Why would one switch from Moveable Type to WordPress?

I had a comment on my blog (from Carthik, thus the honest reply) about “any compelling reason why I *should* switch” from MT to WordPress. I can provide plenty.
1) MT is commercialized – “too popular” can be a bad thing
2) Almost every consequential “plug-in” for MT is available for WordPress
3) WordPress has comment moderation built in, which translates to zero comment spam.
4) WordPress has a very supportive and extrememly active and zealous (and might I add, united) developer and support community.
5) MT is perl, WP is PHP (which can be good or bad)
6) You need to rebuild pages with MT, WP is all dynamic
7) In excess of just rebuilding pages, MT lags in trackbacks and pingbacks because of the rebuild
8) MT, in my opinion, can be a slight hinderance to the art of blog authoring. You can easily get lost in the deluge of plug-ins, settings and other frills. (I know this is the case from a couple of new bloggers I have helped setup with MT)
9) There is VERY active development in WP. We code new crap everyday!
10) WP 1.0 is powerful, fast, easy to customize and starting to get VERY well documented.
11) WP is put out by a bunch of people in their free time, not part of a corporation’s agenda. This gives WP freedom of choice.
12) WP spits out extremely standards compliant code
13) WP has a built-in blogroll feature (with recently updated blogs)
14) You can edit a post or a comment if you are looking at your own blog, much like a portal
15) Multiple categories per post MT has had that for a while, thanks Dennis and Michel
16) ATOM feed support MT 2.65 has ATOM support – thanks Frankie
17) Password Protected posts
18) By popular request, WP is free software
19) WP has built in XFN support

I am sure I will think of a bunch more while this is in the back of my head. I would LOVE to get some comments on this.
Here is the link to a features comparison between b2, WP0.72 and WP1.0 None of the features mentioned above are hacks. They are all part of the default installation of WordPress 1.0

Pssst Carthik: WP has an “import from MT” tool…

Please look at this list for a more detailed list of new features.

40 comments

  1. I had the exact opposite experience with MT 3.1. It was my first install too. But following the docs on MT, I was able to install it in an hour and was ready to roll. All it needed was a website hosting plan that meets the requirements, and an ftp account to upload files.

  2. 12thharmonic says:

    I must agree…WP. Rocks and the support community is wonderful!!!!!
    I master four blogs all WP!

  3. Rob says:

    Even though this post is over a year old at this point I figure I’d throw a comment down. I just migrated from MT to WP (just a few days ago in fact) Main reasons were the comment SPAM was completely out of control and I didn’t want to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of MT (due to the new license) and the SPAM fighting plugins I liked were all coded for the latest version. The comment SPAM was actually so bad it kind of kept me from keeping up with the site :(

    Got WordPress up and migrated my old MT blog over very quickly. (In fact it took me probably 5 times as long to clean out the 10,000 SPAM comments my MT blog had accumulated over the last two months than it did to install and migrate to WP!) So I now have WP up and running with a couple SPAM fighting plugins to hopefully knock out the SPAM. And if they don’t work out, I’ll simply force people to register before they can post comments.

  4. Actually, It’s not so much about speed as it is about processing. If you get a lot of visitors all having to query a database to build your pages dynamically, it’s going to slow things down a lot more than if you build static pages. Anytime you have dynamic content you are reading from a database and processing code to generate an html page that is downloaded by the user. Static pages pay off if you get a lot of traffic.

  5. shane says:

    i’ll echo rob’s comments on this aging post. indeed, i wound up with over 15,000 spam comments on my MT blog, which made it a daunting task to complete the migration to WP as well. quite frankly, i prefer WP to MT because alot of the features (including spam fighting) are built right in. drop a couple of plugins on top of it and you’ve got a solid foundation for preventing the bots from shutting u down. the install was simple, there is no rebuilding in WP, themes are way easy and using php allows for alot more flexibility. great comparison!

  6. Jonathan says:

    Or…you could just do what I did. Move from a crappy flatfile CMS like fusionnews to directly to WordPress and never have to worry about being stuck on MT =) I’ve been apart of WordPress, because one of my friends at school, and I’m glad that I am. Made a lot of new friends online through the community and have acctually had a very succesful time. With every project, there needs to be more time dedicated to it, but it’s an awesome project and I look forward to seeing what happens with it =)

  7. dennis says:

    Just a couple of quick points… I don’t mean to nitpick, but —

    MT does allow for multiple categories per post. I can’t remember exactly when this was implemented, but it’s there.

