Where the heck is Six Apart on Movable Type Development



I have been a dedicated Movable Type fan for 4 years, the application continues to do cool stuff that other applications cannot, but that gap is closing very quickly. As evident in this post, but the real issue is this, we have heard virtual silence out of the folks at Six Apart. The only time they make an announcement is when they have signed some big partnership.

We don’t hear anything directed at their base, and guess what, they are going to start loosing us if they don’t get busy and start adding some features that don’t require a developer to integrate. My sister recently started a blog and I was quoted two prices, one was to skin Movable Type in the way she needed to match her e-commerce site, total integration charge $1100.00 when I asked them to quote me how much to Integrate for WordPress I was shocked when they said $240.00

When I asked why the difference, it was because the templates and the tagging on MT was to complicated, and required 4 times as long to do the same work. I said well lets go with Word Press total integration time four hours at $60.00 bucks a hour.

Tell you what makes me mad, is to be sitting here with a product that I happily support, and not seeing it being updated whereas the WordPress folks are flat out kicking them in the Jimmy.

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Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.


11 thoughts on “Where the heck is Six Apart on Movable Type Development

  1. I’m at a loss to understand why anyone with the skills to understand and manipulate HTML can argue that MT’s tags are more difficult to work with than WordPress’s PHP code. They both adhere to the some essential of templates: the blogging engine replaces tags with content. That’s a pretty old notion, dating at least to the early days of Unix.

    Did you ask the designer to explain the reason for his assertion? How many MT sites has he coded? Maybe your designer was just parroting the residual angst that seems to stem fron SixApart’s decision to stop giving away its primary product. It seems especially strong among people who think that using a vendor’s product makes them a member of a “community” and obligates the vendor to giving the product away, gratis.

    Now, MT’s current set of default templates are, I think, cluttered. Looks like they loaded up code for just about any possible contingency. What they didn’t do is a good enough job documenting those templates, so folks will know what code they can safely excise and which code they need to keep. (maybe that documentation is on their site. It has an awful lot of documentation. But, it ought to be in the templates.)

    But, that’s ony an issue for people who are trying to modify an MT template for there own use. There’s no reason to use any of MT’s templates. Design your site, write the code, and then put the right MT tags in the right place.

    The flip side of all this might be someone who has never heard of PHP trying to build a WordPress layout. Good luck.

    Does SixApart owe people something different than other companies just because it sells blogging software? I don’t think so. It’s a business. If it wants to keep its product development process private, that’s fine with me.

  2. Six Apart seems to busy developing other business applications than to care or worry about Movable Type.

  3. Six Apart seems to busy with the business applications they are developing than to care or worry about Movable Type.

  4. Jay

    After reading through the comments again, it is at least obvious that you have to keep a fair amount of information secret before you release something. But the near silence from you folks has been concerning.

    You are a company that builds blogging tools and like any company these days you need to be blogging, are you concerned about announcing features will tip off the competition.

    Well I hate to say that the WordPress community is much more active than the MovableType community, heck it’s almost impossible to find the MT forum section link anymore via SixApart. If you are building then tell us you are building, and if you cant talk about product details then you need to tell us what we need to do to prepare for version 3.3

    The main thing is talk and i am sure there are lots of cool things going on with plugins but you rarely highlight any. You need a evangelist that shows all of us how to use all of these great plugins and talk about why they are important and what gap do they fill that is currently not being filled by the baseline application.

    Podcasting is fast approaching two years and although you say you are focused on the next revision your promise of faster releases after the last engine revamp have not materialized.

  5. Jay

    After reading through the comments again, it is at least obvious that you have to keep a fair amount of information secret before you release something. But the near silence from you folks has been concerning.

    You are a company that builds blogging tools and like any company these days you need to be blogging, are you concerned about announcing features will tip off the competition.

    Well I hate to say that the WordPress community is much more active than the MovableType community, heck it’s almost impossible to find the MT forum section link anymore via SixApart. If you are building then tell us you are building, and if you cant talk about product details then you need to tell us what we need to do to prepare for version 3.3

    The main thing is talk and i am sure there are lots of cool things going on with plugins but you rarely highlight any. You need a evangelist that shows all of us how to use all of these great plugins and talk about why they are important and what gap do they fill that is currently not being filled by the baseline application.

    Podcasting is fast approaching two years and although you say you are focused on the next revision your promise of faster releases after the last engine revamp have not materialized.

  6. I hear where your coming from Todd, I know MYSQL and other databases out there but I have never had as much trouble with WordPress or many other as I had with MT. Todd i think I agree with you they make it quite difficult in many aspects

  7. Jason

    I do not consider myself a enterprise customer, I do though expect that their will be a certain amount of time put into the product to keep me engaged as a customer. I have purchased 3 copies for the seperate installs we have running on various servers, I stay in compliance with the license restrictions thus I am supporting SixApart with my wallet.

    I am adding podcasting clients each day and I do not have time to send a message off to Six Apart saying I am looking for a developer, and with any luck I get a message back in a week from you folks. You should have a public website with a list of those in your professional group. This professional group is like some secret society and you all need to take care of them by providing people like me a organized list of companies and their skill sets.

    I have yet to only find one developer that could do a three pane design the way I like it, and you can better believe that I am not at all happy with the number of default templates that are available.

    This site design is great, but makes most developers I hire to do updates, it makes them want to pull there hair out. I do not agree that MT is easy to design to, if it was there would be a 1000 templates to choose from.

    Do a search for Word Press templates and do a Search for Movable Type templates, the proof is in the search results.

  8. Phil, I don’t get it when you mention that there’s no “good free version” of MT — the only limit on the free version is the number of authors, something that it’s pretty hard to say makes it a shabby offering. I’m asking this honestly, not pejoratively: what more should one expect in a free weblog app?

  9. Count me in the group of people that’s confused by your generalization of the differential in price between the quotes you got for MT and WP template designs. I can see why any one individual developer might price their skills that way — someone who knows WP and doesn’t need to learn a new set of tags and skills will naturally charge less to design for WP, and vice versa — but I’m sure that those prices are just that, individualized to that specific developer.

  10. Jay,

    The issue isn’t whether Six Apart is keeping busy. The issue is whether there are enough good MT-based designs (templates or stylesheets) available that are equivalent with those emerging for WordPress. If there’s a genuinely excellent MT design/templates repository available on the Web (as there are for WordPress), please point me to it, with a URL.

    The question is whether, in focusing on the Enterprise, Six Apart is supporting the MT user who likes to build their own sites, but is a better writer than designer. That used to be a core user for MT. Is that still true?

    I don’t want to switch to WordPress because I’ve invested so much time in MT. But blog design is advancing quickly, and my experience is that I see a lot more great-looking designs on WordPress. Whether that’s due to the availability of better free and open source designs for WordPress, or better support from the design community, I can’t tell you. But I don’t think this is imagined.

  11. I don’t really know why Six Apart don’t confess up front that they’re no longer interested in selling single-person licenses (or, ha! having a good free version! oh, how the thought now makes me laugh).

    Regardless of what they *say* it’s clear from what they *do* that they’re only interested in the corporate customers.

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