Movable Type: a blessing and a curse

Movable Type–updated to 5.2 just a few days ago–is a professional content management system from which to launch a blogging platform. I have no doubt it is fully capable of presenting anything an accomplished admin can imagine; however, those new to the system must overcome the scattered documentation.

A basic glossary would be helpful. The terms “styles,” “themes,” and “templates” get tossed around quite a bit. Sometimes they seem to be interchangeable while other times they seem exclusive, which adds to the confusion. Whole sections of the dashboard are devoted to creating and managing assets, yet there is no clear definition of what qualifies as an asset. The support docs include six guides (and appendices) covering:

  1. Installation
  2. Upgrading
  3. Authors
  4. Designers
  5. Administrators
  6. Developers

Sometimes the content in these five guides overlap and struggle to separate instructions for different major versions (i.e. 4.x or 5.x). Managing a website with Movable Type involves a lot more typing than drag and drop, which I appreciate and prefer, but someone needs to get a handle on documenting the basics for beginners.

I believe the support team is cursed with prior knowledge and making some leaps in logic that leave frustrated newbies behind. Again, a glossary of common terms would be a great start. As I continue to work with MT and learn more I may even begin that project myself.