An ode to Movable Type

I was sad to see last night that Six Apart has been bought out by VideoEgg forming a new company called Say Media.

I started using Six Apart‘s then-signature product, Movable Type, in mid 2003. It was the only option at the time if you wanted to host your own blog, on your own server, on your own terms — and by that I mean with complete control over its design templates, the look and feel of the site.

Yes, Blogger was around, and so was something called Grey Matter, but those were web-based and no-fuss, with templates (what would later come to be known as “themes”) that you couldn’t modify — not back then, at least. And what’s the fun in “no fuss”?

I loved that MT gave me the option to fool around endlessly with Slice and delve into the templates and codes (that’s an early version of Slice above, from 2004). I loved seeing something another blog or website was doing and then trying to replicate it on Slice (and, eventually, by 2005, with A Hamburger Today). It really let me exercise a part of my brain I hadn’t really used that much until then, and I would stay up hours and hours into the morning, tinkering with this or that. I enjoyed that aspect of blogging as much as the writing aspect of it. It’s something I really missed after Serious Eats acquired Slice and AHT.

Yes, eventually I moved over to WordPress for my personal blog after MT’s templating became so nested and confusing that I could no longer figure out what was going on, but I have always had a tech crush on the platform.

I wish all my friends and acquaintances at Six Apart the best of luck with their transition and hope to continue working with them on Serious Eats and its subsites, all if which are on an enterprise version of the CMS.

2 thoughts on “An ode to Movable Type

  1. I tried using MT a few times when I was with MLive and never did like it. But looking at your timeline here it looks like it was the same time you weren’t liking it either. Now I don’t feel so bad. 🙂

    • Slice and AHT have always been on MT and are on it to this day (along with SE), so I’ve never really stopped using it. I didn’t really have a personal blog until, oh, 2007 or so. Until then, Slice was sort of my outlet and was probably much more personal in certain ways than it is now. But when I decided I wanted a place to blather about non-food stuff, I tried MT4. It was clear that by this point, Six Apart was gearing it toward “enterprise” users — the big media companies that could afford to hire developers to wade through how all the parts fit together. I had resisted WordPress out of loyalty to my friends who did MT development and who worked at 6A, but eventually I went with WP. I just wanted to blog and say things and not have to monkey with templates — not to the extent I had to do with MT4. I find WP satisfies my need to tinker with blog widgets and my desire for control over how the thing looks, but it’s not such a huge time suck that I find it’s 4 in the morning before I’ve gotten it to do what I want it to do.

      I still haven’t gotten used to a lot of what WP does or how it works — not in the way I did with earlier builds of MT. I have no idea how to code PHP. But I find that I can usually discover where something is and find answers online to help me tweak things just enough.

Comments are closed.