Movable Type is whatever you want it to be

What has always drawn me to Movable Type is its flexibility. Most of the time we, that is Six Apart: my employer and creator of Movable Type, talk and think about MT's flexibility in terms of the web sites it is capable of producing and the vast array of plugins one can build on top of the platform.

Today Mark released [a plugin that] provides a user interface to Movable Type that is virtually identical to that of WordPress.

But there is another axis of customization that is rarely exploited that is perhaps one of the most remarkable ways in which one can bend and twist Movable Type to one's will: the ability to completely re-skin the core user/administrative interface of the application. The first time this feature was fully utilized was when we released the iPhone interface for Movable Type. The fact that it took Brad Choate less then 8 hours1 to actually port the entire interface to a completely different look and feel is amazing to me.

Of course, one might chalk his efficiency up to fact that he also happens to be Movable Type's lead engineer, and arguably the single most experienced and knowledgeable Movable Type hacker on the planet --- thereby making this feat less compelling.

Enter Mark Carey.

Today Mark released the second plugin capable of re-skinning Movable Type. This plugin however provides a user interface to Movable Type that is virtually identical to that of WordPress.


To quote Mark, "Yes, the above image is Movable Type, not Wordpress. ;)"

From what he tells me, it only took him about 10-12 hours to achieve.


For the engineers out there: think for a moment back when you last embarked on a redesign of a product you worked on. How long did it take you? I am willing to bet that no matter how long it took, it took longer then you thought it would.

It is just amazing to me to think that someone can turn around a total redesign of the Movable Type application in such a short period of time.

But what does this mean for Movable Type users? I guess it depends on who you ask, as there are some MT users that cannot imagine using anything but MT4's new look and feel. On the other hand, I have spoken with some users, WordPress converts in particular, for which MT4's user interface was a very drastic change for them.

For those users, and other users thinking about making the switch from WordPress to Movable Type, this plugin allows them to experience MT via a more familiar user interface. Users can then transition to MT's default design when they feel more comfortable doing so.

I just like the fact that Movable Type really is whatever you want it to be. It doesn't seek to constrain you to a single way of doing things. It is not encumbered by NIH mentality and seek to embrace the best the web has to offer, from OpenID to Pingback. Movable Type, in its form, function and design seeks to free you from constraints and make anything possible.

God, I really do love this product.

1 This does not account for the time to actually design the user interface, and come up with the HTML and CSS coding standard to use.

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It also opens up the possibility of changing some people over to MT from WP without actually telling them :)

Dr. Evil laugh

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