Spill, Aisle 4.0

Expecting it to take no more than 30 or 40 minutes, I attempted to upgrade to Movable Type 4.0 early last evening. With all of the hubbub about the new release, I thought there was a chance the process would go somewhat more smoothly than it did. I backed everything up and FTPed over the new files. But when I attempted to initiate the upgrade, I kept getting 500 Server Errors. Icdsoft customer service is usually very helpful, but this time they pointed me right back to Six Apart.

Eventually, I decided to delete the entire installation–go with a new installation, that is, rather than an upgrade. After deleting everything, I installed the new version. It worked well this time. The trouble was with the previous installation was drawing on a junk heap of plugins I acquired along the way–“the way” being more three years of slapdash accumulations.

I’m using MT4 now, but I’m ambivalent about the changes. The dashboard is different. Is it better? I don’t know yet. I’m not sure I like the extended entry input area appearing under a tab, and I haven’t figured out how to customize it. My first impression is that the improvements are cosmetic and/or negligible.

Greater frustration for me comes from having to reinstall all of the plugins I have been gathering over time and finding that–sadly–some of them do not work. The templates I use have tags that are unrecognized in MT 4: MTRelatedEntries, MTIfTrackbackAllowed, and MTLoopValue among them. I used related entries to associate entries based on keywords, especially in my notes blog. MTLoop relies on a new syntax I haven’t figured out yet, and there’s no telling when I’ll have time to plod through the operators to revise the code I had been using. Oh, and MTBlogroll is defunct. No real loss here. I can–and have–easily switched to a manual blogroll, and it’s not as though the list fluctuates all that greatly like it once did. But all of these changes mean picking over the templates I’ve pieced together over the years and dumping the unrecognized tags or, at the very least, enclosing them in MTIgnore as a temporary fix. Yeah, it feels like cleaning up a spill–the new fandangled installation that brought not only a slick dashboard but also a cascade of glitches in the templates backing the entire operation.

Added: The upgrade is growing on me. MTIfTrackbackAllowed is now some variation of MTEntryIfAllowPings or MTIfAllowPings. MTRelatedEntries appears to have been dropped. No big deal, I suppose. But MTLoops has left me puzzling over this snippet:

<MTIfNonEmpty tag="EntryKeywords">del.icio.us: <MTGlueContainer><MTLoop
value="[MTEntryKeywords]" delimiter=" ">
<a href="http://del.icio.us/dmueller/<$MTLoopvalue$>"><$MTLoopvalue$></a><MTGlue>,

The idea here is that an entry with keywords assigned will, when published, show those keywords as a list of links to my del.icio.us account. I can’t sort through the family of tags that I need to correct this. I suspect it involves MTVar, but I can’t be sure (nor can I get it to work). So I’ve signed up for the forums and will wait for my forum ID to activate so I can post this puzzle and get it solved.


  1. WordPress. Five minute install. I think I saw on Mashable the other day I comparison b/w the new MT and WordPress 2.2. It gave WordPress the bigger edge.

  2. I saw the comparison you refer to. I’ve considered switching to WordPress. I installed it a while ago just to toy around with a phantom blog (no entries…just plain old blog). It’s starting to seem like the more appealing option, especially if MT drops away some of the more useful tags like the one for relating entries that share a number of keywords. They’re touting 4.0 as open source and as the event that will win back their developer community, but I don’t see where the once-robust MT developers community is rushing back. Remains to be seen.

    Anyway, yes, I’m thinking about it. Always a certain inertia in the comforts of a familiar platform.

  3. Thanks, Steve. One of the pains involved with this upgrade to 4.0 comes from doing it too soon. Most other times I have waited for a few months. Yesterday’s fruitless search for helpful information in the forums reminded me why I usually wait it out.

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