The Internet Cognoscenti – what are you up to?


Well, as I’ve said before I have recently returned to the fold and started re-investigating the ‘net.

After several weeks of looking, trying, learning, being confused and experiencing sudden enlightenment (!), I have come to these conclusions about the way the well-informed, net savvy person is using their Internet!

Firstly, you have your own domain name. Preferably a “vanity” one that is immediately identifiable! Smith.com has more cache than albertsmith.com and far more than albertFsmith.net! At the very least, this allows you to have a persistent email address despite changing ISPs over time. Make sure you have bought a 5 or 9 year lease on the name. Quite possibly you have also bought domains for your family, relatives, and acquaintances.
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Up and Running


Well, both platforms installed and up and running.

Initial Impression:

Both look good from the “readers? perspective ‘out of the box’. The generic style is acceptable and utilitarian, but that is of limited importance in the long run – I plan to install custom themes anyway.

The access to the administration section is interesting.WHY didn’t movable type place a link to it on the default template? It is a PAIN in the a$$ to have to type in yourblog.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt.cgi! I am sure in the long run that would be second nature but – not what I would call user friendly for the newbie. In WordPress there is a direct link in the sidebar. Both protected by passwords of course – and I appreciate the facility to email the password to the default address if you forget your password.

WordPress admin area:

Drops you straight onto the dashboard with recent information from wordpress.org. A simple horizontal menu leads to other areas like composition, management of old posts and new comments; customization areas for options, themes and styles as well as the expected gamut of options for customising permalinks, notification areas etc. It seems intuitive and straightforward.

Movable Type admin area:

Personally, I don’t find it as intuitive. To be fair, probably because it is potentially able to manage multiple blogs rather than just one like WordPress. I tried out the WordPress one first, so that may have biased me by its relative simplicity, but the MT just seemed more bloated, requiring passage through too many menus to get where I wanted.

At this point – for me – WP is winning based on ease of use and abilities.

Installing Movable Type


I must admit some trepidation to installing movable type. Especially as the official site seems to warn that it’s difficult and may be worthwhile paying someone else to install it for you! However – thought I would give it a go – there are really quite comprehensive instructions on the site, as well as “simplified? instructions elsewhere.

In the end, I found the official installation instructions comprehensive and complete. In fact – possibly more straightforward than the “simplified? version.

Uploading the platform via ftp was time consuming (20 minutes or so) and I had to be careful with Binary versus ASCII file types, but over all no real problems.

I ran the initial script once the upload was complete, and this confirmed that I had the requisite components on the server.

I also had to set up the MySql database – name – password – which was easy from C-panel – although I wasn’t aware that C-panel would append a prefix of my user name to my chosen database name. Important to notice or Movable type can’t find the database!I then edited the config file to point to the correct database, password etc.

The installation script was then run and that set up the tables etc. for Movable type. This part was essentially transparent.

From there it was a matter of logging in, changing the password, adding my email address for notifications and posting!

Overall – more complex to install than WordPress but do-able. As I already mentioned, it is not as if I will be continually installing it, so ease of installation is of marginal importance when comparing the two; as long as its installable.

The short list:


Well no surprises:- It’s between Movable type and WordPress.

The next step is a trial installation and a try out of their features. I guess ease of installation is NOT a major point – as long as I can get ‘em installed. It is not as if I will be installing them on a regular basis!

My current hosting service has a good range of facilities – including .htaccess and mod_rewrite’s as well as most pearl modules, MySql and PHP. No Image::Magick pearl module for Movable Type, but it does have NetPBM modules to allow thumb-nailing. Overall I think I have all the pre-requisites.

So here goes. Stay tuned for the next installment 🙂

Checking out the options – Blog / CMS Platforms


I have been haunting a great site on the web – Open Source CMS .

It gives you the chance to try demo’s of many different CMS platforms – including blog specific and image management systems.

The demos include full administration access, so you can try out all the different engines from both a user and administrators view. I believe this is invaluable!

They reset the entire system every 2 hours, so nothing persists – understandably – and it also stops people from permanently destroying the access for others.

So far, I have had a long look at:

Mambo – a good looking interface but not overly intuitive. Seems to be a very complex/ complete system with easy (?) integration of other components – forums for example. I feel possibly better suited for a commercial site rather that a personal blog/site but over all very impressive. Just too complicated.

PHPNuke – A common CMS as far as I am aware, but their are a lot of comments regarding security of the system.. Possibly because it is so common – easy target. The interface is ok but – again- not overly intuitive in my opinion. AND I HATE an official site that pops-up a window advertising ringtones! Interestingly, this OPENSOURCE CMS – charges for the most recent release – confused!

PostNuke – Another PHP type CMS that I THINK evolved from PHPNuke. Less security issues. Slow to run and I get the impression that the support for it has dwindled over the years. Ok from the admin point of view but far from intuitive. I gather that themes are not easy to come by unless you want to pay for ’em. Not really a blog tool. Permalinks and trackbacks / pings seem unsupported as well. Not for me.

Xoops – Not a good sign when the main developer is apologising for not being around…… Not particularly for me.

WordPress – Essentially ‘touted’ as a Blogging tool but I suspect there is more too it. Has an active user base and support forums as well as a massive Wikki. I am surprised at some of the people who are using it on the web. Why surprised – well it is free for a start! The interface is clean and intuitive. Not surprisingly, it has excellent comment control/configuration with RSS trackbacks and pings as well. I was pleased to see that it is easily set up for other pages rather than like blogspot with a single main page and archives. Hundreds of themes – all free as far as I can see and a handy in-line theme changer. Will put this toward the top of my list to try.

Movable Type – A commercial blogging platform with a free non-commercial single user license. I am looking at it simply because it seems so commonly used (commercially at least) and I see quite a lot of sights using it – eg Geek News Central. As far as I am aware, MT’s parent company – Six Apart – established the Trackback protocol, so this platform is certainly up there. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any demo’s for Mt so will probably have to do my own install and check it out. Worryingly, the company offers a PAID installation service for its customers as apparently many people have a problem installing it 😦 . Even so, it seems so prevalent, it must be worth a look.

This site gives you the option to compare various features between platforms. Also worth a look.

That’s all for tonight! More later – wish me luck!