Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Web/Blog Tools

To upgrade or not to upgrade?

Tinkering around with the Movable Type stylesheets and templates in MT2.6x to try and get things just how I want them. But it has been a bit of an exercise in futility. They’ll look fine in Firefox but not in IE (or vice-versa). So I’m wondering about scrapping the whole MT 2.6 set up and moving on. Not that I haven’t been very happy with it but just that I’d like some more up to date functionality.

So I’m looking for a system that will allow:

  • Multiple authors
  • Blogging (obviously)
  • File management – a sensible way to manage a set of uploaded documents and files. Might be a plug-in.
  • Plug-in support of some type – for polling modules, special searches, interfaces to other systems etc.
  • Good comment spam handling.
  • Flexible theme/appearance management (even allow others to pick the scheme?)
  • Web link database functionality.
  • Nested categories.
  • Integration of static pages. (I already do this in MT but it’s a pain to manage)
  • Integration with Ecto.
  • Image management.
  • Behaves well in both Mac and Windows browsers – both for admin and viewing final result.
  • Cost is a factor – but it doesn’t have to be free.

So far the contenders are:

  • Movable Type 3 – Familiar interface, some good plug-ins, works with Ecto.
  • Drupal – the full CMS – works with Ecto
  • WordPress – easy set up, good blogging tools and configurability, current version won’t receive images from Ecto (previous versions did apparently, so I assume it’s a bug)

Don’t have too much time to spend on it so I’m only downloading a few, installing them on the iBook and having an initial play around. Any suggestions would be well received.

If all else fails I’ll just revert to the default MT 2.x templates and tinker on an interactive basis.

Also check out: for a great site allowing you to try these types of systems out.


  1. Working on the templates can be quite time-consuming… and checking browser-compatibility is quite a nuisance, unless you’re willing to use the default template supplied with your blog system. Recently, I’ve discovered MT’s template modules and now use a lot of <$MTInclude module=”Header”$> directives. That helps a lot with keeping the complexity down.

  2. I use WordPress; I’ve found it quite good, and there’s plenty of themes available. It works fine through MarsEdit, so I’d assume Ecto works too (the current version of WP lets me upload images through MarsEdit too).

    I’d also recommend TextPattern ( It’s free, has a very nice interface, and seems to be pretty high in terms of features and plugins.

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    I’ve been using the MT template modules to try and simplify things – the header and nav bar are a “gfHeader” module. But you’re right, Christian, the template modifications are time-consuming and a pain to try and track down where you’ve made a mistake. I do offline editing in TextWrangler because the edit facilities in the web interface suck.

    Thanks for the pointers, Matt. Ecto has been working fine at sending text up to WordPress, just getting server errors on uploading attachments. But this morning I seemed to get past that, so WordPress is the leading candidate now. Especially as I’ve imported my MT content etc. from Mt into WordPress with no problems at all.

    However, have a thesis pre-draft to get done this week + essay marking so it’ll be next week before anything gets done.

  4. i use serendipity. if you’ve been unimpressed with it on my site, it’s because i’m not that php minded. i think it does everything you’re asking even though i don’t implement them. not sure if it works with ecto either.

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