from Blogger or Greymatter to MT January 14, 2002 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I've seen very little commentary on the web about using Moveable Type, other than people who use it generically saying that they like it. Has anyone here moved from Blogger or Greymatter, and can you comment on what aspects you like,miss, or wish were better fleshed out? I think that there are a lot of us that aren't ready to roll our own PHP that could use some input.
posted by machaus to General Weblog-Related at 11:24 AM (26 comments total)

The template system of MT is a lot more like Blogger, but with the functionality of GM. In versions 1 and 2 of Mt, there were a couple of things missing, but v1.4 has pretty much everything you could ever want from a CMS to blog on.
posted by dogmatic at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2002

I think it's great. There's nothing I miss (coming from Blogger), and there's a lot I'm very happy with - comments, categories, email notification, overall flexibility. The interface is very nice as well. I'm still learning up on a lot of the features, but I'm enjoying that whole process. The only drawback I can see is a potentially steep learning curve for many Blogger users. Mostly, this is only an issue during installation and formatting of templates etc. I would recommend installing it and setting up a test blog to familiarize yourself with all of the MT tags.
posted by D at 12:23 PM on January 14, 2002

I've seen lots of stuff written about it, but can't think of any URLs off-hand.

I like it a lot, it's more powerful than blogger, works a lot like greymatter, and once you set it up, you can create almost anything imagineable with it (flexible templates, flexible archiving options, etc).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:27 PM on January 14, 2002

how hard is it to move from blogger to greymatter? would I be able to keep my blogger entries? I'm pretty familiar with setting up scripts and perl and what-not if thats of any relevance.
posted by mcsweetie at 12:27 PM on January 14, 2002

I don't know about gm, but you can import all your blogger posts into mt.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:46 PM on January 14, 2002

our own walrus has an essay on Designing for Movable Type, and fooljay has developed an MT search engine (not accessible right now b/c he recently moved his site to new servers (I hope he forgives me for linking here)).

I use MT myself, and like it a lot.
posted by mattpfeff at 12:47 PM on January 14, 2002

I've used all three and I love 'em all, but MT most. Then I saw that thread about pmachine and I'm all confused ...
posted by walrus at 12:48 PM on January 14, 2002

I don't mind, mattpref (hehe), but yeah the damn site is down right now (or at least parts of it). Annoying as hell is what it is...

And yes, I love MT. If you install it, make sure to check out the support boards and my own Tooltalk section for lots of great tips.

Note though that many tips and tricks that you'll read don't pertain to the latest version, although some certainly do. The best way to figure out which is which is to install and play for a while. Then read the tips/tricks/hacks/mods. You'll be able to figure out whether something was made irrelevant by the latest version.
posted by fooljay at 1:38 PM on January 14, 2002

Haven't tried this, but it sounds promising.
posted by elvissinatra at 2:23 PM on January 14, 2002

Greymatter seemed "simpler" for adding new articles. I have several people writing to the one site and they wished I would have sticked to Greymatter (A little intimadated by the interface of MT). Personally, I think for normal users MT could have a scaled down mode similiar to MeFi's "Post a Link."

Besides that, my suggestion is unless you need some more advanced features because your blog is reaching large levels stick with GM.
posted by geoff. at 2:25 PM on January 14, 2002

I was going to roll my own CMS with PHP, but when MT was released all was A-OK.

I used Blogger but found I'd rather have all the goods on my own server, in case something goes south. I had worked a wee bit with Greymatter but, frankly I knew that Mena and Ben would put together something cool, and tried it out. I love MT.

It offers a great number of features I enjoy, including easy comment control. It has features I barely use but do appreciate, like the RSS feed, photo upload feature, and the calendar feature (seen in action at Mena's A Day Late).

I was able to bring the content from big fat blog over from Blogger very, very easily - you edit your Blogger template and export, and you're pretty much done. I had a couple of hundred entries, and all came over undamaged and fully incorporated.

If you have a bit of familiarity with backend goods, I think MT could ultimately serve you better than Blogger. But, as always, it depends on your circumstances. The fact that I just dropped development on a homegrown CMS for MT should hold some value.
posted by hijinx at 3:35 PM on January 14, 2002

I used Blogger from September 2000 to February 2001. I used Greymatter from February 2001 to October 2001. I'm using Movable Type right now.

Now, I'm not programming inclined at all. I want things to be easy to set up, and straight forward in presentation. I am not a technophobe, though. I love playing with settings and I'm not afraid to CHMOD my files or put the right line of code in all of those cgi files and whatever.

So, I'm more advanced than your average internet user, but a complete novice in comparison to what I think MeFi and MeTa users generally are.

Having said that, I left Blogger because I didn't want to have to rely on someone else's servers when I wanted to post. I wanted to know who to yell at if I couldn't post...because it means my site isn't up if I can't get to my login page for Greymatter or Movable Type.

I wanted more functionality than the templates in Blogger. I wanted comments and email notification built in. I wanted adding pictures to be easier.

So I went to Greymatter. I loved Greymatter.

The main reason I left was because at the time, there was no clear group of people who wanted to continue developing Greymatter as it was clear Noah Grey no longer had any interest in doing so. I always want to be on top of technology...even if I don't understand it. I figured if I stayed with Greymatter much longer, it would be too hard for me to switch to another system, and I would miss out on the features that were being developed with other systems.
I also found the time function to be completely wrong all of the time, even when my server/web host promised that their clocks were synchronized to the proper time. Also, I found that there were too many templates that I didn't know what to do with. I didn't need the header, footer, side, and all of the other things.

