I have started the leg (and keyboard) work for moving off of Manila for this site (to Ben and Mena’s fabuloso Movable Type), and have started to put together the list of functionalities for which I need to find replacements or methods of implementing.

  • Search engine: I want to find a search engine that runs locally, and works with Movable Type’s MySQL database-driven format. It would be nice if I could have it index multiple sites, so that the other people I host can use it, as well.
  • Pseudo-static pages: Most sites like this have pages that are more static in nature (e.g., an about page, or a site map). Movable Type is phenomenal when it comes to weblog-type entries, but for pages that are more static and that I want wrapped in the site’s template, I need to figure out the best solution.
  • Log and referrer browsing: I built custom Manila plugins for both, and I’d like to continue having the information when I move to Apache on Linux. My referrer browser is pretty simple, just showing the various referrers and the number of times per day that they’ve sent people this way; my log browser (which isn’t available to anyone but myself) is pretty complex, showing pretty much all the data available for each individual hit to the webserver.

I’d appreciate any ideas that anyone has — pointers to tools that you’ve found to work well, tips as to things to watch out for, and whatever other expert advice that you’ve all accumulated.


Moveable Type seems to be a fairly interesting product. However, have you read all of their legal pages?

Items 5 and 6 in either their personal or commercial license would preclude me from using their software on any site I ran. Item 6 says they can change the license at any time. I would not receive any notice from them that the license has changed, but I would have to visit their site on a regular basis to see if it has. Item 5 says that Moveable Type can revoke a license at any time; my only recourse would be to remove the software completely.

Moveable Type also has a interesting definition of what constitutes a business site in their FAQ. You may find your site convered by their definition of a business site. I’m not sure that their FAQ definition of a business really jives with their non-commericial EULA. (For example, their FAQ describes any government use as business use. However, government use does not seem to preclude the use of the non-commercial EULA.)

Aesthetically, I also dislike software packages that require that I link to their site. Interestingly, this requirement does not seem to be part of MT’s EULA, but seems to be only included in their FAQ.

Finally, I’m a little curious if MT’s licenses run afoul of Sleepycat’s Berkeley DB license. However, I’m not so curious as to actually do a ton of research. :-)

• Posted by: Sam Greenfield on Jul 23, 2002, 2:22 PM

Search engine: An independent developer created an add-on module called MT-Search. He’s no longer actively developing it, but has given his code to Ben and Mena; apparently, they plan to integrate it into the official distribution eventually. I don’t know if the search supports the MySQL version of MT.

• Posted by: Brennan on Jul 23, 2002, 4:37 PM

Take a look at pMachine, Jason. It has integrated search, along with a lot of other goodies that make it a viable MT alternative.

• Posted by: Alwin Hawkins on Jul 23, 2002, 5:47 PM

Oh, I’ve installed pMachine and started a weblog here. If a slightly demented old critical care nurse can do it, you should have no problems.

• Posted by: Alwin Hawkins on Jul 23, 2002, 5:50 PM

There are a lot of scripts available to process log files. Check out http://www.xav.com/scripts/axs/index.html or http://awstats.sourceforge.net/. There are many scripts available at http://www.cgiextremes.com/Scripts/Logs_Site_Statistics.

I’m not necessarily recommending any of these packages. It can be fun to roll your own package.

To configure referer logs, check out http://httpd.apache.org/docs/mod/mod_log_config.html. It is a fairly nice guide on how to configure your logs. It’s for Apache 1.3; I haven’t read up on 2.0 yet.

Once you set up a referer log with something like “%{Referer}i—-%U”, you run a commad to simply split on the “—-” and then summarize the results via “sort |uniq -c”. This can actually be a little tricky, but it is feasable.

• Posted by: Sam Greenfield on Jul 23, 2002, 7:49 PM


We consider a site “commercial” if it meets any of the guidelines in the FAQ, under “What constitutes a business or for-profit site?”. So when the license says “if your site is commercial”, it doesn’t just mean, “if your site is a business”—it means, “if your site meets any of the criteria in the FAQ defining what is commercial”.

W/r/t your concerns over the termination and “changes to terms” clauses: we agree that the license for an install of MT should be fixed at the terms that were in place for MT at the time of that version’s release, and wouldn’t be updated unless the user downloads a new version or switches to the commercial license. We’ll be updating our license to reflect that intention shortly after we return from OSCON.

Thanks for pointing it out, and feel free to email with any other concerns you have over our licensing.

About Berkeley DB: the Berkeley DB license only applies if the Berkeley DB software is being redistributed. We are not redistributing Berkeley DB—along with the Perl interface (DB_File), it is installed by default on most Unix servers.

Finally, the link to MT can be on an about page for your site—it does not have to be on the front page, nor does it have to be an image. A text link is fine.

• Posted by: Benjamin Trott on Jul 23, 2002, 8:12 PM

I also have resisted using MT because of licence concerns, in particular the rule against distributing modified versions (or patches, I suppose).

And I’m also annoyed that though MT makes heavy use of much GNU or similarly licenced software (representing several orders of magnitude more work than has gone into MT) it is not GNU itself.

• Posted by: Michael S. on Jul 24, 2002, 12:09 AM

A few replies…

As for Jay Allen’s MT-Search, I just installed it in all of about 120 seconds, and it works perfectly. I’ll play around with it a bit more (and the big test will come when I see how well it scales, which will be when I manage to import all the entries from QDN over to a MT site). Awesome work, Jay.

