Software, Digital Content, Geopolitics, Economics & More from of a Libertarian Serial Expat and Entrepreneur
Tim Appnel, one of the developers most familiar with Movable Type, provides some interesting perspective about MT 3 (Tim helped us architect and develop some of the things done at MarketingVox, where by the way I’m not active on a day-to-day basis anymore):
"Perhaps 3.0 isn’t deserving of the dot 0 label, but I could argue otherwise so its a grey area. The real problem is that the lack of updates to MT has created an anticipation that did not forsee or properly address through their communications in order to manage these expectations. It is here were the radio silence has been so damaging. I can only hope they see how damn important this is going forward and make it a priority and not an after thought as they have. They make a tool of collaboration and communication after all!"
I’m not an insider like him, but I think I can reverse-engineer what happened and not miss the mark entirely (feel free to contradict me):
Now that Six Apart belatedly came out of the closet (rediscovering – gasp! – weblogs in the process), some power users and developers are upset by the lack of communication and unexpected twist of events. To that I answer, come on, you could see it coming. Silence conveys meaning. Which doesn’t mean Six Apart shouldn’t have spoken out sooner, as customers and partners are not supposed to read tea leaves to understand your direction, but let’s not be disingenuous with faked surprise either.
Notice that Joi Ito is also involved in Technorati, another blog tool faced with scalability challenges but ultimately having more potential for its API than as a destination by itself. Apart from the lapse in communication, Six Apart did the right thing from a long-term perspective, but now they need to flawlessly execute a channel and ISV strategy (and the MT 3 plugin support had better deliver!), or they’ll have momentum sucked out of their lungs. Were that to happen, the likely outcome is for MT to move to the sidelines while Typepad is where the action happens, as it seems is already the case with the distribution/localization deals outside of the US. The company could succeed in that configuration, though that would be a historical turn of events for its founders and users.
If MT can be expanded with rich plugins (many of the current plugins are really just a bunch of PERL regular expressions wrapped as a macro to execute simple operations — not that there’s anything wrong with that), they’ll end up beating the competition on the very feature front where they are currently disappointing their fans. Userland tried to play that role on top of Radio but that was too arcane to catch up (simple things being hard to do). I don’t know if anyone else is really trying but for some .NET developers here in there.
05/13/04 update: MT 3.0 Developer Edition, contest, network, Tim Appnel’s article at O’Reilly.
I'm CEO of an online trade publishing firm in the marketing and defense verticals. We try to make news and data digestible and useful in an environment that is more noisy each day. This personal blog mixes my thoughts and interests on politics, business, software, and more, based on my business and personal experiences. Over the years I have posted items that turned out spectacularly wrong, and a few posts that stood the test of times better. Personal views only.