’s a node.js app and my hosting provider wouldn’t install node. So that promptly put the breaks on that plan.

    To be honest since I moved to WordPress from MT I’ve been very very happy with it. Having a living breathing community of developers with every single plugin you can think of is like a breath of fresh air.

  5. James Bow says:

    I look forward to hearing how it goes. Keep us posted.

    The one thing that turns me off WordPress is the fact that it appears to be a strictly one-blog-per-installation program. I realize this is probably how most people use this, but I got kind of dependent on the ability of Movable Type to create multiple blogs within the same installation, or even the same directory of an installation. This customization allowed me to automate some more advanced features on some of my websites.

    So, it’s a shame you’re not trying out Ghost. It would have been interesting to see if it allowed similar customization.

    I do have to ask, have you tried Movable Type Japan (http://movabletype.jp/)? They still offer free individual licences for both the most recent version of 5.2 and for 6.0, and I’ve been able to update my software that way. That should keep my installation current for a little while longer, at least.

    • Interesting that Movable Type Japan are still offering licenses for personal use. I wish I’d known that prior to my own switch from MT to WordPress a few weeks back. Still, as a user of MT for many many years I must say that weeks into my switch to WP I’m pretty happy overall.

      • Dave2 says:

        Don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT to love about Movable Type. Especially the template language, which is a massive upgrade from the crazy crap you have to deal with in WordPress. But once I get my site migrated, figure out the templates, and am up-and-running on WordPress, I don’t expect to have any regrets. I have really loved using it for DaveCafe over the years.

    • Dave2 says:

      WordPress has had multiple blogs (which they call “a network”) since 3.0, and it works flawlessly (I’m running two blogs off my DaveCafe installation). It’s not too difficult to set up… basically just adding “WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE, true” to your wp-config, then configuring the multi-blogs from the Dashboard.

      Ghost is just too new. Maybe after it’s been around for a while I will take another look. I certainly love the features enough to re-visit it! The problem is that it could disappear tomorrow, and I don’t want to have to go through another Movable Type scenario where I’m running unsupported in a community that’s almost non-existent.

      I have -zero- interest in applying another band-aid to Movable Type so I can limp along into an uncertain future. The Japan spin-off is a mystery to me, and I have no clue whether their license will eventually be retracted or what. But the biggest problem for me is the minimal 3rd party support for MT. I can get a plug-in for just about ANYTHING with WordPress… everything I use for MT is badly outdated and no longer supported, and new stuff is rare. I’m just too exited about moving to a thriving community for blogging tools again… MT hasn’t had that in a very long time. :-(

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