Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: Movable Type

Six Apart moves into advertising and services

Six Apart has acquired uber-Movable Type consulting firm Apperceptive, creating a new professional services branch, and has also launched a new ad network for bloggers. For what it’s worth, I think that Six Apart’s moves lately to reach out to people who aren’t using their tools for publishing are sound strategy.

Actions in the stream

Mark Paschal at Six Apart has created a new Movable Type called Action Streams. The idea is that it compiles your activity on other sites into a single stream of data that you can use on your weblog as you wish. It’s an evolutionary advancement over other systems that provide similar functionality, but I think it’s important.

Sites like Facebook build these sorts of streams by tracking your activity on your own account and on other services that you attach to your Facebook account. If you run your own site, you can generally use widgets provided by other sites to include recent activity on your Web page. For example, there are a number of ways to display recent Twitter tweets, del.icio.us bookmarks, or Flickr photos on a blog. Beyond that, most sites provide Atom or RSS feeds, and there are plenty of tools that you can use to consume those feeds and display them on a Web site as well.

Action Streams goes a step further by providing a standard interface to the output of many different sites, and by allowing you to integrate with sites that don’t provide an API or a feed by scraping their HTML.

I’m for any tool that makes it easier for people who run their own blog software to take command of their social graph.

Wired’s Compiler blog has more on Action Streams, including a screen shot of the output.

WordPress, for now

Today I reluctantly migrated the blog from Movable Type to WordPress. There are many things I like about Movable Type, especially in version 4.0, but for whatever reason it was very slow and seemed to keep getting slower. I installed FastCGI but wasn’t sure if it ever worked, made sure the database was properly indexed and that it wasn’t slowing things down, and tried to tweak other things where I could. Eventually I decided that I was tired of dealing with slow performance, and didn’t have the energy to take the debugging to the next level.

Anyway, it was relatively easy to move my content into WordPress, so I took the plunge. Right now I’m using a slightly modified version of the Cutline theme, but I expect to make it more my own soon enough.

Getting the old links to blog posts to work was somewhat difficult. When I migrated my posts from Movable Type to WordPress, neither the ID numbers nor the Movable Type basenames made it into the WordPress database. My Movable Type permalinks were based on the basename. I hacked the 404 page in my theme to look up the posts in the Movable Type database by basename, and then use the post title to look up the post in the WordPress database and redirect to the appropriate page. There will be problems with the really old untitled posts, and with any posts that have the same title, but the approach works well enough for now.

I also had to install FeedBurner FeedSmith and PHP Markdown to get things working. Markdown does still work in comments. I’ve also installed WP-OpenID, so you can sign in using your OpenID to comment.

Sadly all of the tags on my posts failed to make it over in the migration. I doubt I’ll go back and tag old posts.

I’m sure there are dozens of other problems that I haven’t found yet, but I’ll iron them out over time. If you see anything obviously broken, please leave a comment and I’ll try to get it fixed.

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