I’m Done With Movable Type

Yesterday, the folks at Popehat posted about cleaning out their blogroll. I checked to see if Windypundit made the cut, and it hadn’t, which perplexed me because I thought I got along with Ken and Patrick. But then I checked my own blogroll, and sure enough, Popehat wasn’t on it either.

Sigh. Maintaining the blogroll on this account is such a pain. I keep the list of blogs in an XML file, and I have an XSLT file that transforms it into HTML which I paste into the template for the blogroll. I used to use an XML editor for that, but now I keep it in a Microsoft Visual Studio project and generate the code by running the XSLT debugger command to generate the HTML. That’s a lot of work each time I want to update the blogroll.

It wasn’t supposed to be that hard. My plan was to write an extension to the Movable Type blogging engine that would read the XML and use the XSLT to generate the HTML for the blogroll. All I’d have to do was add an entry to the XML file and it would automatically pop up on the website.

I put that plan on hold when Six Apart announced they’d be releasing version 5 of Movable Type. I figured I’d wait for it to come out before I wrote the extension so I wouldn’t have to update it for the new version. When MT5 was released, however, I discovered that the upgrade process wasn’t working for my blog. If I wanted Windypundit to work on Movable Type 5, I’d have to rebuild it from scratch and import all the posts and comments. I made big plans to do that, but the more I looked into it, the more difficult it looked.

And then last spring Rogier, Rick, and I decided to launch the Nobody’s Business blog, which uses the WordPress blogging engine, not Movable Type, and I liked it a lot. It’s easier to use and just as powerful as Movable Type, and the WordPress development community is much more vibrant than Movable Type. There was new stuff coming out all the time.

WordPress also has a major architectural advantage over Movable Type: It’s written in PHP, not Perl. Actually, the Movable Type authoring interface is written in Perl, but the publishing side is written in both Perl and PHP, depending on whether you want static or dynamic publishing. And even though I used the PHP dynamic publishing system, parts of the site are still generated with Perl — previews and search results, I think — so every time I wrote an extension, I had to write it in both languages.

It’s time for me to unravel this mess. Some time in the next couple of months (I hope) I’ll be porting Windypundit to Wordress. That’s a lot easier said than done, about which I will probably say more in a future post.

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