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.
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