Geek Love

The Big Debate, Part 2…

Don’t you just hate it when you start to write a full post about something, then you change your mind, but you forget to change the title of the post? Well, that’s what I did last night. I was a little distracted since Naomi was over to visit me and we were having so much fun laughing about the craziest things – but more about that later today.

Now, about this “Big Debate”. You see, Mike is having this huge moral dilemna over which blog software to use. This caused a huge debate yesterday about what types of systems are really the best. On top of that, I got very annoyed when he said that switching to MT would mean “being a part of the herd. Baaaah. Moooo.” (Note my reference to “Go be part of the herd” at the end of my earlier post.)

I don’t believe that using MT means you are following the herd. Heck, in order to use MT you have to make a substantial commitment to blogging in my opinion. You need a host or server that can handle running the software. This involves a monetary commitment. You need to be able to install the software, find a friend to help you out, or pay someone to install it for you.

Blogger still holds a HUGE corner of the blog world market. But from where I stand it’s a lot like AOL. Most people use it initially because it’s easy to use. As Mike pointed out, it does everything he needs to run his site – and I agree with him. Matter of fact, I think Blogger is a wonderful service for many reasons. It doesn’t require the same commitments that MT does – namely money. You can blog using Blogger for free, and that’s a really good thing. Anyone can set up a blog using it, which is wonderful – but from where I stand that causes more of a herd than the MT users ever will be.

Personally, I used Blogger first. By May, 2000 they were having a lot of server down time. I wanted to be able to blog when the mood hit me, not when Blogger would let me log on, so I switched to Greymatter. I wanted the control of everything running on my own server. Once I hit the point of about 500 posts, Greymatter couldn’t handle my rebuilds on my host at the time and MT was released – so moving was a natural choice. Since then there have been others to come on to the scene – namely pMachine – that I would love to try out, but I am similar to Mike in a lot of ways, and my site isn’t broke so I don’t want to move to a new system and I am very loyal to Ben & Mena for all of their hard work on MT over the past year. As much as I’ve supported them, they have been supportive of me and Blogomania too. In addition to that, I have friends that develop & share cool things I can do in MT. (Blogger would never be able to fit my needs for gadgets, hacks & tweaks.)

I should toss in here that Mike & I made peace over the whole debate yesterday and it ended up just being just amusing that it was a debate to begin with. Now if only he had TrackBack, I would ping his post with this post to continue the discussion…

So now I’m curious to hear what others have to say about the Big Debate. What have you used for your blog if you have one? What do you like about it? Are there pros and cons to other systems that you want to share? Do you have anything to say on it? If you don’t have a blog and you were just starting out – what would you use?

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

37 replies on “The Big Debate, Part 2…”

same route with a little extra thrown in: hand code – phpweblog – blogger – greymatter – MT. All roads lead to MT in my opinion.

Though I won’t say anything negative about pMachine because I don’t want the author going all defensive crazy on me again, the best thing about MT is that you can have it run as a simple, basic blog program or you can put in the amount of effort you enjoy to turn it into the ultimate personalized blogging experience. Other programs either stop at being simple or start at being complex. There’s no a lot of middle ground.

MT is that middle ground and as someone who likes to be able to create a blog for a day and then delete it as well as have a moderately tweaked out main blog & photoblog, I would almost have to stop blogging altogether if I couldn’t do it with MT.

Which reminds me, I have a contribution I need to go make.

I started with blogger, then blogger pro, but got so frustrated with their servers going down all the time,and my posts and archives getting lost, and their total lack of customer service for a PAID service (scores of emails to support, not a single reply), that i switched to MT. i felt completely ripped & screwed off by ev/pyra, and i’m still pretty bitter about it.

mt was challenging at first, because I’m not a tekkie. but once i got the hang of it, i loved it. you get SO much more functionality and reliability. granted you still dont get official customer service, but i’ve found the mt forums to be just as good. i can almost always get a question or problem resolved in an hour or less by posting there.

i also tried pmachine last month, just for fun. it’s pretty cool. if i were starting out or starting over, i might go that way. but for now, mt does what i need so i’m sticking with it.

