Why I Switched From MovableType to WordPress

A little while back Anil Dash commented on my “Switched to WordPress” entry, and I’ve been meaning to reply.

Just curious, was there a reason you hadn’t considered MT3, since that doesn’t require rebuilds either, and you wouldn’t have to change templates? I’m always looking to see how we can improve our products and make them better fit people’s needs, so any feedback would be appreciated.

There were a few reasons, one of which was simply that over time the WordPress contributors have been much more personable to me than the SixApart staff. I’ve tried many times to have pleasant interactions with SixApart team and only person who has really been friendly to me has been Loic, and while he is certainly a great guy, the overwhelming sense coming from the SixApart team has been one of aloofness, which just doesn’t fly in community driven industry.

Another reason was a lack of community documentation. I don’t tend to trust things that change something large fundamentally and say they will work with what I already have. The php/perl interoperability made me nervous, it didn’t make sense to me to handle things that way, I understand not wanting to throw out the perl code, but I didn’t feel the mix was a clean one, and I didn’t find enough reassuring docs to make me sure about the system, although I admit I didn’t look very hard.

Also, the code in MT3 is awash with replication and hackery to make things work with legacy code. Especially the comment code, it takes multiple pages of template code to make the comment form on a page, and while in many ways WordPress falls into the same boat it is decidedly cleaner. I understand that companies under pressure find it tough to refactor, but it is definitely needed, the bloat has become noticable.

Finally, MT is a slow moving machine, the team has lots of investments and red tape to clear before anything happens, early and often certainly does not feel like the model MT follows. WordPress is part of the community, they have integrated Technorati, XFN and a useful blog for news regarding WordPress. Additionally, they are generally just more feature-complete, with quick and usable management interfaces that a power user can really get behind (see the Manage -> Posts section of the admin interface for an example of this).

All in all I still think MT is a decent platform, but it has definitely fallen behind.

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