Sometime over the next month or two I’m going to be rebuilding two blogging sites: this one and the Informatics Blogs server. My natural tendency is to stick with Moveable Type. v3.0 looks to be a fairly minor upgrade, and there are some other options out there. If I were going to switch, now would be the time.
I’m thinking mainly of a small number of alternatives: WordPress, drupal, and pyblosxom. Shelley’s essay on WordPress is compelling, and I’m thinking I may do demo setup to see whether it will work. If I were going to make the transition, I would do it first for my own site, and then bring over the informatics blogs server. The latter is going to be the more difficult one, with a hundred blogs to migrate. So migration is a pretty major issue.
* Familiarity: I have a pretty good feeling for Moveable Type, having used it for a couple of years now. Frankly, I have some serious cognitive space devoted to the system.
* Install base: It’s convenient when there is an active community of users. I am not looking for a piece of software that is going to disappear soon. There are lots of MT users and plug-ins, and though it can be a bit clunky in places, there’s a lot of help out there for that.
* No migration!
* Static pages: I am pretty concerned, in the case of WordPress, about what kind of load a few hundred blogs are going to put on a server.
* While I am very thankful to the Trotts for bringing forward MT, and for making it available to a growing community, I am concerned that it is a proprietary system.
* It’s also a bit harder to develop for. My hope is that so much of WordPress is in the database that admin tools will be easier to write. And, of course, these can then be released to a larger community of educational bloggers.
* Dealing with multiple users. I would be willing to pay for an MT Pro that allowed for easy account management. I figured this would follow Typepad pretty quickly, but no such luck. As it is, I need to give students enough room to hang themselves, without enough to mess up the entire server. And I need a way to do mass creation of blogs and of users. I wrote some tools that did some of this last year, but there were a few bugs that needed to be worked out. I may work these out, or I may start from scratch with another system. For the server system, the use of PHP means that I may actually be able to create multiple instances of the blogging system rather than the more centralized system I am using for MT now.