Structured Blogging and Right Fields

Recently we’ve seen the introduction of a couple new additions to the stable of Movable Type plugins, with the pre-release of the Structured Blogging plugin and the beta release of the RightFields plugin.

Which one do you need? That’s a personal decision. Both are designed to allow you to easily extend your Movable Type installation by adding additional fields for your use while creating an entry. If you want to do less setup work and get right to entering data, then the Structured Blogging plugin is probably the better of the two, as it comes pre-packaged with XML descriptions that are ready-to-use right from the get-go.

However, unless you are familiar with XML, you likely won’t use this plugin to add additional types to your installation. It’s possible, but a little more complex than just defining extra fields. The advantage of using this method is that everyone has the same set of data that is easily machine-readable. The disadvantage is that you may not have the field(s) you want.

In that case, enter RightFields. While the technology is actually remarkably similar (in fact, I worked with Kevin in the early stages of both plugins, so we started from a somewhat common base), the end-result is different. RightFields makes it easy for you to add additional fields right there within the Movable Type interface. The disadvantage here is that what you name one field might not be what the next person names the same type of field. So search engines (for instance) may not be able to synchronize the data as easily.

Both plugins are great and add some awesome options to your Movable Type installation. If you are unsure which is right for you, then the best bet might be to download each and try them to see what sort of results you get and which one feels more comfortable for your use on a regular basis. The great thing about Movable Type is that you can always change your mind and use the other one later (though you will lose the ability to access the data already entered if you remove one of the plugins).

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