mt with plugins vs. typepad: which do you prefer?

Okay, I’ve rebuilt the entire old WWdN database, and made significant progress on the relaunch of WWdN:2.0. I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Mike Pusateri, who pulled the entire WWdN databse, pre-fuck-up-by-wil, including all the comments and everything, and put it into a 38MB text file for me to import back into WWdN. Thanks to some help from Movable Type support, I was able to put the old entries back online, and add the WWdN:iX entries to the pile. (Don’t bother looking at WWdN; they’re not in a public directory, yet.)

So this is a HUGE step toward relaunching WWdN, and now I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. I’d like to solicit some advice, if you don’t mind, from the bloggers who still read me.


When I return to WWdN: 2.0, I have a couple of options: I can domain-map WWdN to TypePad, so you’re visiting, but I’m managing the content from TypePad, or I can switch back to MT 3.2, and hope to mimic as much of TypePad’s functionality as I can via plug-ins, while duplicating the super-easy WYSIWYG editor with ecto, and something as-yet-undiscovered for Linux.

The thing is, I’ve grown to REALLY like the TypePad interface over the
last several months. The WYSIWYG editor is hawesome, and adding new
sections to the right side of my blog (like the synidcation buttons, the book and music recommendations, advertising, etc.) is as simple as clicking a few
links and pasting a little bit of code. I really like how easy TypePad
has made everything for me; it’s allowed me to put my energy into
creating content that hopefully doesn’t suck, rather than mashing away
at annoying code that never seems to validate, anyway.

And that’s where this post comes in. If you’re an MT 3.2 user, what are your must-have plugins? If you’ve used them both, is MT 3.2 more or less useful for managing enclosures (for the RFB) than TypePad? Have you been able to make MT 3.2 act as sort of a CMS, the way I’ve described above? (Please don’t bother telling me to use WordPress or Drupal or whatever CMS you totally love. I’ve done a lot of research, and I’ve determined that it’s going to be MT 3.2 or TypePad.)

There are some changes coming with the redesign that I think you’ll all like: no more lame fixed-width fonts and cells, a mobile version, better integration of things like flickr and technorati, and some of the really cool things that we’re doing with metroblogging.

I’m still working with my friend on all that stuff, so the re-launch of WWdN isn’t going to happen right away (surprise), but I can at least see the soft glow of a new and super-cool website on a distant horizon.

41 thoughts on “mt with plugins vs. typepad: which do you prefer?”

  1. I think you’ve already made your decision and just need some help realizing it:
    I really like how easy TypePad has made everything for me; it’s allowed me to put my energy into creating content that hopefully doesn’t suck, rather than mashing away at annoying code that never seems to validate, anyway.
    You’re a writer, not a web designer. As a professional computer geek, I’ve seen far too many talented people get sucked into the trap of searching for perfection when “good enough” will do the trick nicely. You’ve done everything on your own by hand for years; you don’t have to prove your geek cred to anyone. You’re earned the right to take advantage of a system that offers you greater efficiency and takes less of your precious time to manage.
    Do what *you* need to do with it. If you like TypePad and there’s no major flaws that you can only cure by moving to MT, then stay with TypePad and keep your energy focused on getting your blog on.

  2. I’m a blogger and not a user of either service, but IMHO I would recommend MT. I’ve tried Typepad before and I agree it’s got an excellent interface, but if somewhere off in the future they make a change you don’t like, or you want to add some functionality to WWdN that can’t be easily integrated with Typepad, you might end up longing for the freedom of a more customizable system.
    Incidentally I recently posted a comment on your Technorati post asking about the status of WWdN, so it’s great to get a recent update. Thanks!

  3. I vote for Typepad. Typepad does have it’s limitations, but it’s totally customizable if you have the chops to get under the hood and modify. Also, Typepad has some of the best customer service I’ve ever dealt with. Lastly, a good chunk of your readers are coming in via newsreaders. The design is way secondary to the content.

  4. You already know you like Typepad. It seems to me that your only question is whether MT will be able to match its functionality. So, do you really think you need to be asking this question in the first place?
    Make yourself a list. Does Typepad present you with any limitations you really wish, on a weekly basis, weren’t there? Is switching to MT going to be worth the extra effort, given how much you like Typepad?
    -Jon (humble reader)

  5. Have to say Wil, that looking back at the old WWdN site…this typepad interface is a lot simpler to navigate etc…as Devin suggests in the first post…you’ve sort of already made a decision there…content first…fancy bits later? Either way…as long as the daily dose keeps coming we’ll still be here!

  6. What I like about TypePad is that it *doesn’t* let me tinker too much. With MT, knowing that every little thing can be tweaked, I get tempted to spend too much time on that (and often screw everything up in the process).

