Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Movable Type 4.0 RC1

I’m now running Movable Type 4.0 RC1, and in doing so blatantly ignoring the advice about not installing over a production environment. That said, I have backed up all 20 megabytes of the database, just in case.

MT4 is big – around 13.5 MB when unzipped – and on my 2 megabit connection took around half an hour to upload. Thankfully it’s pretty easy after that as the upgrade is very simple, although as this is an early release quite a few plugins haven’t been updated yet and so I’ve had to disable quite a few of them; though none of them are particularly big or important.

So, if you can read this then the upgrade was a success and most things are working. The interface is very different but I’m liking it so far.

Update: It’s taken me a little while to get things working properly, mainly because of a MT template tag used in the wrong context on one of my custom templates (<$MTArchiveDate$> in the Entry template) which MT 3.x had no problems with but MT 4 seems to throw it’s toys out of the pram over. To be honest it’s not really MT’s fault as the tag was in the wrong context, but it would be nice if this was told to me when the entry was saved. As it happens, it just said everything was okay and then didn’t rebuild me pages for me, though thankfully I found out when doing a manual rebuild what the problem was.

Of the plugins I’ve had to disable, Fast Search is the one I’m going to miss the most – until it’s updated for MT 4.x we’re back to MT’s default CGI-based search which is much slower. I’ve also had to disable the plugin which crossposts entries to LiveJournal for the time being – sorry LiveJournal people.

Other plugins which I’ve previously used have been folded into MT’s core. OpenID Comments is now built-in, and so when you sign-in you’ll have the option of using OpenID, TypeKey, LiveJournal or Vox to authenticate your comment. There’s also the ability to add user accounts and so you’ll be able to have your own account with this site in future if I enable the option, but as I’ve previously mentioned I’m sticking with allowing anonymous comments for the time being. Markdown and Smartypants are now built-in, as is SCode for providing image CAPTCHAs, although I’ll still be using Comment Challenge which still seems to work okay in 4.0. Some plugins that are still enabled may or may not work, such as MT-Notifier which sends out the email notifications of new comments.

Rich text editing is now included, so you can format posts without having to use HTML, and it seems to work pretty well too – I’m using it for this post. In particular, adding images to entries is far easier than it used to be. There’s also the ability to preview your entries as they would appear when posted (i.e. with your blog’s design) and not just how the text will look.

I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it, mainly because I’ve spent most of the evening retro-fitting my templates into the new software, but so far I’m really impressed.


  1. Here’s a test comment with OpenID.

  2. And here’s an anonymous one.

  3. Smilies in comments do not appear to work btw 🙁
    Neither does the “Preview” option when using Typekey authentication – and when I click Submit it reminds me to enter the word elephant, but there’s no space for it on the Typekey authentication page.
    Oh – and as for uploading 13.5Mb uncompressed data to a cPanel server: meh! Did you know you could just upload the zip file (or .tar.gz) and decompress it on the server?

  4. I’m aware of the smilies issue – I disabled them when trying to work out what my template problems were, but I’ll try to re-enable them. As it happens, really old plugins like MT-Macros are actually more likely to work in MT 4.x than those plugins designed for MT 3.x (namely those designed for 3.0 and 3.1).

  5. Hey Neil,
    I’m a long-ago user of MT, but am going to take a peek at 4.0, as it looks to have some juicy features.
    Some questions for you, if I might:
    Has the developer community abandoned MT at this point? I went to the message boards, but they’re barren compared to what they were in the early 2.x/3.0 heyday I used to visit.
    I’ve personally gone on to Expression Engine for the past few sites I’ve developed, but am always interested in checking out new releases.
    Big issue for me with MT used to be how blog-centered it was, versus acting as a good CMS. Expression Engine isn’t really tied to a blogging metaphor, which gives it a lot of flexibility.
    Am wondering if MT4.0 allows for something similar. IMHO — though with limited experience — WordPress seems more suited for blogging specifically.

  6. Anthony – the developer community has moved to the ProNet and MT-Dev lists, hence why the forums are quiet.
    MT is still very blog-centred but the 4.0 release does add better support for non-blog content in the form of pages – if you’ve played with pages in WordPress you’ll know what I mean. It’s still not really a fully-fledged CMS but it has enough additional features to make it not a pure blog application.

  7. Hi Neil,
    Could you share with me how did you adjust this commenting system? Because I’m getting frustrated that my commenting system on my blog can’t appear properly.
    I’ve already tried to adjust and published several time, but it still didn’t work. Please help.
    Your comment will be appreciated.