I also went from hand-code to Blogger to MT (without that inconvenient little GreyMatter detour), and I think that sounds about right as a natural path of evolution for people who are as interested in the technical side of running a blog as the content side.

I agree that MT does offer enough flexibility to do amazing things, but it can be a little daunting for anyone who doesn’t have at least a little UNIX knowledge.

It’s too bad there aren’t more simple “beginner” tools like Blogger, since Blogger does have so many performance problems.

And I can’t believe people really argue about this.

I was on blogger for all of a week. It was kind of a way to get me started blogging, but I liked the gui of mt much better, just by looking at it. I wasn’t on blogger long enough to experience the downtime so I can’t say anything about that. However, I found it a little bit confusing to use. Much more so than MT. Sure, running MT is a little more costly, but it’s worth it. You don’t have to find a seperate comment software to use, and mmmm trackback. Need I say more? I don’t think I would have stuck with blogging had I been on blogger longer. I just found it to be too limiting.

I code my blog 100% from scratch. I don’t use any special software, I just use tables, fonts & graphics to add depth to my posts. I don’t have a comments area like most bloggers do as only my friends read my blog anyways & they tell me everything I need to know over MSN. But if I was going to switch to using a special tool, it’d be MT. Definately. So many of the wonderful blogs I read use it & they look startlingly better than mine does.

Keep up the beautiful, interesting work. :o)

I went from Blogger to MT. I (finally) got MT up and working, redesigned the site, but I lost all my old blogger archives before I could get them transferred.

There was an issue with a credit card — my fault — but it resulted in the loss of major blog material.

So I decided to start from scratch. But instead of going Blogger, I wanted to give MT a try. The only hitch about MT — and I detailed this on my site in an earlier post — is the configuration it requires if you’re running on a Microsoft box — WinXP, in particular.

Anyway, MT is awesome.

I used Blogger for about five minutes. I just don’t have the patience to rely on someone else’s server as to when I can and can’t blog. The host I use now has nearly 100% uptime, so I’m happy.

I switched to Greymatter, but as my site grew, I had the same problem you did, Christine…in that it took longer and longer to rebuild. Also, Noah was no longer working on upgrades to the system, while Ben & Mena are. However, the first time I tried MT, I had trouble with it, and gave up. When version 2.0 was released, I tried again, and was able to get it installed on my own. I’ve been using it ever since, and now run six blogs on the one installation!

I have no desire to try pMachine or anything else. On my own blog, I discussed a recent troll problem, and asked if people would be willing to register to post comments…something pMachine offers. However, I am VERY hesitant to do this, and would only do it under two conditions…if the troll problem got completely unmanageable (which it is not, right now), and if Ben & Mena offered this option for MT.

So basically…I’m a die-hard MT user…forever! 🙂

I agree with the other Christine 🙂 I did the same thing. I went to Blogger, then Greymatter and finally to MT. When I realized GM was not going to grow anymore, I decided to switch to MT. I think it says something about MT users if they are able to just install MT compared to using Blogger.

Actually I think I read somewhere that they were either thinking about or working on a “comment registration” “feature” – which I don’t see myself using. This came about due to a discussion about comment spamming (there’s been a few people getting the same comment, from the same spammer, on EVERY post in their blog within a span of just a few minutes (obviously some script-kiddie invention – now a spam tool).

Even if I did fall victim to the comment spam – I still wouldn’t require registration – but that’s just me. I’m glad they’re including it as an option for those that are interested in it)

Well, you know my blogging history – same as yours. “The first one’s free” – so Blogger it was… then I heard about greymatter, and then MT. My blog has become my scripty/html/web design playground now… and I think I’ve grown as a script-writer and web designer a GREAT deal due to blogging. I am tempted to play with pMachine… just because I hate that there’s something out there I don’t understand. (And being that it’s all php, it looks like a fun project). But no matter what, I’m pretty loyal to MT, and don’t see really switching my current blogs.