  7. Will,
    I vote for TypePad. TP seems to give you a better balance between spending time writing versus making technical mods/fixes. And as you mentioned a few months ago – you don’t want time spent on the site to take away from what is really important to you. I think TP is an easy choice.

  8. Wil,
    I myself have been thinking about making that switch… and I cant decide ether.
    MT is more customable
    TP is way easier.
    Just depends what your looking for Wil

  9. Dude, like everyone else (mostly) said. Stick with TypePad, it’s obviously working for you.
    You can always change your mind again in the future anyway.

  10. I like WordPress. I switched when MT changed their pricing model with 3.0 and I find WP a lot nicer to work with. I especially like the dashboard for the admin section which makes it very easy to do common tasks.

  11. I use both Typepad and MT actively. Typepad is really geared towards people who are happy using the default templates with a few tweaks, can live with the limitations of Typelists for sidebar items, and don’t plan to go into Advanced Mode and tinker with the templates. So if that fits what you want, then it’s great. I’ve found that trying to do things in the Advanced templates in Typepad is an exercise in frustration. So if you think you might want to customize your site at any point, then MT is the better choice.

  12. When you get right down to it Wil, the best choice for your readers is whichever system makes it easier and more enjoyable for you to use, thus ensuring you’ll post (more?) often.
    Personally, I really dislike the Typepad templates. At 1600×1200, this site is rendered as a single middle column that only takes up about a third of the available real estate.
    Still, I keep coming as long as you keep posting. So, in the end it really doesn’t matter.

  13. Thich Nhat Hanh said “There is a word in Buddhism that means ‘wishlessness’ or ‘aimlessness.’ The idea is that you do not put something in front of you and run after it, because everything is already here, in yourself.”
    You’ve already answered yourself Wil. You enjoy TypePad. Don’t run after happiness. :)

  14. Wil, I personally like the look of this site a lot, and I really like that you are spending more time writing since you’re not so busy with the tech stuff. I just use blogger, so I can’t tell you which one’s superior, but if you’re happy with this, roll with it. And you CAN always change your mind later.

  15. How much of a CMS do you really need? The core of your site is this blog. If it’s easier for you to write this blog in Typepad, then use that. The other stuff can be coded by hand and linked to/from here. Would they let you use the domain instead of
    As for your question about MT plugins… I use BookQueueToo to create a list of what I’ve read (and when I’ve read it), as well as displaying the most recently read book(s) on the main index of my site. I think Blacklist and SpamLookup come standard with MT now. Those are essential. I’ve also moved to complete moderation of comments via TypeKey. All trackbacks are manually moderated.
    I don’t deal with enclosures, and most of what I post is text, so a WYSIWYG editor isn’t a concern for me.
    MT 3.2 has a much cleaner user interface than previous versions, and there’s less tinkering when installing plugins. I like having the “what do I have installed” interface that also allows me to disable a non-functional plugin with a few clicks.

  16. I just want to pipe in with another vote for wordpress. After trying it for the first time a few months ago, I’ve installed 1.5 and 2.0 everywhere I get the chance, from blogs to podcasts to the nonprofit where I work. It’s incredibly easy, both to work with and to post to, and the available themes and plugins are amazing.
    That said, WWDN:ie has been wonderful, if it’s working for you, don’t go fixing it!
    -Eric Skiff
    The GlitchCast

  17. I agree with the first comment, and all those in the same vein. Go with Typepad. It’s what you like. On the other hand, if you like Typepad, but want something easier, and MORE! Try
    Check out for an example of an integrated blog. No, it’s not my site. No shamless advertizing for me 😉
    I think you’ll find there’s a lot of customization available there too. A bonus – I don’t know if this is available on Typepad – is that you can modify or even create your own template. That’s right. It’ll match the colors and style of WWdN :)

  18. FWIW, stick with TypePad. If it’s making your life that much easier and providing what you wish for the editor, then go for it! I’d rather see you back to writing than fudging around with more software, at least, not until “Kids” is done :)

  19. Here’s me beating a dead horse, but… “There’s this tool I love to use. Should I replace it with a different tool that I will have to modify before it can do what the first tool already does?” Um… No.

  20. If we non-blogging-types get to vote, please chalk mine up for whatever way is the easiest / most efficient to maintain the current layout (the “pre-disaster” version of WWDN was getting pretty busy, and the current design is much cleaner and much more readable.) It’s looking like Typepad works pretty well for that (or, at least, you haven’t found any way to break it yet… ;), so I guess it’s a vote to stick with that.

  21. My vote is for Typepad, as it is easy. It definitely looks better than the old site as well, but what we’re here for is your blog and Typepad does it very well. Very very well. Very well.

