Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

Drupal vs. Movable Type

Sun, 08/19/2007 - 05:44 -- rprice

Lighter Footstep is a community site to learn about reducing your impact on the planet, and I recently noticed on their Twitter feed that they’re considering switching to Movable Type from Joomla. This was the email I wrote back to Chris after his query about Drupal:

I don’t know much bout Movable Type, but I’ve watched some screencasts and heard lots of good things. As a blogging platform goes, they have one of the tightest and richest experiences you’re going to find anywhere. Six Apart does a great job on user experience. One downside is finding Perl programmers to do any custom stuff for you if you don’t already know any.

Drupal is fantastic for, but not limited to, publishing a community site with multiple user accounts, forums, rich media, and just about anything you can think of. Drupal is designed to be 100% extensible, so there is nothing on the web today you can’t do with drupal, it’s more a question of whether you have the vision, resources and expertise to pull it off.

Admittedly, I’d want a lot of customizations to make Drupal into a great day-to-day blogging platform - I’m currently using Wordpress almost everywhere I blog or podcast because it is just so streamlined - I imagine Movable Type is a similar experience. Using Drupal is like graduating from middle school to your first full-time job, where you are now responsible for lots of things you didn’t know you needed to manage, because someone was glossing over the grim details before. However, that also means you get more control. Still, once you get set up, the experience is very similar to any CMS platform.

As a personal plug for myself, I’d like to say I’m an extremely competent Drupal developer and theme guru. I’ve been working with drupal 25+ hours a week since January.

I hope this helps you in making your decision.

Addendum: Movable Type is not free for more than one user, or for commercial purposes. I see this as a very big issue, as there is an ongoing cost associated with your otherwise free-to-maintain website. Anyone considering getting into web publishing should consider the cost of “going pro” should the opportunity present itself.


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Hey Ryan, thanks for the kind words about MT. I work with the MT team and just wanted to point out a couple of clarifications -- MT is free for personal use, and we'll soon be offering a completely open source version of MT which of course has no use restrictions on it.

Though I don't think Lighter Footstep is a non-profit, we do offer non-profit licenses for organizations that want support.

Oh, and since I'm a PHP guy myself -- don't worry, you don't have to know Perl to customize MT. You can customize the admin screens using the exact same template tags that generate the published pages in MT, and all of the APIs for stuff like creating posts are available through PHP or any other language; We even have sample code. I've just been working on my first-ever MT plugin, and I've never written a line of Perl in my life. :)

Also one thing I think is important for community sites like LF is support for OpenID, which is built into MT4. I think there might be a plugin for Drupal ,but it's always nice to have these things built in.