Technology Weblogging

MT and WP: There and back again

Both Movable Type and WordPress should be having new releases in the upcoming weeks. Movable Type is scheduled to release August 31 (I can’t find this in writing–can someone point this out?); No announced date for WP 1.3, but forum talk has it that the current nightly builds are getting progressively stable.

With both releases, there is bound to be a movement between these two products. I imagine since MT has a larger installed base, there will be more movement from MT to WordPress. However,announcements about stronger comment spam prevention and dynamic PHP pages in MT 3.1 could be luring some old MT users back to MT from WordPress.

Currently I’m working on a WP to MT export script that will export WordPress entries into Movable Type format for import into MT. WP supports an RSS/Atom export, but that won’t work with MT 3.1 (or will it?) Before I can release it, though, I need to test it with MT 3.1. If anyone has a working beta of this product, and wouldn’t mind letting me create a weblog for testing, I’d be appreciative.

When 3.1 releases, I’ll port one of my WordPress weblogs to MT 3.1 and then write up the process as a tutorial here in Burningbird. I’ll cover how to export the data, import it into MT, and how to move the weblog’s distinctive look by converting between tool template elements. This will include merging stylesheets; taking WordPress’ single template and porting it into MT’s multi-template environment; how the commenting structure differs; and covering differences between the tools for functions to list categories, recent comments, and so on.

To do this, I again need access to a working version of 3.1 and someone willing to let me create a weblog in their environment, for demonstration purposes (we can get rid of it when I’m done with writeup, and taking screenshots.) I could download 3.1 myself, but I don’t have – and won’t have– a TypeKey.

When 1.3 releases, my hope is to port 2-4 current Movable Type weblogs into WordPress 1.3, writing up the process just as with the WP to MT 3.1 port: how to move the distinctive look, covering functional differences, what functions to use for sidebar information, and so on. By covering multiple weblogs, I should hit most of the major challenges people would face. I’ll also add any of my customizations that the individual want, such as per-comment moderation or fullpage preview, comment editing, and so on.

(I’ll first be upgrading Burningbird from 1.2 to 1.3, which means upgrading my modifications and plugins. When finished, I’ll do another code documentation generation and post links.)

For this, I need volunteers from among Movable Type users who are interested either in moving to WordPress completely, or seeing what their weblog will look like in WordPress. They’ll need to have both the space and extra MySQL database for me to create the new WP weblog, and to provide me access to their system. They’re welcome to follow along with the effort, but they can’t hover. Hovering people make me twitchy.

Finally, I need non-techs to read the tutorials as I write them and let me know when the writing leaves them lost, or my instructions aren’t clear. I know that techs will let me know when I’ve done something wrong, technically.

Hopefully, when I’m done, people–whether technical or not–can use these tutorials to move from WordPress to Movable Type, and from Movable Type to WordPress–not just moving the data, but all covering all aspects of the move, including look and feel. This will be the last time I cover moving between tools, and I won’t be following Movable Type after 3.1.

Disclosure: I don’t work for Six Apart, I’m not part of the WordPress team, and have closed my ‘port-a-bloggy’ business. I won’t be getting either a Six Apart t-shirt, or a WordPress thong (I have been offered a JournURL t-shirt). I am not writing this up for a major publication. No one will be sending me flowers or chocolates, and telling me they love me for this. I may or may not get extra links for this for a time, but it won’t make an overall difference in my popularity. I would need to talk about sex, become a man or Dooce, or switch to being a warblogger to do this.

All of which means that I’m not financially or emotionally dependent on either product, which one you use, or whether you move or not.

I am doing this because it should be fun, and probably more helpful than talking about politics (though I will continue talking about politics, sex discrimination, hikes, photography, and whatever else it is I talk about here). Also because my version of ‘open source’ support is to use and/or tweak software and then write about it so others can do the same. I also believe people should be able to move freely between tools, even if they aren’t technically inclined.

(My final reason is that if people continue to have problems with comment spam in MT 3.1 I don’t want to hear them bitching about it!)

(Just joking on that latter.)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email