Movable Type Installation
As you may have noticed, I have made a few updates to the site, including the implementation of Movable Type into the news section.
As you may have noticed, I have made a few updates to the site, beyond what I previously detailed. Most of them include significant overhauls of the backend, including an implementation of the Movable Type CMS for the news section. This enables readers to interact with the content by posting comments, and makes my life easier since the actual publishing workflow removes the manual HTML and XML updates (yes, I code(d) in NotePad). A few observations from the MT installation (which I have never done, by the way):
- Installation was easy. The CGI files loaded properly, set up the database and got the entire admin section up and running with so little fuss that I thought I was making a mistake. As a non-programming web designer, I rely on other, experienced Perl authors, and many of this site’s features (site search, newsletter management, contact page) are installations of free scripts downloaded from HotScripts and the like. In almost all cases, getting Perl scripts up and running is a hassle like no other, with constant debugging, trial and error, 500 errors, great CHMOD torment and other gnashing of teeth. But the MT installation went fine. Everything just worked, and for someone who interprets Perl code as little more than post-modern ASCII art, that’s just peachy.
- Implementation took a few days, but overall it was pretty painless. Getting my previous CSS settings to sync with MT’s took a tremendous amount of trial and error, but I wanted to make the transition to the new CMS as transparent as possible for readers. Beyond a few site-wide CSS tweaks, the only new thing I wanted people to see was the commenting system.
- To put it succinctly, Movable Type is robust. There are dozens of API hooks to tweak layout, presentation and content management, and I used several of these to get graphicPUSH to the most usable point possible. In additional, the actual admin section offers dozens of preference settings, so stuff like changing the extensions to SHTML to implement my old includes was an absolute snap.
- The help files are excellent. They guided me through the painless installation, and are thorough in describing the actual system setup. Whenever I had a question, I found the answer quickly. I have also been prowling around the forums, which is full of helpful souls.
So all told, the Movable Type installation went as well as can be expected. I’m not sure if that makes graphicPUSH an official “blog” now, but I don’t think it matters too much. The commenting system was a feature requested by dozens of readers, and I am proud to have the capability to adapt the site to make it better for the audience, not just for the author.
Continuing that thought, future upgrades will include a font-sizing option, not unlike the one employed by Wired News. I am also installing a different newsletter subscription/email management system, because the last system I used decided to place every address in the “TO” field, not the “BCC” field. Rest assured that won’t happen again.