MT rules!!… smack Mike around until he gets it! 😉 (JUST KIDDING!)

i went the hand-coding (well, cheating with FrontPage), then Blogger, then Greymatter and now pMachine. i never took the MovableType route… i don’t have anything against it, i just didn’t feel like trying it. pMachine offers the same thing (though the multiple weblog feature is only part of the paid license copy) as MovableType… don’t know about the TrackBack feature, though.

anyway, i know all about the register for comments thing that pMachine has. honestly, i took that out of the code. i never liked it from the start. and it’s not necessary for my blog, but just because pMachine offered it, it didn’t deter me from installing it. and i haven’t stirred any shit up to have a blogroach or anything like (even though i know you don’t *have* to stir shit up to get a blogroach – there will always be someone out there that will disagree with you).

i love pMachine… it’s quick and simple and took me less than 5 minutes to install. and it also works great when your server is great (props to Blogomania).

i love the interface of pMachine, too.

i can’t really compare it to MovableType because i never put forth the research on Ben and Mena’s site. but in my opinion, they’re both basically the same! 🙂

sorry, i couldn’t contribute anymore! 😀

LOL! I’m highly amused by this post. “Huge debate” is a bit of an understatement.

The self-contained nature of MT/pMachine/any-other-except-Blogger is one of the biggest pushes for me. However, Blogger Pro (note the difference) has given me problems exactly once in a year. Maybe my experience is unique; I had issues with Blogger, but not with Blogger Pro.

Feature expansion is also cited many times here, and is another great reason to go to MT. However, I’m happy with what I’ve got. I’m not looking to add features (other than a comments system that works) – I’m not convinced that I write things that can be categorized, and I found this post without trackback, thank you very much.

Brian’s points above are my favorite so far. To quote: …a natural path of evolution for people who are as interested in the technical side of running a blog as the content side. And that’s perfect and good. It’s a great opportunity to sharpen skills, keep the mind going, and learn a lot about a wide range of technical stuff from server config to UI design. Great fun, but I do lots of that all day anyway. Besides, coffee corner isn’t my playground – I need it to be stable. I’ll play elsewhere, and quite happily would play using MT.

One other concern I’ve had raised is around security. Blogger has been a target of hackers twice in the last year. Again, I don’t know whether Pro is sufficiently separate or not; I suspect not entirely, but that’s just my guess.

The herd comment was summed up for me best in another IM conversation by Ernie:
“ohmygod, i’m not one of those boring bloggers, i’m a *real* blogger, and all those *real* bloggers use moveable type to show how *real* they are!!”
That is the mentality I’m trying to fight. Choose a CMS – be it Blogger, MT, GM, pM, or roll-your-own – because it meets your needs and works, not because it’s the coolest thing on the block. Yes, Blogger has a herd following as well, never denied it. But so does MT – I’ve seen my share of people switch for the hype, not for a reason.

So, as I’ve said all along, if I switch (or if I don’t) I’ll be able to articulate some reason for it. I’m leaning towards MT at the moment, just slightly, and am working out the reasons why.

Oh, and Jennifer? Bring it on. 🙂

(And Perl still makes the Baby Jesus cry.)

i still like pMachine because it’s ONLY php and MySQL. NONONO CGI. i think MT offers both CGI and PHP/MySQL. i did choose the pMachine route because both my hubby and my father-in-law know how to code in php (so they got my back there).

couple things to point out:

1. you don’t have to separate your posts into categories. i do, simply because of anal-organization, but you don’t have to. you just have to insert the category variable into your templates, then create the categories, and then you can separate them.

2. you will get your comments e-mailed to you as long as the sender’s e-mail address is either blanked out or not the e-mail address assigned to the blog. (which means since i comment to other comments, the comment form cookie has my e-mail address and therefore i never get my own comments e-mailed to me unless i remember to blank that field out or use one of my many other addresses.)

MT doesn’t offer a PHP option. It only offers a MySQL or Berkley DB option. There are people that use PHP to tweak their MT site further.

I personally use categories loosely – that way I can easily find something in the future. I’ve considered removing them, but I like being able to find birthdays fast, and it’s amusing to re-read the Meme Me category.

