Upgrading to Movable Type 3.3

I upgraded my backend blog software to Movable Type 3.3 today. My initial response is meh.

When I upgraded to 3.2 I had some issues. So far I don’t have any issues with the basic functionality (we’ll see what happens when I post this entry), though several of the new features sputtered at first: 500 server errors for some new functionality and the editing buttons that let me link, do italics, bold, blockquote, etc. were missing (they’re fixed now). We’ll see what else goes wrong. If it goes the right, the best I can hope for is tag functionality.

With each upgrade I keep losing faith in Movable Type.


I don’t know if I could be convinced to switch just yet. I have too much time and energy invested in Movable Type, and if it ain’t horribly broke, don’t fix it.

This biggest issue is comment spam. I’m still using comment authentication, which means I get next to no comments, thanks to the spammers and Movable Type’s inability to stop spam. I wish they’d find a way to improve that functionality. But alas.

The other thing that grinds me is Movable Type’s instructions. They point you to a 119-page user manual and a 39-page installation guide for documentation. Since Movable Type is a powerful application it’s probably good to be thorough, but a little more usability would be good. Where did I have to go to find the upgrade instructions to go from MT 3.2 to MT 3.3? Page 29 of the installation manual, where I found these instructions:

Upgrading to Movable Type Enterprise from an existing Movable Type
installation is an easy process. Simply follow the steps below:

WARNING: We recommend that prior to commencing the upgrade, first make a
backup of your existing Movable Type installation and database.

  • Install the Movable Type Enterprise files over your existing
    installation;

  • Once completed, access Movable Type through your browser. You
    will be presented with an “Upgrade” welcome page and instructions
    on how to proceed (see Figure 5);

  • Upon running the web-based upgrade process, your database should
    be updated to the Enterprise edition.

Never mind that I’m not using the Enterprise edition, the instructions were too basic and too buried. It wasn’t exactly as easy as they said. The 500 server errors and missing buttons above were thanks to upgrade issues not explicitly covered in “Install the Movable Type Enterprise files over your existing installation.” If you remember exactly where all the files in your installation go and remember that certain files need certain permissions and did that as a part of installing over your existing installation, then I suppose the directions said what they needed to. Nevermind the near-panic I had before upgrading wondering if I was going to screw everything up.

Separate upgrade instructions for the specific version I have that give a tiny bit more detail doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

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