I’m setting up a new weblog for a friend, and, because the decision was left to me, I went for what I know best, Movable Type. It’s been a bit of an eye opener.
Installing it and getting it running is actually easier than it used to be. But once you’re in the current version of MT — logged into the web app after you’ve gotten it installed and running, that is — everything is so much more convoluted than back when I got started with MT in 2002. I’m running a recent version of MT at DF, but through incremental upgrades, the convolution creep hasn’t really slapped me in the face before.
The default MT templates are far more complex than they used to be. The page templates are intertwined with a dozen snippet “include” templates. That’s not a problem if you’re going to nuke the defaults and roll your own templates entirely from scratch, but woe to the typical user who just wants to sort of tweak the default templates.
Worse, the MT posting interface — something you experience every time you post — looks like something designed by Radio Shack. I don’t see it at DF other than occasionally because I use MarsEdit to post and edit almost everything, but most people surely just use the web interface to post to their weblog.
(I’ve seen recent versions of WordPress and I don’t think it’s better in either regard, plus it has a steady stream of security exploits.)
So I’m trying to think of a reason not to just recommend Tumblr. Its default templates are good and custom templates are relatively simple. The web posting interface is wonderful. It has an OK iPhone client (from which I’m writing this). And while you give up control with Tumblr as opposed to a self-hosted weblog, the typical user doesn’t have the technical savvy to manage that control in the first place.
And Tumblr makes it easy to do useful things that are not easy in MT or WP, like having different post types for articles, pictures, and links.
I’ve always liked Tumblr from a distance, but looking at it close up for the first time, I think I like it even more.
Yet another in my continuing series of very occasional Tumblr test posts.
Still not posting here, but I am trying out the as-of-this-writing still-in-beta Tumblr 2.0 interface.
I like Tumblr enough that, conceivably, I might one day use it, but for now, this is just a placeholder to reserve the subdomain.