WordPress, it seems, grows by leaps and bounds. It’s a terrific tool, and its popularity is deserved. What’s weird is that it’s starting to pull away from Movable Type – I think the common perception is that it already has, though I’m not quite convinced by the reality of that, yet.
It appears Movable Type is being positioned by Six Apart as a high-end blog-derived CMS on which developers can build bespoke sites, like the Guardian’s bafflingly subtle Comment is Free. As a result, we lowly individual users don’t get the glossy goodness that WordPress is starting to offer.
Case in point: the recent and surprisingly lackluster Movable Type Styles Contest. While there are some notable exceptions, the range and quality of schemes is faintly embarrassing compared to WordPress’ similar offerings. And I’ve seen nothing to rival the complexity, care, and insight of K2.
Now of course, this is a community effort rather than a core development issue, but if the product isn’t inspiring the sort of creative community one might expect, doesn’t that reflect badly on the product?
Six Apart, I suspect, would rather amateur bloggers used TypePad (if we’re fairly serious and public bloggers), LiveJournal (if we’re MySpace wannabe/escapees) or eventually Vox (if we just want to tell friends and family what we’re up to).
I’m not the only person to be at least concerned by this plan. The fact is, I like Movable Type. While The Daily Grind has been running reasonably well for four years, none of my WordPress sites have survived that long. When I was building the How2 site recently, something Very Bad happened to the WordPress back-end and, four hours before launch, I rebuilt the whole thing in MT. (Which explains why it doesn’t look finished – it isn’t).
I’m building lashing together two new sites in the next week or so. My current plan is to use the new MT3.3beta for one, and WordPress for the other. My CSS skills are rusty, I get bored debugging IE6 issues very quickly, and I can’t really be arsed hacking templates. I just want things to work. I’ll let you know how I get on… or if I give up and use iWeb instead. I’d be in good company.