is a husband-wife team that in October 2001 first made available
their weblog software via the World Wide Web. Ben and Mena Trott
describe their software as a "web-based personal publishing
system." Of course, the name they chose for their product
quite nicely relates web publishing to Gutenberg's printing press
of more than 500 years ago. That's a powerful association, and one
that is well-deserved.
Through 2000 and early
2001, Blogger was the visible
leader in blogging, garnering much laudatory press and many thousands
of new users. But the company behind Blogger, Pyra, burned through
its funding, and the creative group behind Blogger dispersed. Only
co-founder Evan Williams remained
to run the service. [edit: Search engine company Google
purchased Pyra and Blogger in February 2003, enflaming discussion
within the blogosphere and in major newspapers about the potential
opening-up of the blogging realm to the greater web public.] Experienced
bloggers began to convert their weblogs from remote-hosted Blogger
to server-side software such as Greymatter
and Movable Type.
The Movable Type software
is freely available at www.movabletype.org.
To use Movable Type, one must install the software on the server
that hosts the person's website. This process of installing and
configuring the Movable Type software can be confusing to a user
with little experience with Perl scripts or directory permissions.
The Trotts, though, provide documentation (installation instructions
and a user manual) that is both detailed and clearly written.
Still, users have questions.
So, movabletype.org includes a Support
Forum (using the freeware ikonboard),
and it is here that new users of Movable Type first encounter
the community behind Movable Type. On this bulletin board, novices
and pros interact, sharing hints, tips, tutorials and links to previous
solutions. Ben and Mena are present, but so too are other forum
administrators and frequent contributors.
The Support Forum includes
a Feature board, where MT users share their ideas for future
features of the software. The Trotts have incorporated numerous
of these requests, and other users frequently suggest alternative
tools or solutions. As of version 2.1, MT allows for plugins, small
software patches designed by users. These plugins provide additional
functionality to the software, such as Adam Kalsey's MTAmazon
plugin for populating a blog with information from amazon.com).
[Edit: A community of plugin
developers provides extra features both nimble and powerful.]
In version 2.5, the Trotts incorporated
one plugin, MT-Search, into the main code, and they credit Jay
Allen with the contribution.
Here's what Ben and Mena
had to say on the anniversary
"Thanks to our
beta-testers, plugin developers, active members of our support
forums and all other contributors. You do a tremendous job making
the Movable Type community thrive and flourish. We're honored
to have such an intelligent group of people devoted to helping
others and providing resources that, quite frankly, make the software
are an important function of the MT community. While the MT software
is freely available, users are asked to donate to the Trott's efforts.
A donation of $20 or more is rewarded with a unique key that a user
adds to his/her MT code. Whenever this user updates his/her blog,
the name of that blog is displayed in the Recently Updated Movable
Type Blogs list on the movabletype.org index page. This Recently
Updated list provides the community of users with tempting links
to other blogs (because bloggers often copy designs and share code),
and is successful at promoting communion between the writers,
photographers and web designers that inhabit this community.
to MT Software