Why/What Movable Type

May 19, 2004

I had someone ask me about why I need 20 Movable Type weblogs to power my employer’s website (this post will also answer Mena’s question ). And basically I need the 20 to act as categories for our various sections, since Movable Type doesn’t have a sub-category function. Sure I know about the mt plugin, SubCategories , but it doesn’t work in a way that I find useful.

Basically, each section is setup in Movable Type as a weblog. From each of those weblogs I setup categories as need, to create the sub-categories of the section.

So something like an about section would have a setup like the following:

Main page

– About (MT Weblog)

– Fast Facts (category in MT weblog “about” but sub-category in section “about” on website)

The main page of the site is controlled by one weblog that writes to the front page and handles the coding of the various SSIs we use throughout the site. I call this an administrative weblog since it handles the previously mentioned SSIs, various scripts, robots.txt and unique pages like our contact form.

We save our templates in an external file for use among the various weblogs. Using a dynamic template wasn’t something I particularly wanted for the site. In case our system we down, static files & human readable URLs are always better. It’s one of the reason why I chose Movable Type over a “proper” CMS.

We also run our banner ad system as a MT weblog. It allows us to just use the same system, along with a service build into IIS to manage the promos across all of our domains.

Our Event & Classes calendar, an event portal for the City of Chattanooga, & the online versions of our publications are all going through Movable Type. The only thing currently not being powered in any form is our health information section, MyHealth. 99% of the site is at least using four ssi or templates from Movable Type. Our jobs section is built with a couple of imbedded ssi’s in a non-MT application for the jobs.

Since we’re the big hospital in the region, with Trauma I status, we receive all of the major events in the area. At that time, 24/7, the site turns into an international media site, where we post press releases and status information within seconds of learning the information. The last huge event we’ve had with this system, the basic text was being dictated to me from a press conference to go online via the handy MT browser bookmarklet. CNN, BBC, and others received this information at the same time and were being directed toward the website for further information. This also allowed the staff to work with the onsite press better, since they weren’t constantly fielding the calls from every major news source.

Right now, Movable Type is the lifeline to our online presence. It handles no where near the visits as the Instapundit, but it’s doing something unique that very few non-weblogs are doing. And I would almost say we were the if not one of the first to do so. I’m am probably one of the few people, who don’t work for SixApart, making a living working daily with Movable Type.

So with everything being said, you’ll understand why I originally miffed about having to pay $799 for the categories of my site and why I’m still a little miffed that adding a category to the site would roughly cost me $10. Thankfully SixApart realized that one site could be made of of many weblogs. From sideblogs on a site like this, to my events page at work, these are only parts of a whole.

So while I’m still not sure that we’re not going to drop our use of Movable Type, it’s still going to get my personal money for now…just not as much.