Quick CMS/Blogging Platform Comparison

I originally launched this site to explore the possibilities of using Movable Type as a full-blown content-management system (CMS). Since then, many professional Movable Type themes have been released that make this possible, even easy. Additionally, I’ve had an opportunity to play with a few other free platforms. Here is a quick, possibly unfair comparison:

Use Drupal if you need a really complicated website.

Use WordPress (self-hosted) or Movable Type for everything else. (I’m starting to lean toward WordPress but still pretty much ambivalent. Right now, Movable Type is about the same as WordPress in terms of features and usability, but harder to install. This could change with each new version.)

is clunky if you need a lot of customization, which virtually every client will. I imagine the
hosted version of WordPress is similar but I haven’t used it yet.

Stay far, far away from Joomla.

My God Can Beat Up Your God

Just installed a “ShareThis” widget on pretty much every page of this site, so now the masses can begin spreading my message like Country Crock.

Also, Jimmy Legs pointed out that my captcha images were missing from comments, which explains why I have yet to receive a single comment. That and the fact that I have like four visitors, most of whom came here after clicking one of my misleading blog-post titles in Google. Anyway, I believe I have diagnosed the captcha problem as an incompatibility with my host‘s Apache server. From a post on MT’s message board:

…the trouble is that apache doesn’t seem to parse URLs of this form
correctly – basically it doesn’t realise that everything after the .cgi
is the query string.

However, this also strikes me as BS. The problem became evident in Movable Type almost two years ago. This MT installation is only a couple of months old. So either my diagnosis is incorrect or MT is taking way too long to fix this problem. In the meantime I have removed captcha from comments, so spam away. 

The Statue Got Me High

I added a bunch of new pages to this site last night and finally got the CSS dropdowns to work the way they are supposed to. (Although they are slow to load and slightly buggy in Internet Explorer because they rely on javascript instead of CSS.) At this point I don’t have enough content to warrant dropdown menus but I wanted to prove they could work. And it was all thanks to this tutorial.

BTW, I’m taking a calculated risk when I publish some of the more personal, edgy stuff on here. I usually work places for years before I even mention that I used to be a musician, playing in dank clubs in strange cities and sleeping in vans. That I used to be a writer of sorts, banging out doggerel for alt weeklies and online lit zines. That I used to be a professional juggl—wait…that’s going too far.

My life is a pretty open book to anyone who knows how to use Google, and that includes bosses, HR directors, recruiters, potential clients, landladies, parents, children, and mortgage lenders. There’s no sense denying that I had a life before my professional one. What this site can do is filter out the noise. It’s also teaching me a helluva lot about Movable Type, which was the whole point.  

Goodnight nobody

Still working on dropdown menus. They are a mess right now. I can easily switch back to my original navigation thanks to Movable Type’s template modules, but I figure if I leave the broken menus up I’ll more inclined to get them working soon. I spent a good deal of time hunting a bug that turned out to be nothing more than the usual missing “}” in the CSS.

You can see the beginnings of dropdown menus if you’re viewing this in Firefox. In IE you get nothing because I haven’t uploaded the necessary javascript workaround for IE. In all browsers, they look like crap! Yay!

The last place I saw my mother alive

In trying to enable comments, I discovered that I’m missing the captcha plug-in (Image.Majick?) or maybe that’s it’s improperly set. So for all the hordes of people waiting to comment, I’m sorry. I’m working on it.

I also replaced Anil Dash’s rooster photo—the default image in this MT theme—with a picture of me playing freeze tag with my daughter. (Credit: Eric Johnson. Here’s the original.) Not that you can tell this from the photo, my daughter being cropped out and all. I’m sure I will replace this image numerous times in the coming weeks. I feared the rooster and something had to be done.

I added this line to my mt-config.cgi file and now comments work:

CaptchaSourceImageBase http://www.noahmasterson.com/mt-static/images/captcha-source/

Will you please be quiet please?

If you are one of the four daily visitors to noahmasterson.com, you’ve noticed some changes. I just installed a Movable Type blog. My goal is not to pollute the blogosphere with the minutia of my existence. Rather, I want to learn as much about Movable Type–and its potential as a full-blown CMS–as possible.

Here are two other blogs I have created, both of them for my wife, Sarah:

NoahMasterson.com was the fastest install I’ve done, but I still had problems. For starters, it’s never a good idea to begin an installation at 9 p.m. on a work night, especially if you are sleep-deprived, as most parents are. (I’ve got two kids, one of which is teething and hates his bed.) By 10 p.m., all my files had been uploaded, and permissions set, but the tables were not writing to the database correctly. I logged into the control panel at my web host, dropped an old database, created a new one, and went to bed, figuring I would need to start from scratch the next day.

It’s always good to sleep on a problem. This morning I knew exactly what to do: I manually edited the mt-config.cgi file to point to the correct database and the installation went smoothly from there.

So here we are. My overall plan is to set up different sections of this website for my resume, music, writing, etc., chronicling the changes on the blog.

Post Script: This entry did not initially publish. (This was the helpful error message: “{P is world writable.”) I checked all my chmod permissions and all seemed correctly set to 755. Finally, after much toiling, I went into MT’s preferences and changed all my file extensions from .php to .html and that solved it. But why can’t I use .php? It would make me look so much cooler!