    I find it a bit overkill to call MT “commercialized”. It is, after all, free to use — as most people do. Much of the support does come from the user community, which is always a good thing.

    Another good thing is having a variety of well-supported options to choose from. There’s no doubting that WP exists, in part, thanks to MT (as do the other blogging tools). I’m glad WP is here and being supported, though. People are fickle and will follow the features they want.

    Having said that, continued WP (and other) development will force all vendors/authors to improve in unison or risk deprecation. There’s room for everybody. :)

  8. Mark says:

    I cannot believe that this many people have looked at this comparison and have had nothing to say!!!

  9. Another thing, MT 2.65 supports ATOM feeds. And, I understand the advantages of having a dynamic CS system, but doesn’t that amount to alot of resource consumptions on servers – especially for high traffic sites? Wouldn’t a cron job on MT be better for something like that?

  10. kellan says:

    I’m surprised to see “Is Free Software” didn’t make the short list. That has been a major reason I’ve begun looking at Word Press.

    Also many people consider the statically published nature of MT a positive.

  11. Carthik says:

    I read up about WP and it seems to me that though WP claims succession to b2/cafelog, b2 does not link to WP as its successor. Also blogcensus for example, list b2 as being quite popular, and WP is not even on the list!
    WP is all but invisible on the web. I think its features are better than many other tools. Why, then, this low visibility and lack of popularity? Just curious, actually.

    My other issue is that I would like to continue using my Livejournal account, and right now, after a lot of trial and error and research, I have set things up such that the Livejournal gets updated each time I update my MT blog, by using a perl script on my webserver. Can I do some such if I use WP?

    I imported all my entries from Livejournal to MT, and I can import them to WP from MT, but does all this not go to say that I have too much time on my hands? (rhetorical question ) :P

    13) 14) and 17) are good reasons.

    How does the password protected posts thingy work? Like, do i circulate one password to everyone I think should be able to read protected posts, or do I decide which of the registered users read a post? Is it all registered users or none, or is it some registered users I allow?

    Too many questions, too tempting, and thanks Mark, for being such a kind soul :)

  12. Richard says:

    1 and 2 are moot points. (I’m basically saying “yeah, so?” to those ones.)
    3) there’s no such thing as zero comment spam. Spammers will make comment moderation annoying enough for you to consider not having comments enabled.
    4) MT isn’t Free Software, but the developers let you make hacks and publish them (if not distribute them).
    5 is a moot point, as you say.
    6. with MT’s generated files, you trade disk space for performance. Life is a series of tradeoffs.
    7. a fair point, in that it doesn’t rebuild individual archives when Trackbacked. I totally wish it did. But that can be faked.
    8) “can” is the operative word: it’s no secret that MT can be difficult to install. It became popular despite that, though.
    9. moot because it’s a repeat of 4.
    10. MT is all those things too, but that’s one of those things where it depends on who you talk to.
    11. yeah, but MT has money behind it. And it’s in their financial interest to make a good product.
    12. MT also spits out XHTML, so the point is moot.
    13. MT doesn’t have that, but you can fake it by creating a weblog and using PHP includes like I do for my blogroll. Not easy, but duplicable.
    14. you can fake editing comments on your own weblog too (I haven’t tried it, but I’m confident that if I did something like this but for comments, it’d work. It’s a fair point, though: it doesn’t come out of the box with it.
    15 and 16 are things MT has out of the box now, as pointed out above.
    17. Password protected entries would a cool feature MT to have. But that too can be faked.

  13. Mark says:

    WP has just released version 1.0 and has managed to break away from the b2 umbrella with an all new naming structure. We foresee a growth in popularity of WP in the near future and all of this is designed to get WP some exposure. The password protected post is a very interesting feature. You can assign a password for a particular post so that the post (and all its comments) can only be viewed with that password. I use it for personal stuff for my parents and they know the password I would use.

