To borrow Kate Bush’s phrasing:
Ryan, it’s me, MT, come home
Which is rather periphrastic way of saying that my web site is once again powered by Movable Type. It’s been years, over a decade I’m sure, since this has been the case. I left it in frustration after the licensing changes which happened in the 3.x release cycle. At the time dynamic web sites powered by tools like Textpattern and WordPress were becoming increasingly popular. I too was swayed. Not by WordPress, an unsightly tool, but by the former: Textpattern. Created by the Internet’s friend, Dean Allen, it was a beautiful tool meant for writing – something you could feel throughout.
Time has passed. This website lived on powered by Textpattern for several years before becoming ignored and eventually completely abandoned. Last year I once again took up the mantle of writing and I happily turned to my companion Textpattern. In the intervening years Movable Type had fallen from favour (in the West at any rate) and moved back to being commercial software. I disregarded it.
Time has passed. These days it seems most forward-thinking people prefer to serve static HTML whenever possible. There are some tools like Jekyll and Grav which are powerful, extensible and fast. Given that my web host charges a monthly rate for storage and cycles on a MySQL server, it was compelling to give it up.
The current version of this site («six») started life on Jekyll. Its templating was simple and it took very little time to get a working site. More advanced features like pagination and different archives aren’t immediately available, though it’s easy enough to find and install modules that enable them. This, though, is part of what turned me off of Jekyll. I want a little more scaffolding.
The thought of Movable Type floated back.
With a little searching it was easy enough to locate old (and free) versions of Movable Type. The real problems came in running such old software on modern versions of Perl. With a few modifications it’s entirely possible, however. Having not used Movable Type for so long, I aimed for the version still most-loved by people like Jason Kottke, John Gruber and Jason Snell, version 4.
Time passed. But not much. I did the core of the transition to Movable Type in a couple hours on Sunday afternoon. That alone was enough to publish the site and call it ‘good enough’. In the week since, I’ve built out linked entries and proper archives. Movable Type is still just as comfortable to work with. Mind you, I have very few and quite simple templates, but nonetheless it’s still a pleasure.
I opened the window and in flew my web salvation.