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Software

Using MovableType? 55

Posted by Cliff
from the experimenting-with-new-technologies dept.
piecewise asks: "Everyone seems to be using a Webblog these days and I'm interested in getting my company into it in a big way. We have three web servers and use Akamai to keep the website cached and happy. How many Slashdot readers are webloggers? Have you used MovableType, on a large scale? Are there any security issues? Security's very important. Is there a solution to the 'cache problem'? In other words, as people input messages, might the data running across the net become out-of-sync? Thanks for any thoughts/experiences."
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Using MovableType?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    get your company a private sid [slashdot.org] and let the subscribers cover the bills !
  • by MountainLogic (92466) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @03:11PM (#6409342) Homepage
    Moveable type is very cool. It really has helped make printing workable. I recomend it highly over wood cuts or hand lettering (caligraphy is very nice but just too slow for the fast pace of the modern office)
  • by Tumbleweed (3706)
    My biggest problem with MT is the default templates are full of really crappy css code, and I've not yet been able to get a custom template to actually _work_. Other than that, it's good stuff, though the reports about their 'funky RSS' are rather troubling.

    I'm looking forward to new features in MT Pro. I'm hoping they'll have a registration system and polls included, but we'll just have to wait and see.
    • the reports about their 'funky RSS' are rather troubling.

      Don't worry, it's just Dave Winer throwing a hissy fit. The 'funky' parts of the MovableType feeds are just a few extra tags from the Dublin Core specification, which Dave doesn't want sullying his RSS spec. He's the only one who seems to have problems with the additions (I haven't heard of an aggregator that breaks on MT feeds, for example).

    • Custom templates work just fine. This [molotovgraphics.com] is a friend of mine's blog - check out the portfolio, which is entirely MT powered (in addition to the main site). Pretty nifty!
      • I'm not saying they don't work - I'm just saying I've had massive troubles GETTING them to work. When one cuts and pastes MT code straight from a working default template into a nice and clean XHTML/CSS file and it just doesn't do anything useful, that's a little irritating. :)
    • I've actually had great luck in customizing movable type templates fairly easily. Being new to CSS, I'm still getting the hang of it, but if you don't like the central templates, just dump them all, strip out the div tags, and start from scratch. I did that with the one I'm testing and it works just fine.

      As far as the 'funky RSS'... I've not done almost anything at all with that.

      nems

      • > if you don't like the central templates, just dump them all, strip out the div tags, and start from scratch. I did that with the one I'm testing and it works just fine.

        That's what I did, as there's no way in hell I'm going to try to FIX that crap they call CSS in their default templates. I made a very nice XHTML/CSS template and tried putting in the MT tags, but the problem is, it still doesn't work. I'll get it figured out eventually, but I'm taking a break from it for awhile. :)
  • by Mensa Babe (675349) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @03:18PM (#6409395) Homepage Journal
    Since Slashdot is probably the largest weblog on planet Earth I would say that maybe... all of them?
    • If you consider it that way. However I'd consider a 'blogger to be someone who has their own weblog, usually about themselves and their own lives. You could possibly include those users with journals as bloggers, but not most of the regular, read-the-article (or at least the writeup)-and-comment users.
  • by hrbrmstr (324215) * on Thursday July 10, 2003 @03:25PM (#6409446) Homepage Journal
    While you're asking specifically about MovableType, I have to ask "what are the requiremens" first. Before you decice on any piece of software you first need to define what you're trying to accomplish. You mave have done this, but your post doesn't really suggest that it was a thorough investigation.

    Do your servers meet the requirements of the weblog s/w? Do you need it to integrate with your existing AAA security services? Do you have perl expertise on staff or is there more familiarty with PHP? What type of usage pattern is expected? Is this for Intranet or Internet use (the post suggests Internet...scary business letting employees post a weblog to the Net).

    There are lots of weblog s/w choices. Providing more input will help folks provide an assessment for you.
    • I would agree with the above post. Take a step back, and rather than deciding which weblog to use, ask yourself if a weblog is what you really need.

      A general-purpose open source CMS, such as WebGUI [plainblack.com] - check out the demo [plainblack.com], it's nice - can be used as a weblog, but you can also provide the ability for certain people to create new pages, drop widgets on these pages (calendars, discussion forums, versioned document repositories, tables from databases, etc). Depending on what your needs are, you may find a weblog
  • Weblogging is something people do for all sorts of reasons, but I can't imagine doing it as part of work because I have to. I am not even sure if that is what you plan. I more think down the line that you want to offer weblogs for users as a sort of application service provider. Is this true? If so you will have to look at more than one system. There will never be one system that fulfills all requirements for the different weblogs. Same as there will never be one car that is useful for everything .. or a
    • Good point. As with many Ask Slashdot questions, this one jumps ahead to a possible solution without really describing the problem. Perhaps he's thinking in terms of enabling users with no HTML knowledge to share information. If so, there are better solutions. For example, Wikis [wiki.org] are easy to use and trivial to administer. Though it sounds like Piecewise is looking for something more sophisticated.
    • Movable Type works quite well with PostgreSQL.
      I currently run MT on OpenBSD with PostgreSQL, setup was painless and the performance is great.
      If Akamai decently handles changes in static HTML you should have no problems.
      For a buisness setting Zope with Plone might be a better idea, It's workflow controls would probably be a necessity.
      • Update to my previous post:
        In the MT Features [movabletype.org] page they say that PostgreSQL and Oracle support is in the works and in the install documentation [movabletype.org] they give directions for installing with PostgreSQL (DBD::Pg), it looks like they are still working on Oracle support.
        Since they appear to be using the perl database abstraction libraries adding support for another database should just be a matter of translating the database schema used at install time to whatever database you want to use, installing it, and telli
  • by metamatic (202216) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @03:35PM (#6409519) Homepage Journal
    If security and worldwide replication are your core requirements, you ought to be using something that fulfils the requirements, such as IBM Lotus Domino.

