With its new responsive theme–Rainier–it looks like Movable Type 5.2.2 now delivers what I have been looking for to serve up this humble writing collection.
The key word there is “responsive.” Since 2010, when Ethan Marcotte introduced the concept in his seminal article Responsive Web Design, the word has been overused alongside “curated” and “”air quotes.”” It grates on some designers frazzled nerves to hear it used and used and abused, but it’s an important concept that anyone designing for the web must consider.
Designers can no longer assume their work is going to be viewed on a sprawling desktop space. Websites designed for the desktop are often crammed into a fraction of the pixels as users visit on tablets and smartphones. The Rainier theme is the first MT theme included with the installation, and that brings relevance back to the platform as far as enticing new users.
The update also includes Boilerplate, an option to build a library of recycled text to speed updates. This is a nice touch for many users, but a redundant service for users like myself who are enthralled by Smile Software’s TextExpander.
The additions of Rainier and Boilerplate make Movable Type a more attractive option for new users and a no-brainer update for current admins.
OK, this wouldn’t be a blog per se if I didn’t have something to complain about, so let me go ahead and fulfill that requirement here.
No baked in upgrade path
WordPress makes it drop dead simple to install or upgrade anything in its ecosystem. The CMS checks regularly to ensure the latest software and plugins are installed, and if they aren’t it offers to update it for you.
Movable Type users still have to depend on downloading an archive, expanding it, then manually placing files or folders correctly into other folders. Sometimes everything goes to one place. Sometimes several things go to several different places. This leads to human error and can fracture an installation if a user drops something in the wrong place.
Making this process easier should be the next action item on the MT todo list if the group wants to grow its user base, much less survive in these days of short attention spans and…what’s that?…look at the shiny!
Websites vs Blogs
Why are there are there different sets of themes for websites versus blogs? To oversimplify the MT philosophy, a website is a more or less static page to serve information and aggregate (theoretically) regularly updated blogs within the domain. It continues to baffle me why the stock installation of MT 5.2.2 Pro comes with six themes for blogs, yet only two of those themes–the oldest, least modern ones–are available for websites.
That leads to the only brokenness of this site that is driving me crazy. “Crazy,” I say! I must choose between the “Professional” or “Classic” website themes to serve the website where my blogs are now served using Rainier. The blogs look great, but I have to lead readers through an ancient ring of fire to show them off.1
Admittedly, this may be due to my use of subdomains instead of standard directories. ↩