Why I moved from MovableType to WordPress

I was asked in the comments why I migrated from MovableType to WordPress.  There were several reason why I decided to make the switch.  The primary reason was the incredibly long time it would take to publish a post in MT.  I could actually hit Post in MT, fire up a new web page, connect to my testing WP site, create a new post, enter the title, paste the content in, hit publish and then view the website. In the meantime MT would still be thinking about saving the original post.

The time taken to republish the site after a change such as a design change was so great that some of my older posts still had old styles as the republishing system would time out before it could complete the task.

One of the other things I really like about WordPress is the ease of upgrading the software to the latest version. Yes, WordPress has had more releases, but when it takes about 2 minutes to upgrade the system its really not a problem (especially now that there is an automatic upgrade function).  MovableType has also just released a new security release which is one of the reasons why I made the switch *now*.

I was also hoping that the spam filtering would be better on WordPress than MovableType. I’ve had several idiots spamming the blog with russian comments in MovableType – they wouldn’t get through but I would have to go and delete them. In the one day that I’ve had WordPress up I think I’ve had more spam comments get through to the spam queue, but again it was easy to delete them all – a “select all” option and then delete, followed by an “all done” about 3 seconds later.

Themes in WordPress seem to be a lot cleaner and there are a lot more themes out there to pick from – MT’s selection was pretty small. This wasn’t that much of an issue to me as I was pretty pleased with my existing theme in MT (and have had it copied by a few people so it couldn’t have been that bad!)
The big concern about switching from MT to WP is typically due to the fact that WP is database driven and therefore doesn’t have any of the pages (by default) saved on the machine so if the database is down, then so is the website.   This site doesn’t have that many visitors so I don’t see this as being that much of a problem and normally if the sql database is down, then its probably likely that the web server is going to be down too.

I’ve not looked at the various caching plugins as I doubt I’m going to need it, but it is nice to know this option is available.  I may switch it on later once I’ve got the site up and running and I’m not making many design changes to it.

For those of you interested, I will also be posting my experience about the upgrade and some hints and tips – the existing WordPress migration documentation is in dire need of being updated!

Now using WordPress!

I was hoping to get the switch from MovableType to WordPress up  and running for the 1st of January but I didn’t want to go live until I was ready and near a keyboard in case there was problem.  I’ve spent several hours this weekend getting the layout and stuff ok to go live. For those of you using feed readers to see this, you probably won’t see much difference although I have added a few options to the feedburner feeds and also include my delicious saves now. Do stop by the main website and let me know what you think though.  Any issues then let me know, most of the work and testing was done with firefox as that is what most of you use. There are a few cosmetic issues with internet explorer that I’ll work on over the next week or so.

I’ll also be posting some hints and tips on the migration steps too.

Kristen’s comments are not working at the moment

Kristen finally blogged something last night and I went to put a comment on it this morning only to find her comments don’t work anymore. I did a quick comparison between this blog and hers only to find that her templates are completely different. I tried to copy the entry template for this blog over to hers and publish but it uses includes so failed. I think this is because I had to drop the old MovableType templates to get this blog to work and her blog has the old MT templates still.
I know it is going to be quicker moving her to WordPress than trying to fix the template so I may end up doing this – especially as this blog will also move to WordPress soon – I started the migration Wednesday night and it worked fairly well – some entries were lost in the move but they were fairly old so I’m not too bothered. It will take time to test and theme the site so don’t expect a drastic change too soon – especially as I have work revision to do!!

Temper rebuilds.

Well Temper seems to help look at which files are getting rebuilt and has cut my rebuild time in half (still a long way to go). Looking at the activity log I have gone from 197 seconds and 34 entries in the activity log down to 108 seconds and 22 entries in the log – each rebuild was for an edit of the previous post.
I took out the rebuild of my style sheets, mt.js and the monthly by author and monthly by category archives as the first two are basically static, I only have one author on this blog – me, and the monthly by category is not really important as I don’t have that many entries per category.
What I still don’t understand is why I have 7 entry listings and 5 category archives for the previous post as it was only posted under 1 category (although it did have a couple of keywords in it – I can’t remember how many though). This entry has no keywords and only one category.

MT security patch and rebuild times.

This entry mainly serves as a test for the Temper plugin that should hopefully tell me why it takes about 3 minutes to post an entry on this blog when the save button is pressed. I’ve been playing around with WordPress and it is *so* much faster and efficient than this version of MT. Speaking of which there is a security patch that is available to fix a XSS flaw. Hopefully all the MT users have already seen this in a news feed or in the management console.

Archives are now working too!

It looks like several things were missing after the MT upgrade and now I have fixed the archives. Basically the archive templates were missing for some reason, but fortunately I had archive templates in a test blog. So I switched to the test blog, went to Design then templates then archive templates. I then selected the code for the category archive, went to the same location in the live blog and pasted the code into it. After saving the code I created an archive mapping that pointed to category/sub-category/index.php and then rebuilt all of the category archives – it then worked. Unfortunately I’ve just realised that the template links back to the atom.xml file and not feedburner so I have to republish again – I’ll be doing that tonight 🙁

New design

Well after being thrown in the deep end I think I have ironed out most of the kinks and I’ve learnt a lot about the various Movable Type tweaks needed. A lot of the old plugins have been ripped out and I’ve discovered that using widgets to include code as needed in the site will make it a lot easier to migrate in future – no need to go hacking around in the template files to remove references to plugins that are not used any more (the chief culprits for this were the scode and comment challenge plugins).
The header image was taken by Tim Perdue and was drastically cropped to give an image of the Columbus skyline. It was hard to find a picture that was sufficiently wide enough to give a recognizable skyline when cropped.

Upgrade woes

Well the upgrade seems borked somehow – the comment links are broken. I thought I would use the refresh template option to restore the templates back to the factory default (and then edit my changes back in again but when I try to use the Refresh Template option I get the message “Error creating new template: Template with the same name already exists in this blog.”
Unfortunately it doesn’t mention which template has the problem and I can’t see any of the templates that it is trying to replace. A bit of troubleshooting guidance to mention which template would not have gone amiss in the software.
In the end I had to use the “Delete all templates” option, but it was able to backup the templates for me. Doing the refresh option did not work.

MovableType upgraded.

Well I took the plunge and upgraded the site to MovableType 4 this afternoon. The whole process took about 40 minutes and most of that was trying to unpack the tar.gz file as I was using the AIX commands to extract instead of linux ones! I have a new layout design from my beta tests of MovableType so the design of this website may change drastically over the next couple of days. If you see anything broken then please let me know.

Ok – the problems were with some of the plugins that needed changes made to the template code such as my captcha plugins. As these plugins were not installed in the new installation some of the pages wouldn’t work and I was actually unable to publish documents until I stripped out the scode information (which was actually fairly easy due to the comments placed around the required code).