Mena Trott speaks on Type Pad and Movable Type

Filed as News on May 25, 2003 7:19 pm

by Duncan

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Mena Trott, co-founder and owner of Six Apart, authors of the Blog Heralds favourite blogging utility, Movable Type, today emailed subscribers with what Six Apart has planned for the future. Highlights included a commitment to continue development of MT and MT Pro, and a better explanation of the target market for Type Pad. For those in the blogging community not on the subscriber list, the text of the statement follows.

Sender: Mena Trott
Movable Type Announcements: TypePad, a key part of MT’s future

As many of you have heard, we here at Six Apart (the company behind
Movable Type) are developing a new personal publishing service called
TypePad, based on the Movable Type platform, but focused on being a
central, hosted service which users of any skill level can sign up for.
As we’ve been gearing up for our beta launch of the service, we wanted
to take the time to give our Movable Type users more of a background
about what the service is and how the development of TypePad will
advance the state of the art for the Movable Type platform.

We thought we’d answer a few of the most common questions from Movable
Type user’s perspective.

Why are we developing TypePad?

There are a few reasons we decided to develop TypePad, but the primary
reason is because we’ve been listening to Movable Type users and their
number one request was to simplify installation and configuration.
Right now, setup issues are by far the biggest problem for existing
users and are the biggest obstacles preventing new users who want the
power of Movable Type from being able to use the tool.

In addition, there are a variety of features that just work better with
a centralized server. We intend to offer relevant parts of the TypePad
platform to Movable Type users who are interested in services that
don’t or can’t run on individual servers. In this way, existing Movable
Type users can gain access to features that are impossible to implement
in the standalone Movable Type application due to the variety of
platforms and environments which are supported.

Finally, TypePad is being developed to strengthen Six Apart, our
company. The more stable and strong our company, the more resources we
can devote to both the TypePad service and the Movable Type software,

What does TypePad’s launch mean for Movable Type and Movable Type Pro?

Movable Type Pro is still on our development schedule for late summer.
We’ll be rolling in many of the features of TypePad into the intial
release of Movable Type Pro, depending on which features can be
implemented in a platform-neutral manner. In addition, the third-party
APIs for Movable Type and TypePad will be fully compatible, meaning
that desktop applications or web services designed to integrate with
one system will work with the other, strenghtening the entire market
for programs and services built around Six Apart platforms.

We also expect that TypePad’s launch will grow the entire market for
reading and writing weblogs, increasing their already high profile in
the public’s attention. This means not only does your knowledge and
experience become more valuable, but the potential audience for your
weblog will grow. We all benefit if weblogs can transcend the
technological barriers that have put barriers on the size of the
existing audience.

In short, the development effort spent on TypePad will be reflected
back into the Movable Type code base and be made available in Movable
Type Pro. The centralized services being launched in TypePad will be
made available to Movable Type’s users. And the improvements in user
interface and architecture that we’ve implemented in TypePad will be
migrated back to the Movable Type code base.

How does TypePad compare to Movable Type?

TypePad evolved from the same code base as Movable Type, and retains a
tremendous amount of compatibility with the MT system. But, being aimed
at users with no programming, scripting, or server management
experience, TypePad focuses much more squarely on being accessible to
non-technical users, and features an interface that is much more
task-driven. Being a centralized service, TypePad’s code is of course
not customizable, but it will be extensible in ways that are compatible
with Movable Type’s APIs.

There are a few features like photo albums and simplified author
configuration which are unique to TypePad right now, but that we expect
to be able to migrate to the Movable Type code base in the future.

For many current non-technical Movable Type users, TypePad may be the
better fit. Our highest tier promises almost the same customizability
as the current Movable Type, and we’re looking at how we can offer
discounts to people who’ve supported Movable Type if they choose to
migrate to TypePad. We’re glad to support users on any of our platforms.

Why would I choose TypePad vs. Movable Type?

The biggest distinction between the TypePad service and the Movable
Type system is their intended audiences. Typepad is aimed at individual
users who are not interested in customizing the code for their
publishing system, valuing simplicity over extreme customizability.
Movable Type is the appropriate choice for businesses, intranets,
nanopublishing efforts, and power users, where the open architecture,
customizable code, and easy integration take precedence over the
simplicity of setup. Our intent is to keep Movable Type the tool of
choice for people with experience working with web applications on
their own servers, and to offer TypePad for everyone else.

Is Movable Type going away? Will it still be free?

There will always be a version of Movable Type that is available free
for personal use. And the MT platform of Movable Type and Movable Type
Pro are both strengthened by the increased development efforts and
business resources being put into TypePad, since they share the same
base. Movable Type Pro will be a paid product, but as we’ve said from
the start, any donations to Movable Type will go towards your eventual
purchase of Movable Type Pro, and we expect that for many donors, the
price difference between your accrued donations and Movable Type Pro’s
cost will be negligible.

Is all my development work going to still be useful?

Movable Type and Movable Type Pro will remain 100% compatible with all
of today’s APIs and plugins. In addition, TypePad will be compatible
with the publishing APIs inherited from Movable Type, increasing the
audience for tools built around the system. And we plan to reveal more
about how TypePad can be extended using the skills that many of you
have developed while working with Movable Type, offering you an even
larger audience for your creations.

What’s next?

If you’re interested in using TypePad or just finding out more about
it, be sure to sign up at http://www.typepad.com/ for the TypePad
Announcements list. In addition to the latest news, you’ll be eligible
to sign up for the beta, as we’ll be picking our beta testers from the
members on the TypePad Announcement list.

If you wanted to recommend Movable Type to your friends in the past,
but they were intimidated by the technical requirements and set-up, you
can now tell them about TypePad. They’ll have a simple and easy way to
jump into personal publishing on the web, and you’ll still get credit
with them for seeming like the weblog expert. So, help spread the word
about TypePad!

Resources

As the community around Movable Type has grown, we’ve been very lucky
to have volunteers step up to guide MT users towards useful resources
and references. The primary source of support for Movable Type is still
our user forums, at http://www.movabletype.org/support/ and our
developer community has been extremely active at the excellent
independent resource, MT Plugin Directory which can be found at
http://mt-plugins.org/ .

Finally, you can keep up with developments on all of our products and
initiatives by reading our company weblogs. In addition to
http://www.movabletype.org/ we have our company weblog Six Log at
http://www.sixapart.com/ and you can find the latest announcements and
updates on the TypePad service at http://www.typepad.com/ .

Thank you

In conclusion, we’d like to thank all of our donors and those who have
supported Movable Type by developing for it and making it a great
platform. Six Apart has been able to get to where we are because of all
of you and we’re committed to continuing to make products that you love
to use.

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