Before this blog went into hibernation in 2005, I knew the blog platform (Movable Type 2.65) was in need of an upgrade. A year later, it's obvious to me that I'm driving an El Camino when everyone else has upgraded to a Prius. A change is coming soon to Common Craft.
Movable Type (MT) is a great product and it served me well for a few years, but after using Drupal for all of 2006, I count myself among the firmly converted. Going back to the old version of MT from Drupal 2.6 has not been fun. Here are a few of the differences I see between the two.
Movable Type is, at heart, a blogging platform that can be used for content management. Drupal is an open source content management platform that also does blogging and community functions very effectively.
Every time you post or edit an entry in MT, you have to wait for the site to rebuild. What a pain. Drupal posts immediately.
Editing a page in MT is only possible through the control panel and it takes 4 clicks. You cannot visit an entry and click "edit" directly from that page. In Drupal, the interface integrates admin controls into every page.
While I prefer the way MT provides the html code when an image is uploaded, I got used to simply dragging and dropping my photos from Flickr into the entry using the rich-text option in Drupal. We made this video "How We Do It: Manage a Travel Blog" that demonstrates how it works.
I like to change what appears in the right side bar of my site and MT 2.65 relies on templates to make it happen. Managing where items appear on the right bar means dealing with messy programming code. Drupal's "Block" system takes the geekiness factor down by making each part of the sidebar very manageable without contact with code.
MT was perfect for me in 2003 when I got started. Since then, MT has become a different sort of product while Wordpress, TypePad, etc. have become the choice platforms for individuals and small businesses. I'm choosing to move to Drupal because it does blogging well, but also comes with a huge selection of modules that offer an amazing set of capabilities. By moving Common Craft to Drupal, I know I can take the site in any direction I want in the future.
So, I'm becoming a Drupal fan boy, but I know it's not perfect. I still think the organization of the administration controls are overly complex. The process of uploading images is goofy, the learning curve can be quite long and it's still just a little too geek-centric for my taste. Thankfully, with each version it takes another step closer to becoming the killer app of community building tools.
If you want to play with Drupal 5.0 for free for 30 days, Bryght can hook you up. And, no, this is not a paid advertisement. :-)