  14. Mark says:

    6) MT is not necessarily that much faster than WP. Internet lags make up for about the half second execution time on most servers. Of course those numbers vary according to the host.
    11) This boils down to the debate between free software and paid software. I personally like free software which is good. :-)
    WP gives you a lot of features that you would have to fake with MT.
    Richard, thank you for your answer, Im sure a lot of people will really benefit from your research and the links that you provided.

  15. Sara says:

    Since I started blogging 3 years ago, I have used them all. I started on Blogger for a mere 3 weeks and moved to Grey Matter, then to Movable Type. I then had MT choke on me not once but twice and lose all my entries. I then hand blogged and archived all summer. I went back to MT, to give it one more shot and it choked on me again. Which is when I went to b2. I loved the fact that it used a database vs. html archives which take up tons of room and bandwidth when they are loaded! I used b2 for over a year and this past summer hooked up with WP when it was in it’s infancy.

    Having used so many of the blogging programs, I can tell you that nothing is quicker than something that’s written for mysql. I didn’t say uses, I said written. Movable Type wasn’t written for a database, it was added on later as more and more people showed interest. As a former free blog host that used MT for over a year, the money issue and the simple fact of people being courteous and nice became an issue with me. I was told in no uncertain terms that installing MT was for MT support only. It’s a long story, but that was the final straw.

    I will always use something that uses a database. I love WP and I’m finally learning a little about PHP and how to make functions do what I want.

    Just the opinion from someone that’s been there and tried them all!

  16. jackiefg says:

    I love Word Press and I haven’t even updated yet to v.1 – I’ll do this once I get everything backed up.

    I never managed to get MT working with all those add-ins, but I’m happy to be able to use WP with relative ease.

  17. Kevin says:

    I admit that I’m one of the slowest turtles mentally, but MT is freeware. Donations are appreciated and encouraged, but MT is freely distributed. Comment moderation, IMHO, is a less desirable feature than you let on. Comment moderation means that someone has to approve the comments posted, so –instead of an instant & active conversation on a topic– you have a delayed conversation. Many times comments are then subject to losing context, as the flow of comments is obstructed by some period of moderation. If you go back and look at the flow, you have several people making similar comment points, only none of them were aware of the others remarks because they had not been “released” by the moderator. Moderation cuts legitimate interaction off at the kneecaps.

    An honest comparison of MT and WP would point out that MT has been available for quote some time. Blogging “innovations” have come along since then and have been added to MT via plugins. That’s not a knock on MT, IMHO. I would expect WP to far exceed MT, because it is newer and (as you point out) is being actively coded. The fact that it’s maintaining pace with MT is more a compliment to MT than an endorsement of WP.

  18. Sushubh says:

    1 liner from me. I could not get MT to work for me when a friend asked me to install it for him while WP, I am installing for friends like I install Microsoft patches on a windows installation… :D

  19. Sara says:

    Kevin, I posted a comment on your blog in response to one of your recent entries about MT and how it needs to be fine tuned:

    http://blog.kevindonahue.com/archives/001724.php#001724

    Very interesting that you say that on your blog, but you post here on Mark’s that MT is the best CMS.

    Not trying to start an argument, but, you have really contradicted yourself.

  20. Mark says:

    An honest comparison of MT and WP would point out that MT has been available for quote some time. ….. I would expect WP to far exceed MT, because it is newer and (as you point out) is being actively coded.

    MT was the precursor for the blogging tool of today and has been the test bed and the innovator of a bunch of features that we come to expect as normal. However, this does not make MT the best. Emacs and VI were considered the penultimate text editors (among others) at one time and were precursors to our “Word Processors” of today. However, labelling them as the best there ever was, would be flawed.
    However, to play devil’s advocate, I would have to agree that MT is much more of a full featured CMS than WordPress. If you are looking for a content management system in its true form, MT fills the shoes more snugly. WP has been designed as a blogging tool and excels at being just that, thats the point I was trying to get across.

  21. Adam Lasnik says:

    I’ve just rediscovered WordPress, and it seems like a superb option for either replacing my current MT blog (at http://www.bladam.com), serving as the foundation for my new online music services review site (coming soon), or both.

    However, I do have a few of concerns:
    1) I’ve lost track of how many free software projects have fallen by the wayside when their authors lost interest. Sure, this also happens with paid companies, but when there’s money involved there does seem to be a bit more ‘sticking power’ from my experience. So WordPress’ “free” status kind of scares me.

