Movable Type and Yahoo!

As you may know, Yahoo! recently announced their offering of Movable Type on their small business hosting platform. Cool. Well today I started work on my first client using this platform. Thus far I’m underwhelmed.

The problems started before I could even get logged into MT. I couldn’t even get it installed. The process would just end, over and over again. Interestingly, when I ran the installation today with the basic settings (instead of the custom settings), it worked. I don’t know if that’s the issue. But it at least installed.

What blew me away at first was that you selected a path to install to – for instance, “blog”. This creates a “blog” directory on the server and it also creates a “blog-mt” directory, to hold the contents of MT itself. Not bad, but it could have been explained a bit better.

Once you’re logged into the MT offering, be ready for some changes. The first is that the settings are in “basic” mode. You can click on “advanced” and see the full MT control panel with archive naming and such. But it’s not there at first. Yahoo! has also done some trimming elsewhere. By default, you aren’t allowed to change the “build with indexes” setting on your templates. This is bad since the main index starts off as not being built with indexes. So it will never update.

This forum post points to a Six Apart-provided (but not supported) plugin to replace the Yahoo! version. This gives you back the “build with indexes function”. But the fun isn’t over yet.

Should you decide to save your archive templates – even if you just take a look and then save to exit, without making any changes – the template is set to publish dynamically. This is a problem as the Yahoo! offering doesn’t provide dynamic publishing support. And before you mention it, this is a feature of Yahoo! by itself as well as with the Six Apart plugin. I checked. The only way that I found to get around it was to edit the database directly.

Which isn’t too bad if you know what you’re doing. But you have to get the Yahoo! version of phpMyAdmin installed. This is easy (easier than the MT install). You set up an administrator account in the same control panel where you install the product. But be careful – the software doesn’t work in Firefox. I don’t know why. It just doesn’t. Something about a “frames-capable browser” shows up in the source code.

If you then take the admnistrator that you configured you can get into phpMyAdmin if you’re using another browser (I used the one from Redmond) and make the changes you need. But I can’t seem to get it to run queries against the database – say to install a plugin like MT-Blogroll. Strange. At least we’re on our way now.

Don’t forget about us if you’re in need of a Movable Type Consultant. We’re here to help if you’re in need.

8 Replies to “Movable Type and Yahoo!”

  1. Hey Chad. I appreciate that you took the time to write all of this. Being at the crux of the matter, we definitely feel your pain (times a few thousand). We’re working together with the YahooSB to work out the kinks and get an upgrade to YahooSB/MT customers ASAP.

    In the meantime, thanks for your patience and I’m really sorry for the inconvenience. We all look forward to letting the platform shine as we know it can. We just have to wipe off the dust and see where our first cuts don’t align.

  2. I purchased a plan from Yahoo! and found it wasn’t working properly either. I have seen a few other posts, including one at MT bugs forum, but it doesn’t help me much. I’m wondering why it’s taking so long to change (most posts were early january). I have tried the editing the database directly but I unfortunately don’t know exactly what I’m doing and just going by a walkthrough. I’m wondering if I would have better success purchasing movable type and uploading it like I did in the past or using an older version. Regardless it looks like so far the main use of the partnership is for Yahoo! to blast “powered by” and “hosted by” banners all of the weblog you create.

  3. Hi Chad

    I was talking with David Raynes about a puzzling problem with my MT blog hosted by Yahoo and he suggested that I asked you as well, as you have already some experience with Yahoo!

    I am trying to “Add Tag” to an Entry and according the the MT User Manual (p 61> To add, modify or remove entry tags for an entry) I go to my entry’s editying screen.

    Then I try to “Click into the Tags entry field”. But there is no “Tags entry fiels” in my entry’s editing screen!

    Please notice that Yahoo is hosting my site with MT v3.2.

    Do you have any suggestions as to why I can’t enter “tags” for my entry? or where I should enter them? or how?

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions / thoughts you may have on this.

  4. Ivan, you don’t mention the user manual you are looking at, but I suspect you are looking at the MT 3.31 user manual. The problem is that Yahoo! is using MT 3.2 (as you do include). MT 3.2 does support tags through a plugin, but not natively.

    So you could: Try to install the tags plugin on your Yahoo! blog, try to get Yahoo! to upgrade you, get a different host, or you could do without.

    I don’t think there are any other choices at this time. Sorry!

  5. The user manual I refer to is the one on line currently – which is probably the later version.

    So the best thing is to try to get Yahoo! to upgrade me.

    Thank you for your advice Chad – very appreciated!

  6. Hi Chad –

    Today is 9th August 2006 and it looks like nothing has changed since January. Needless to say, I too am exceptionally disappointed by Yahoo and MT’s partnership!

    Is there one source of up-to-date information that explains and details the capabilities and issues of this implementation? I am fairly new to all of this, however the lack of specific support material and pathological neglect of end user needs seem endemic in all post, in all forums, in all instances.

    I am willing to stand up and be counted; to work through this plague of errors. I am shocked that MT would demean their brand through such a lack of self-responsibility.

    Kind regards.

  7. Hi Mike – Not really. As I understand it, Yahoo! took Movable Type, customized the code for their implementation, and that’s about where things are. I haven’t heard much more since then.

    Unfortunately, most of Six Apart’s partners are in the same boat, though those who didn’t customize the code as much generally seem to upgrade a bit better, at least.

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