As for comments – they are e-mailed to you in MT too. You have to do a very minor hack to make your own comments not e-mail to you, but it takes seconds to do.

well, you know my preference, obviously 😉
I started with Blogger early enough on that there wasn’t an other option, and I hadn’t heard of weblogs until I found Blogger. After awhile, GM came out with its first version, and I moved to that because Blogger was going through a lot of growing pains and not letting me in to post or rebuild. I went with GM for a long time, even though it corrupted my data multiple times. I ended up hand-coding for a month while my (former) hosting company promised they were going to restore my data. And then, not too long after MT came out, I tried it out and thought it might be a good alternative because I was having such problems with GM, and it had very similar options (when I started with it). Now, MT is quite superior in my book because 1 – its still being developed and 2 – the features currently are excellent and easily customizable to fit almost any need. I love that I can go straight to the MySQL database and pull out data if I want – which makes it just as flexible (I think) as B2 or pMachine if you want it to be.
So Mike? I guess I haven’t seen a *herd* of people who seem to be just followers. I mean, I see a lot of newbies, but I kinda thing that people are mainly using MT because they have heard something about it that makes it appealing to them. Not *just* because their best friend does… 🙂

I’ve seen the same thing that Kristine just mentioned. I’ve even had people contact me and say “Oh, it’s cool how your blog does this” (the calendar or the “Back in Time” section for example) and then they ask if it can be done with Blogger because they want it too. I don’t know how – or if – it can be done with Blogger and I tell them that.

Kristine is the Queen of the MT boards, so if anyone has seen new MT users it’s her – and as she said, the majority of people that I’ve seen move do it because of cool features, but not “just because it’s the cool thing to do.”

I still say Ernie was wrong with his claim that *ALL* MT or non-Blogger bloggers think that you’re not “real” if you use the Blogger system. I have NEVER ever felt that way. I look at a blog. I read it. I enjoy it. It’s probably not until I go to leave a comment that something is revealed about their system – whether GM, pMachine, MT, or Blogger (or any of the other blog tools). If a blog is good I’ll keep reading it, Blogroll it, etc. I don’t run around looking for blog labels (Powered by Blogger! Powered by MT!) like you guys seem to think. I think that’s pretty true of everyone reading this blog – but I’ll let them agree or disagree.

So, does the “Powered by” button affect your perception of a blog?

(tee hee, I’m queen kristine 😉 )

as for the powered by button and whether I check it out . . . I do tend to shy away from blogs with banner ads. I can’t help it, I just have a hard time with popups and ads, and so unless the content is amazing, I don’t have too many blogspot blogs or hosted on a netfirms or other free account on my blogroll.
I really do like people who have comments, being GM or MT or YACCS or another system. And I do tend to find a lot of my newer reads on the MT boards since I spend so much time there; I’m really not as much of a MT-snob as people might think by going through my blogroll – its just because that’s where I live!! 🙂
dude, I just wrote another novel in your comments when I already had done that once. LOL, sorry! 🙂

I started out on Blogger just like everyone else. Then I moved to a domain and found GM. After that crapped out on me, I went to MT, till it locked me out. Then I went by hand for 4 months. I tried MT again and loved it! I finally switched to b2 about 3 months ago and I’m hooked. It’s easier for me to deal with b2, the templates, everything is PHP and CSS. Yeah, there are plug-ins and whatnots that MT has that b2 won’t ever have, but it’s still being developed. Just about everything can be duplicated in b2, I’m always on the boards asking if this or that can be done. MT is a wonderful blogging tool, just not for me any longer. 🙂 Happy Halloween!!

See, why does everyone have to go and turn just plain enthusiasm over something into Baaa, baa, you’re all a bunch of Stepford bloggers?

Not to start anything because I don’t know Mike from, well, all the other Mike’s, (and y’know H-Town blogger coolness + friend of Christine, definitely buys much leeway) but it *really* always seems to be the people talking about how snobbish everyone else is that are the true snobs. You just assume no one else had reasons for choosing a certain platform.

Really, it’s like the whole Mac, PC, Linux thing. Half the time people find obscure blogging programs to use I honestly think they’re doing it because they specifically want to set themselves above “the herd.” And that’s great if you know what you’re doing, but don’t complain about the lack of support or sympathy you get from fellow bloggers when you have a problem with the latest untried blogging program.