    2) A robust and accessible community is important to me. MT boasts a huge, friendly, and easily accessible community via its forums and fan sites. WordPress, on the other hand, seems largely invisible on the Web, and — worse yet — uses forum software for its support system that is so minimalist, it doesn’t even have a search function… or even, apparently, an e-mail notification option! There are so many excellent (and free/inexpensive) forum software packages available (phpBB, InvisionBoard, etc.)… I’m really baffled as to why they haven’t been integrated into the WordPress site.

    The bottom line is that I have grown comfortable with MT — I have a template that I’ve refined over time, and frankly, everything works pretty well except for one thing: rebuilds. In fact, the tipping point for me has been that it now takes (despite optimization attempts on my part) more than 15 seconds just for someone to post a comment and have the page redrawn!

    Since WordPress is php based, I know that this particularly problem would not be an issue. But I’d sure be giving up a lot of security and familiarity to move away from MT… and I wish I felt better about the factors I’ve outlined above.

    Oh, and one more nitpick: this comment box is super-tiny, and for some odd reason, funky shadow-thingies keep slightly obscuring text as I type new lines (I’m using myIE2, an IE shell, on Win XP).

    Anyway, thanks much for listening/reading! I’ll continue to do some research into WordPress (along with pMachine and a few other blogging systems) in the meantime.

  22. Craig says:

    Adam,
    I do agree that the current forum for WordPress is lacking, but there is a SEARCH function. I think the developers like the idea of RSS feeds for the comments rather than email notification because then there is not a database to maintain, and users don’t have to sign up for anything.

  23. Geof says:

    Actually, WP is a descendant of b2, which was coded by Michel after his use of many other tools, especially GreyMatter. I remember when he first started on what was then called Cafelog.

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  25. Sherri says:

    After playing around with blogger, I installed MT because it was all the rage. It was my first big PERL install, with a few large PHP installs before it; I thought it was pretty hard to install as a newbie to web packages.

    Once installed, making it do the things I wanted, and look the way I wanted was also a challenge. I’d have to make changes in SO many places, then REBUILD to see if I did it correctly. If not, go through the files again, then REBUILD again, ect

    Not all changes required edits to numerous files, but some did require making an edit to one file, then changing archive preferences…REBUILD.

    I’ve made changes to my WP blog, and so far they’ve only involved changing 2 files, index.php and template-functions. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I add a wp hacks file, so that will make it three. Only having to make edits to three files, compared with how many I had to with MT is SO nice! Especially since I don’t have to suffer through REBUILD torture (YEA!)

    MT’s forum is pretty helpful; many times the responses came in fast too. I will agree with Adam Lasnik that WP’s forum isn’t my favorite to work with as far as its functionality (but I was able to find search LOL). I still haven’t figured out how to post code to WP’s forum so that it will show up properly. There’s no PREVIEW in the forum, OR in comments…sigh (but I saw that someone requested it at least)!

  26. Dan says:

    I’ve been using MovableType since I started blogging, and have never had any problems with it that I didn’t cause. Rebuilding is painful, I’ll admit, but it’s not something that one has to do that often. I think that MT provides a lot of flexibility, and I’ve seen it used as a great CMS (http://www.macthemes.net).

    I don’t think I’ll ever leave MT. It’s smart, well-supported, robust, venerable, and—most importantly of all—already set up to be just the way that I like it. I haven’t seen anything else that comes close.

  27. Jennifer says:

    You made a lot of excellent points. There is still so much about MT that I’m just used to, necessary or not, that the idea of switching is rather frightening. I believe that I’m going to give it a serious try anyway. Thanks for an excellent post!

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  34. Sid says:

    If we talk about the creation of pages on the fly in WP then I would like to point out here that MT is not at all lacking in this rather, it has both the options, to publish the pages statically as well as on the fly. In WP, if you need to use single installation to manage the multiple blogs then you have to install the WPMU which seems to be a hack more than a feature to extend the capability of managing multi-blogs on single installation. The worst part is at the DB when it creates a set or around 11 tables per blog. So, if you have 10 blogs in the system then you will have (11 x 10) + 9 = 119 tables in DB to support the single WPMU installation. Its really a big demerit as the single system that no. of tables going to grow tremendously.

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