I’ve been using Movable Type on my blogs for quite a long time.
In Avarthrel website, I decided to use Drupal. Drupal has its own small problems, like the relatively funky learning curve (you just can’t get it until you actually try to do things with it), and some technical funninesses, but overall, it’s got a very commendable philosophy of near-infinite extensibility. I’ve rambled about the Drupal in Avarthrel Blogs on two occasions (first, second).
And now I’m wondering if I should use Drupal as a blogware too. It’s not exactly as rosy as I think it is, though.
So why would I want to use Drupal for blogging instead of Movable Type? Part of the philosophy, I guess.
I guess the best way to look at it would be to think of Tumblr and Twitter. Tumblr is a blogging service that isn’t just about blog posts. People can post other kinds of stuff - images and audio. Twitter, on the other hand, isn’t even a blogging service. It’s a microblog. It can be used to post updates. It’s not for really super-important stuff, but stuff that might be interesting to certain people.
So what I’m really looking for is a blogware that would allow me to post different kinds of stuff. I want to post normal blog updates. I want to post statuses. I want to post random image garbage.
The problem is that Movable Type is really geared for two things: Static pages and normal blog posts. Movable Type is being extended to Tumblr direction. There’s an extension called Motion, but unfortunately it’s proprietary. I’m not going to be using that. It’s also unfortunate that Motion is part of the proprietary Movable Type package; this means that it’s unlikely to ever appear on Movable Type Open Source, unless the developers have a change of heart. And I truly do hope they do.
So unfortunately, at the moment, Movable Type isn’t really geared for this.
Movable Type tried to answer the problem of people wanting to post other kinds of stuff by introducing extensions. I’m sure WordPress guys are doing the same.
But Drupal solves this problem by doing a completely different thing: it instead lets people to define what the content is in the first place. Through the blog extension, Drupal has a notion of “blog posts” and “blogs”. The thing is, blog content can actually be defined in fairly flexible manner. You can have different kinds of blog posts by defining different kinds of content types.
So why am I not going Drupal in Avarthrel website? Why am I not moving these blogs to Drupal?
The thing is, the only place I have Drupal set up right now is the Avarthrel site, and I don’t need different content types in Avarthrel blog as of yet. I’d probably benefit of them most in this personal blog. It’d be nice to have Avarthrel blogs under the same blogware, but that’s just that, a nice thing to have. It’s an upcoming issue in migration, I suppose. Avarthrel blog was run on Movable Type before the site even ran Drupal.
Another thing is that Drupal has a fairly strong notion of users. Movable Type has a notion of internally registered users and random bystanders who are commenting on stuff, who may or may not be indentified through OpenID and other authentication methods. Drupal only has has a notion of users, which may be identified somehow. Creation of user entities is a complicated process. It involves registrations. Email. General bullshit blog commenters don’t want to deal with.
Third thing: If the whole site is running Drupal, everything is fine. Beastwithin.org as a whole isn’t running Drupal, and there’s just gobloads of legacy stuff here that can’t be easily moved to Drupal without interesting headaches of all kinds, and setting up tons of redirects. Creating new blogs in subdirectories is easy in Movable Type, but it’s rather difficult in Drupal. Drupal has the support for serving different stuff under different domains and subdomains, but setting it up to serve blog stuff in specific subdirectories is a little bit more involved thing. It can be done, but its efficiency is probably a rather complicated thing. Drupal comes with a rather long
.htaccess file to handle all the path stuff. However, if Drupal would serve the whole site, at least setting up multiple blogs in one site under different subdirectories would be delightfully straightforward in that case.
So I don’t think Movable Type will be going away anytime soon from beastwithin.org.