Oh hell, Christine doesn’t mind a little heat in her comments, I’m throwing out the gender card.

I think (I *know* in my personal blogging circle and I’m generalizing from there) that most of the people that are uncomfortable with the popularity of MT are guys. It’s like it’s a dirty blog word to every guy I know. They use phpWeblog (though I still have to design their layouts for them cause the interface only goes so far). They use geeklog. They’ve thought about pMachine. They’re willing to try anything and everything but MT.

Is it because so many women use and love MT? Is it because MT, if you don’t actually use it and know what a huge part of it Ben does, appears to be the creation of a woman? Is it taking something away from the all male tech industry to consider that a product inspired by or significantly designed by a woman is the best option out there?

Now, truthfully, all the male MT users I know are more vocal supporters of it than myself, but that doesn’t take away from the initial reluctance by most guys to try it out in the first place. It’s like with anyother super powerful, completely customizable, fully hackable tech toy every guy jumps in just for the hell of it, but with MT you have to get worn down with the disappointing results from other software before you, “Oh, well, I guess I’ll have to switch to MT. Hate to think what that says about me. Baaa, Moo.”

Christine, you must get previews! Total unintentional novel! Again! And it’s Nanowrimo and I should be saving up all that wordage! Heh.

P.S. That post was not as directed at Mike as it sounds in re-reading it. I just come across way more bitchy when I can’t copy edit. Heh. 🙂

I agree with Jennifer – I feel like using MT is a learning experience for me, and what’s more fun than that? Every so often I go back to visit my old Blog*Spot site and I get all nostalgic, but not really – I love the features that MT offers, plus a real community of users.

STILL working with Blogger. But I’m a cheap bastard and won’t pay for hosting when I can (eventually) get my own server up and running. And once I do, I’ll use my own ASP written blogging tool … doesn’t anybody else use ASP? Since I’m in the process of learning .NET for a customer, I’ll probably switch to that and then my two readers can get my blog on their mobile devices … woohoo.

Cis — No worries, never took it as aimed at me. It’s an interesting point you bring up about gender bias; hadn’t thought of it.

I want to clarify one thing about the whole baaa/mooo thing:
Both Blogger and MT have a herd-like following that use the tool because “it’s cool, it’s the greatest out there, et cetera”. In my opinion.
BOTH tools also have a large set of people outside of that herd, who have made their choices based on need and merit rather than hype. There’s just no way to classify “all” users of either setup; I know plenty of people who have developed technically adept sites based on Blogger. And MT.

And you’re absolutely right, it can quickly become a religious (or an OS) debate.

I’m still using Blogger Pro, and that’s fine with me… For now.

Here’s my deal:
** Perl makes the Baby Jesus cry. (I know MT is amazing, but I’m not going to hack it because it’s perl. and I would want to hack it, so that’s a turn off.)
** I have Blogger so geeked out, the AOL comparison doesn’t fly. (But in general, I wouldn’t argue.)
** There are things I hate about Blogger (like my disappearing archives), but a) nothing I’ve said is really worth worrying about and b) I already know some things about every other CMS out there that would bug me too. Thus making the idea of doing anything other than rolling my own not worth the trouble. (I’m jsut too tired to roll my own right now ;^)
** Other stuff, too. But I already said it all to Mike and I’m tired of this whole thing already.

Hehe, way back in the day, I used to actually post a daily devotional on my personal website (hosted on geocities at the time) every day or every few days. I would make the page by hand. That was, I suppose, my first attempt at blogging, though I didn’t really know it as that at the time. That died off with college … until last summer when I started using as my personal domain. I wanted to keep a journal online so that my friends at other colleges could keep up with me so I installed Greymatter (the only script I could find at the time for maintaining a journal locally on a site). I stuck with Greymatter through the year, though I basically stopped posting in February because it was the last semester of my senior year, and I was a bit busy with things. When I graduated, I started looking at new things I could do with my site, with the intention of providing my now-graduated college friends a way of keeping up with me. I found MovableType through an article at Webmonkey about blogging, and the rest is history. I think that the type of system a person needs depends on the person. Personally, I love to customize *everything* I use, so I love the extremely powerful templating system and plugins that MT offers. So uhhh … MT is definitely the best system for me right now. I also love the fact that I can create things that aren’t necessarily “blogs” with MT – like the calendars on my website. 🙂

I first started off with and had that for about 7 months. I used it when I was also using Geocities. When I decided to pay for web hosting, I moved to Blogger. Used it for 11 months. I downloaded a comment system I could host on my own site and it worked.