    (Implementing a weblog in Domino is pretty trivial. I've done it for myself.)

    As it is, it sounds like you've found a Golden Hammer--you already know you want to use it as the solution, you just need to work out how to get it to fulfil those pesky requirements...

    ((Disclaimer: I work for IBM.))
    • (Implementing a weblog in Domino is pretty trivial. I've done it for myself.)
      Hacking simple web apps in Domino is trivial, all right. But administering a Domino-based web site is anything but!
    • If you work for IBM, can you tell me why Lotus originally chose the name "Domino"?

      I don't know about you, but the word "domino" brings to mind things that fall down, and cause other things to fall with them - the "domino effect".

      As far as product names go, that choice has always mystified me. There's a bus company in the UK called "Impact" and that's always made me laugh a bit as well given the fact that road accidents involving busses are quite common.

      When I was in Japan, I was asked if I wanted a cup o
  • by SandSpider (60727) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @03:35PM (#6409524) Homepage Journal
    It really depends on what the purpose of the weblog is, what you expect to convey, how you need to display it, etc. Since you've provided us with few indications of what you're thinking (other than a large number of users), it's hard to say for sure.

    From a geek standpoint, one of the best weblogging programs that I've used is blosxom [raelity.org]. It's by Rael Dornfest, who edited the Google Hacks [amazon.com] book, among others. I use it for my web sites, and it's a very simple, powerful, and flexible tool. Depending on how you need to use it, this may be a good way to go.


    I have not used Moveable Type, so I can't comment on that. But I've had good experiences with blosxom.


    =Brian

  • by Korgan (101803) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @03:37PM (#6409531) Homepage
    I used MovableType until recently for my own personal website. Both as a blog and as the engine to power the news of the website.

    The advantage to MT is that it can store the info in one of 3 different databases (including a local file if you don't have SQL of some sort) and the only time the Perl application is accessed is when you're either adding a new entry to the blog or when someone is posting a comment. Everything is generated as HTML so when a user views the page, they're not calling any scripts. Keeps overheads down and allows for bigger sites on smaller servers.

    Caching I found an issue. The HTML is static. So I quite often had to manually tell Squid to refresh the site if it was getting updated lots and I wanted to see those updates.

    Multiple authors per blog is useful. Its pretty decent as far as permission system goes. I dislike the fact that a user can make certain changes (such as altering where on the file system their blog gets created) but this can be turned off simply enough with only minor loss of functionality to the end user themself. Then again, what they don't know they could've had, they won't miss. :-)

    Security isn't so bad. You can use HTTP authentication to stop the users getting in to the directory with the Perl app and then their username/passwd to access the prog itself. This gets complicated if you want to permit comments. However, Security concerns are few and far between. 2.64 takes care of all known bugs and when bugs are announced, a patch is pretty quickly released.

    Remember, the average Joe doesn't need to even get near the Perl application if you disable comments. All they get is straight HTML.

    People complain about the CSS and so on. I haven't had a problem with this myself. I found it pretty simple to modify the entire look and feel. The template structure is pretty straight forward and expandable. Adding something like a WAP .wml file template was very simple.

    Hunt around, there are a heap of plugins for it. Including plugins that allow you to use WikiWord formatting and more.

    While it was of use to me, it suited my purposes very well. Its very quick and scalable. I had about 30 blogs plus a news page running from the single install on a P200. Because the Joe is getting HTML and not running the Perl scripts to generate it every view, it doesn't need a major box.
    • What do I use now?
      When more and more friends started wanting blogs and then more of their friends started wanting blogs, I wanted something that I could use for a whole lot more than just personal blogs. I also wanted to have the option to put subscription fees on it (when things started getting expensive to host) and that was a live and ongoing project.