I moved to Movable Type. It was easy to install, imported my old Blogger and Greymatter posts, and when I came across problems, Mena and Ben were PHENOMENAL with forum and email replies.
I find the templates easier to understand, the interface is cleaner, and as far as I know, the backend is also cleaner.

And those are my thoughts.
posted by jacobw at 4:46 PM on January 14, 2002

Greymatter seemed "simpler" for adding new articles. I have several people writing to the one site and they wished I would have sticked to Greymatter (A little intimadated by the interface of MT). Personally, I think for normal users MT could have a scaled down mode similiar to MeFi's "Post a Link."

How much easier could it get?

If you use the bookmarklet, you simply click the button on the explorer bar, type, select the blog from the dropdown (or don't if you only have one), select release from the status dropdown and hit submit.

If you're not using the bookmarklet, you go to the MT main screen (which logs you in automatically if the cookie is set), and click on New Entry. Type, select release from the status dropdown and hit submit

Ba. Da. Bing??

The two biggest reasons I switched are 1) Ben and Mena who give GREAT customer support are actually developing MT (as opposed to Greymatter, which I believed at the time was not being supported or developed although Noah has corrected this notion recently on MeTa, after all was said and done for me) and who have coded a very solid CMS, 2) Multiple blogs, one interface/install
posted by fooljay at 5:18 PM on January 14, 2002

Praise the Lord for preserving at least a little bit of my engineering talent. The MT-Search section of my site is finally back up...
posted by fooljay at 5:50 PM on January 14, 2002

fooljay, mine isn't used as a web log with links (if there is any other kind) so the bookmarklets wouldn't do any good. I don't think it's hard but my other 3 authors have commented on how Greymatter was "easier" and they had an easier time doing what they wanted to do, which was quickly and simply submitting an article. The learning curve for MT seemed rather quick and they didn't have any trouble per se, they just didn't like the icons on the left (you have to admit they are pretty vague) and forgetting to press "submit" as opposed to "save."

Minor issues really but something to take into account if you have anyone using the system who is not past the "e-mail/IM" stage. MT is much easier for me to configure files and templates than Greymatter, which is why I decided to stick with MT.
posted by geoff. at 6:48 PM on January 14, 2002

Thanks for the comments, here, folks. I've been wondering about this myself.

No more to add.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:51 PM on January 14, 2002

thank y'all, matt and riffola!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:31 PM on January 14, 2002

yes, many thanks. I'm going to setup a multi-page blog with MT, but the only thing I'll have to suck up is the fact that the formatting shortcuts on new entries won't work on Mac browsers. This is outweighed for me by the single instance/multiple blogs/multiple authors model.
posted by machaus at 7:07 AM on January 15, 2002

How is MT on something that *isn't* a blog? I do a journal -- longish entries, one entry per page. I've set it up in Greymatter, which I love, but I agree with the others above in regard to development. There are others working on Greymatter now, but I believe they're basically modifying Noah's core.

One feature MT has is that you can " hold" an entry 'till it's ready for publication. I *really* could have used that feature in December.

In any event, I'm considering making the switch -- if anyone's using it for a journal, rather than blog, I'd love to hear about it! :)
posted by metrocake at 10:55 AM on January 15, 2002

Metrocake: I use it for longish, single-page posts and it works like a charm. I had no complaints with Greymatter, but MT lured me away with its interface and various bells & whistles (changing dates on posts, synching up with a text editor, email notifications, pop-up comment windows, ability to access any number of logs from one page, etc.). Drop me a line if you want some more info on setting it up for a journal-type site.
posted by jga at 2:06 PM on January 15, 2002

Has anyone set up a photoblog with MT, and have any template advice they're willing to share? I've switched two (text) blogs over to it, and now I've got some pics I'm itching to post on a separate blog. Damn multiple-blog disorder.
posted by D at 3:12 PM on January 15, 2002

MT is a template-driven content management system, not "weblog software" per se. I run, or have run four different "blogs" with MT. Two are what would be considered weblogs (stuff about externally linked stuff), one is an announcement page (similar to the front page of, another is a journal.

The point of a content management system is that it doesn't matter what the content is.

And as far as the bookmarklet, I use it regularly for my journal because it's the easiest way to get an entry into MT (the least number of steps). Sure, it puts a link to whatever page I'm on when I hit it, but there's nothing stopping you from deleting that and writing whatever you want.

Geoff, if your friends are confounded by MT's interface, tell them to use the bookmarklet.

Photoblogs: I know a few people who have set up photoblogs with MT, the first who comes to mind is Dawn from
posted by fooljay at 3:43 PM on January 15, 2002

Not much to add except my endorsement of MT and the ease I've found in 1) importing two years of Blogger entries; 2) rebuilding the whole system after my server melted; 3) managing multiple blogs (9) in one system.

I will say, though, that spending an hour on the MT support boards (linked above) before installing (and setting up templates) will greatly help any later frustrations. Ben and Mena have done a phenomenal job and haven't slowed down yet.
posted by rosecrans at 11:49 AM on January 16, 2002

since none of the browser based weblog management tools seem to support formatting shortcuts in Mac browsers, does anyone know of a client side utility that offers entry formatting and posting through the blogger API, AND also works on OS9?
posted by machaus at 12:38 PM on January 16, 2002

I've never used blogger much (I have an account, somewhere...). I used gm for a few months, and really liked it: if there was support for multiple blogs and the templates were easier to update (I never really got the hang of them), I'd still be using it.

My main reason for using mt is because it does everything I want it to, and it's easy to use.
posted by eoz at 12:40 AM on January 18, 2002

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