in Blogging

Movable Schmovable

Well, it’s been over a month since my last entry, but ironically there’s been a lot to write about. I had this crazy idea that I was going to upgrade to the new version of MT, but what supposedly was a painless upgrade turned into a technological Pandora’s box. For anyone familiar with Movable Type, you know it’s basically designed for geeks and tinkerers. But there was quite a bit of fanfare relating to how much more user-friendly upgrading to this new version was supposed to be. And it’s possible that in a perfect world, upgrading would’ve been simple, but the world of computers is about as far as you can get from perfect, and I certainly got a taste of some of those imperfections in the last month. If only updating blog apps could be as simple as, say, the Windows updater (yes, I was once a hard-core Mac-head, but these days it’s Windows all day long, for better or worse), which is basically a run-and-forget-about-it process (except for the annoying message at the end of the installation process that shows up nagging you to restart your computer with no way of making it stop.) The MT people seem in every possible way to be very mindful about usability so it strikes me as a bit of a mystery that the upgrade process should be so Draconian. I just can’t stop myself from thinking of apps in which all you need to do to update them is to replace the dll files (sorry, more Windows talk), rather than to have to undergo the grueling MT upgrade exercise. And to add insult to injury, whenever I went to the help files, I’d see a description of some pretty’d up automatic installation process. Hmmm, I never came across that one – instead, I ended up finding myself basically completely locked out of my own blog after having attempted to upgrade (even MT Medic would not get me back in), to the point where I decided to switch to a host with dedicated MT support, so that I don’t have keep banging my head against the wall every time they release an upgrade. Yes, I’m sure there were several things I did incorrectly when attempting to complete the upgrade, but that sort of makes my point – just as with the software itself, upgrades need to be well designed and fool-proof. What’s even more ironic is that what is being installed is in fact online (or at least residing on a hosted box), which means that, if I were designing the MT installer, I’d set it up so that the user could point the installer to the location where the current version resides, give the installer permission to write to my files (such as log in to my app instance), and then go have a cup of coffee – ironically, I think that’s how this upgrade supposedly does work, but apparently it wasn’t quite fool-proof..