      So now I use the LiveJournal code. Its Perl (will run on nearly every platform from IIS to Apache to iPlanet to....) and SQL backed. Its scalable (like you
  • by coj (20757) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @03:48PM (#6409602) Homepage
    AFAIK, MT always requires that the web server have write access to the area where MT is installed. The only safe way to deal with this is to run the MT cgis under a suexec wrapper, so they execute as your user. Otherwise, you have to make the files world-writeable, which is a terrible, terrible idea. I've seen many posts on MT forums telling people to do a chmod 777 -- don't listen to them!
    • Now, is this requirement because MT modifies its own template files, or is this because the actual blog entries are stored in text files?
      I don't like any sort of content management system that requires me to change the underlying file permissions of my web server, especially since my blogs are on hosting providers with 80 other users sites.
      Would it be too slow for these template preferences to be hashed into databases and then cached as session variables?
      Having to change file system perms is like having
      • MoveableType generates static pages for you, so the actual blog entries are stored as HTML pages.

        If you've got suexec working you don't need to meddle with file permissions, otherwise it is indeed necessary to do so.
      • MT stores articles and comments in the back-end database. So if that is MySQL, the code needs the username/password of a DB user. If it's Berkeley DB files, it needs write access to them. It also needs write access to the HTML files because it generates them from the DB when you rebuild an entry. I see no reason why any of these files need to be mode 777. Just r/w to the httpd user, or to an appropriate role account if you use suexec.

        Here's the output of

        ls -al

        on the HTML directory of one of my blogs. T

    • I'm not an expert on Apache, but here's my experience.

      The Apache installation that comes with Debian, BY DEFAULT runs any script in ~jsmith/public_html/cgi-bin as user jsmith. Whether this is suexec or cgiwrap I don't know - like so much of Debian, it Just Works (TM).

      So back when I was using Movable Type, I created a user named mt and put all the cgi in mt's cgi-bin. Only the mt user needed write permissions here. Then I added the line "Alias / /home/mt/public_html" to httpd.conf.

      This meant that all t
  • You may also want to checkout Greymatter [noahgrey.com]... it has some cool features and is open source as well. I've seen some nice sites that use it.
    • Open source my ass.

      Noncommercial. The licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work. In return, licensees may not use the work for commercial purposes -- unless they get the licensor's permission.
    • [Greymatter...]

      is open source as well.

      Their website makes this claim, but I do not believe it is true. They apparently changed the license for the software from something else to a Creative Commons license. The Open Source Initiative does not list the CC licenses on their approved license list (hence, Greymatter is not "open source") and CC licenses are not intended for software [creativecommons.org].

      Until Greymatter chooses a Free Software license [gnu.org], I recommend steering clear of Greymatter. The Free Software movement st

  • Large scale example (Score:3, Informative)

    by darkpurpleblob (180550) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:42PM (#6410022)
    About.com is an example large scale site using Moveable Type [sixapart.com].
  • by slackbp (450197) on Thursday July 10, 2003 @04:42PM (#6410026)

    Are you sure MT is what you really want? I'll bet a wiki would be a better choice; we just installed one here at work and we're going crazy-go-nuts with it. We've installed PhpWiki [sourceforge.net], but Twiki [twiki.org] looks useful, too.

    The "home" of wiki is at http://c2.com/cgi/wiki [c2.com], and the main book on the subject of wikis, The Wiki Way, has a companion website with downloadable code at http://wiki.org/ [wiki.org].

    Briefly, a wiki is a website that allows one to create and edit web pages without having to mess with accounts and permissions--just type in one's text into an edit box, click "submit", and it's up and running. We use it as a knowledge base, and I'm going to use it to record billable events and notes.

    "The simplest possible database that could possibly work"--Ward Cunningham

  • by pr00f (457508)
    After looking around at numerous [we]blogs and having my own hosted at LiveJournal, I decided not to go with a pre--packaged solution. Instead I wrote my own. Using PHP and two MySQL tables I've created what I consider a pretty robust blog. It lacks some of the administrative stuff at the moment, but it presents the reader with a uniform and obvious interface.

    Writing your own blog isn't super-difficult if you have experience with PHP and MySQL. I found it to be a really fun project. Highly recommend going
  • Movable Type does not scale. 'rebuilding' the site consumes huge resources; luckily, this makes static sites which causes very little load for accessing the site.. but the rebuilding feature does not work too well on 'shared hosting servers'.

    It should be fine, however, if you rebuild the site locally and then rsync it to the server.. this would require a bit more effort.

    If you're running it on your own co-located or dedicated server then you shouldn't need to worry.
  • Movable Type is non-free software and I suggest you avoid it entirely. Both of Movable Type's licenses (their personal non-commercial license [movabletype.org] and their commercial license [movabletype.org] prohibit distributing the software without written consent. There is also language that tries to restrict what you can do with the software (even though U.S. copyright law doesn't allow placing terms on merely executing the software) and claims agreement to its terms under a click-through agreement (which are not valid everywhere) or by

  • It's been said a couple of times here all ready that you should make sure you're using the most appropriate tool for the job (a good philosphy in general). If you wanna check out some of the open-source CMS (Content Management Systems) out there to see what suits you best, you can visit OpenSourceCMS [opensourcecms.com] it has live demos of various CMS solutions that you can get a feel for--you can even log in as an admin and check out its admin interface. These are all free, but they're also all php/mysql based. I don't kn

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