But around February, I was getting sick of downtown and “losing” archives. My sister used GM but that just didn’t look very friendly to me. I saw MT and heard how great it was and decided to try that. I’ve had it since then and enjoy using it. I like that with hacks people create and share, you can add items like smiles with a few little characters. I wasn’t able to do that on Blogger. I also like I host MT on my site and the only downtime I encounter is when my host is down.

i’m glad i followed the herd. i hand-coded for two years, then tried blogger, and eventually, moved to Blogomania! and Movable Type. i love MT. everything about it. i use it on and on miz graphics. it’s pure blogging bliss.

I’ve been with MT for nearly a year now(previously used Blogger), and I confess that while I love the fact that MT is so flexible, sometimes I wish it was simpler, easier to grow into. The number of tags keeps growing with each update, and what each does is getting more confusing to figure out. I have no use for RSS feeds. I like familiar HTML instead of XML. I’m still stumbling my way through learning CSS. I’m still using the default template because making a new one seems too daunting. [Ironically when I come across another blog using the default template I find myself snobbishly thinking “Couldn’t you have changed it at least a bit?” I’m such a hypocrite.] I guess I need to print out the MT manual some day and sit down with a highlighter.

i hand-coded for about 2 years before i found greymatter (through i checked it out a bit and looked at the instructions, but it was too complicated for me (at that point, i had never heard of ‘chmod’), so my boyfriend introduced me to blogger.

i really liked the functionality and it worked great….when it was working. unfortunately, too many times i’d get through typing an incredibly long post, only to hit ‘publish’ and see my post erased from existence due to the blogger servers being down. that was incredibly frustrating, so i buckled down and downloaded greymatter, preferring to rely on the not as unreliable servers of my host.

again, i loved greymatter at first. it did everything i wanted it to do, and when comparing it to blogger, the added features were awesome. i even got to the point where i felt loyal to noah and wouldn’t even consider any other cms’s because i liked gm so much. but when he sort of disappeared from gm involvement and there didn’t seem to be much in the way of new features coming out (other then code hacks which i wasn’t comfortable with)…as well as there being some sort of ultra-secret fight that occurred between the more well-known gm help forum leaders, i decided to switch to mt. i actually had people telling me it was too complicated and i shouldn’t try it because i wouldn’t be able to get it to work….but it was actually really easy to install on my site and i’ve been very happily using it (and eagerly awaiting any and all upgrades) ever since. i like the fact that i can run multiple blogs from one installation as well as all of the other features that it offers and gm doesn’t.

i don’t know anything about pmachine, but in that respect, i go along with the ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’ mindset. stick with what works for you….and if that means, blogger, more power to you. i’m not a blog elitist.

I think it’s interesting that no one mentioned RADIO (Userland) software here!

Via, I started a Radio blog, and I’m sorry to say I had pretty much nothing but problems with that software (and I wasn’t all that thrilled with the support, either!). Plus, at $50/yr, it wasn’t cheap.

Since I’m at least a bit of a geek, I knew I wanted to check out a program that let me blog stuff on my own server and have a lot of control over how stuff looked. I didn’t know about pMachine back then, and MT seemed like the obvious choice.

I’ve been very pleased with MT! And while I am envious of pMachine in some regards given that program’s feature set, I’m very happy in knowing that *MY* blog entries get frequently googled whereas the database-delivered pMachine entries are *NOT*. Call me vain, but IMHO it’s important for my writing to be found 😉

Links at Twenty Paces
Christine staged a Blog Debate, during which Ciscley commented about guys being reluctant to move to Moveable Type because it’s popular. She wrote: I think (I *know* in my personal blogging circle and I’m generalizing from there) that most of

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