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December 11, 2003, by Léon Krijnen

Time flies ...   

mtpub.jpgTime flies: a quick look at my tables tells me I've started running Moveable Type six months ago, and only now I am beginning to understand the finer things of the system. Of course you can have the system completely installed for you, or install it and then, as often happens, completely forget how you've set it up once it is running.
Once running you can use it for what is was built for to begin with: a perfect blogging system. But it can also be a wonderful (database driven, static content served) publishing system, wich can be used for a lot of different kinds of websites. Right now I'm using it to publish what I'm writing, but I'm also building an archive of some things I've been writing over the years. With the help of a very handy option: the 'Authored On' field. Movable Type allows you to pre-date or post-date entries by modifying 'Authored on' date and time for an entry.
As the articles I'm archiving sit already on my server, as well as in plain HTML as in MySQL tables, there should be an easier way than the cutting and pasting I'm performing right now. Some reasons I'll stick to cut and paste for now:

1. The old articles in MySQL consist of only one table with four different records: title (primary key), publishing date, intro, body. Using phpMyAdmin there should be a way to import the relevant data to the tables Moveable Type is using to build the static files from. But the table: mt_entries - and it's by far not the only table that has to be filled with data for one entry, I'm afraid - has twenty different records, and this table alon has more than four records that cannot be NULL. I'm sure a MySQL nerd can do the job in a minute or so, but I'm afraid my cutting and pasting does the job faster than sorting it all out by myself.

2. While adding articles by hand I reread them, so I can remove old errors, check links, or add comments and footnotes to history.

3. While doing this I peek and poke around in the system, building up routine. I've set up bookmarklets, wich give me the possibility to browse through an old index, select the text of an article, and when I rightclick 'MT it!', a new browser window opens an entry field, containing the selected text. One push and it's as well as saved in the database, as static published. Brilliant!

As I am daily using Vignette Storyserver for my job, I can see where Moveable Type could be used as a publishing system for any newspaper. The difference: a Moveable Type license is $ 150,-, (for commercial sites, free for bloggers) where a Storyserver license is something like a thousand times as much. Apart from that: Apache and MySQL are free, so you only need to add a good machine to the 150 bucks, enough bandwith and there you are.

Thinking about Vignette Storyserver, and all caching and flushing problems that come with any dynamic driven database publishing system, another beauty of Moveable Type is that it stresses the database only while building the static files. Once build you only need sufficient memory and enough handles in Apache to serve thousands of http requests in the same second.

Beat me, but I still haven't got a clue why so may IT managers always automatically seem to choose more expansive options ...

Posted: December 11, 2003 08:55 PM (579 words).   

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