  22. Best tool for the task, Wil.
    As others have said, it sounds like your decision’s already made for you, you just have to realize it: TypePad.
    WordPress folks: dudes, he already said he wasn’t interested, give advocacy a rest some time. :)

  23. You’ve been using TypePad for awhile now. Us readers have adjusted to the look of the TypePad. Why go back to WP?
    My Vote? TypePad.
    (After WWdN is back up we’ll all spam you with love letters about our favorite CMS.) ;o)

  24. As a linux sysadmin I say use what works best for you. If a tool is easy to use and gets the job done then you’ll like using it and thus use it more. The hell with “cool”.
    As a reader it’s not the look or feel, it’s the content. We’ll come to read you whatever you use and wherever you are.

  25. I would suggest movable type over typepad for reasons totally unrelated to ease of use.
    With Movable Type you agree to their terms of service and install the software. If you were so inclined, (security reasons not considered) you could never upgrade and you would just have to abide by the TOS you agreed to before MT’s installation.
    With Typepad they could change their Terms of Service and force you to agree to it in order to continue it’s use.
    Although it would probably never happen, if you were to say something that SixApart REALLY did not like, they have the option of changing your TOS and forcing you to self-edit from then on.
    Also there’s something to be said about actually running your own site. It’s like geek credentials. 😀
    As far as plugins for MT; I like several of the plugins at such as typekiss and open id comments (lets livejournal users comment.)
    Also the photo gallery plugin set at (which includes by default several popular plugins as well.)

  26. I just started reading your stuff within the last couple of months, so, I like typepad. But no matter what anyone tells you, follow your heart, your gut, because ultimately it is you that has live with the choice. People who like what you have to say are going to read whatever, wherever you post.

  27. You might as well keep with TypePad at this point (just take regular backups in case you change your mind). It seems to do well by you, it takes stress out of your life, and there’s certainly some latitude for indulging the tinker-urge in the appropriate tier.
    Your work seems the better for having made the interim transition. Whatever makes your life easier.

  28. You said regarding Typepad “… it’s allowed me to put my energy into creating content…”
    That is the answer to your question.

  29. I’ve tried most of them as well. Typepad was the best of the hosted solutions I tried. WordPress made me gag, and the coding was… *shudder*
    I settled on e107 ultimately for reasons other than style or ease of use, and wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone who didn’t have a specific need.
    Geeklog was my runner up, but had missing functionality for my purposes. Again, not a fan of the coding, but oh well.
    In the past I’ve used PHPNuke, PostNuke, Slashcode, Drupal, and a few others that were installed and deleted within days or hours. Plus a couple of pure Forum systems.
    The conclusion I’ve come to is if it works, use it. If typepad fits the bill, and you are currently using it, then just keep on keepin on.

  30. Performancing for Firefox

    Well, I discovered the blogging client for me – its called Performancing and it seems to met the requirements – it works in both Windows and Linux, enables me to blog whenever I’ve got Firefox open, and supports TrackBack, so, this post is written us…

  31. I’m kinda in the same boat you’re in Wil, maybe not to the same extent, and I think I made a comment to this effect earlier.
    I have a blog on a domain running WordPress that gets a half million hits a year, and another little dipshit blog on Blogger that gets 1% of that.
    Thing is… if the stuff that is available to us now, like Blogger and Typepad, were available to me back when I started, I would never have poured the hundreds upon hundreds of dollars of cash into hosting it that I have. The turnkey solutions like Blogger and Typepad (and others) are light years ahead of where they used to be, and I’ve always said that if my hosting company ever goes tits up, I would be blogging on a freebie or a low-cost solution like Typepad in a heartbeat. But for now, WordPress is running, my domain is running, all is well with the world, and I won’t go into damage control mode until there is a reason to.
    You have a reason. WWDN 1.0 went tango uniform. As for me personally, as long as I have an RSS feed, I don’t care what you use, because I will read you through RSS anyway.
    You just gotta follow your heart and use what YOU like. Ham is ham whether it’s on rye or a white bun.

  32. I prefer using MT because I like to tinker with the look of the site. I find that the look and artwork can be a good way of expressing myself when I don’t feel like writing. I suppose it comes down to whether or not you’re trying to make a personal statement with the look of the blog as well as the content.

  33. I’m a web designer but not a blog expert by any means.
    I agree with the majority about going with what is easiest for you. If you want to just write, then stick with the easiest option.
    However, based on using MT, I personally really like the control and design options. Sure, content is king but I like to be able to have a blog that looks really unique. Considering you’re a fellow artistic and geek, you might enjoy that kind of control. I do though probably my visitors couldn’t care less.
    Once you set up your MT templates, it’s pretty quick and easy. I discovered that a podcast ( had gone wonky yesterday and I changed the file name on several templates and updated the site in about 10 minutes.
    Just my $.02.
    I enjoy your writings and podcasts. Thanks for both.

  34. BTW, you CAN mix up the templates and CSS if you like – check out something like pvr blog, or lots of other featured weblogs.
    this message brought to you from a Six Apart employee, who loves WWDN.

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