As for pMachine, Al, I installed it on my Linux box at the same time last week as I installed MT, and I plan to play with it a bit. All in all, though, it seems clunky, and I’d rather be supporting the fab Mena and Ben.

Sam, I’m glad that Ben responded to you; although I don’t your concerns as closely to heart as you do, I see where you’re coming from, and it seems that Ben has done something to clarify things a bit. Ben, thanks for doing that — yet another reason why I like supporting MT.

And Michael, as I recall, one of the big points of GNU is that you can choose to have as restrictive a license as you want on your product. So goes life.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jul 24, 2002, 1:00 AM

I’ve never used it, but I’ve heard a lot of people recommend Analog for logfile analysis. As far as your pseudo-static pages go, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • You don’t have to use a lot of blog code in your Movable Type templates; you can create an extra index template that doesn’t list any blog entries, for example. Create a few template modules with the main elements of your page design (header, sidebars, footer) and use them in your main indices and pseudo-indices alike.

  • Alternatively, you could use MT’s “Link this template to a file” feature in concert with some other page design or templating software. That way, you could manage your MT templates and your static pages using the same tools.

Not that I’ve done either of those myself, but I’ve been trying to figure out how I might want to do some more complicated things in the future.

• Posted by: Brennan on Jul 24, 2002, 1:12 PM

S’okay; if MT doesn’t live up to expectations there’s an import tool for MT and GM weblogs. :-)

• Posted by: Alwin Hawkins on Jul 24, 2002, 3:31 PM

Brief progress note: last night, I wrote the Frontier script that exports the entries from a Manila site to a file in the Moveable Type import file format. It only handles the text posts, for now — but it also handles the comments, threading them correctly onto each post in the way that Moveable Type wants ‘em.

Next step to add to the script: export all the images to a folder, so you can save ‘em all over to the Moveable Type server.

Of course, if anyone’s interested in getting their hands on the scripts, just lemme know.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jul 24, 2002, 7:30 PM

Due to technical (frequest crashes) and personal reasons (discomfort with Winer’s abusive rants), I am interested in switching over to MT, which I already use for a private family blog. In my case I am on Radio (http://radio.weblogs.com/0108719/), and what has stopped me so far is not knowing how to move my existing posts over.

Please excuse my extreme technical ignorance, but would your Frontier script also work for Radio, or do you know of any way to move the posts over from Radio?


• Posted by: Tim on Jul 25, 2002, 2:34 AM

Jason — You should be aware that, at present, MT does not have any membership functinality. So if you want visitors to register before being able to post to your site (as happens in your current site), you’d have to go with something like pMachine.

• Posted by: Derek on Jul 25, 2002, 2:39 AM

Hey Jason, I can be pretty fab too! ;-) You know, I’ve often heard the Trotts praised for their passion, work ethic, professionalism and sheer commitment to their product. Even though I don’t know them personally, I can vouch that this is true, with perhaps more authority that most. How? Because as a developer of a similar product, and as someone who exhibits the same qualities toward my users, I know just how difficult this is. The drain on ones time just to offer a high level of tech support is staggering, not to mention ongoing development, business concerns and ancillary projects like book deals (which we are both in the midst of. Btw, Ben, we are covering MT pretty extensively in our book, so you’ll probably be hearing from me.). I work 16 hours a day, seven days a week to further the cause of pMachine, and I have no doubt the Trotts do the same with MT. I’ve often thought that if we weren’t direct competitors we’d probably be very close friends due to our similar values and work ethic. But alas, we are competitors - and competitive people - so we may never be able to fully cross that threshold. It’s an interesting dichotomy; while I have tremendous respect for the Trotts and what they have accomplished, it gives me great joy to hear pMachine spoken in the same breath as MT, and with some regularity, chosen over it. Frankly, pMachine is a much better product as a result of the existence of MT, and I’d like to think the converse is true as well. In the end, everyone benefit. I sincerely look forward to someday meeting the Trotts in person - and I praise them as most worthy adversaries. :-)

• Posted by: Rick Ellis on Jul 25, 2002, 4:47 PM

First, an update:

I have the export script now exporting all images to a folder that you specify, and exporting any text (captions, notes, etc.) that was entered alongside those images to text files with the images. (If I had the time or patience, I’d use IPTC caption info embedded in the images themselves, but alas…)

I also have all shortcuts and macros in any posts being evaluated on the way out of Manila, so that they are properly represented once the posts get to Moveable Type.

The things left to do are: (1) generate a text file with a list of pages that have path shortcuts, so that you can replicate those pathnames however you so choose in Moveable Type; (2) have the script automatically turn any references to images that are within the site’s discusison group into references to the new location for the image on the filesystem; (3) replicate my pictureShow stuff in PHP.

Now, some responses:

Tim: I have no idea offhand if Radio adheres to the same format as Manila — I doubt it does — but I’ll find out, and if not, I’ll do my best to give you a script that does the exact same thing for you. Anything to help a fellow sufferer.

Derek: I know it doesn’t have membership, and while it’s not ideal, it’s also not terrible. As far as I can tell, for a site like mine, it just means that people can fake their identity on comment posts — which is something that Manila sort-of prevented — but I plan to log IP addresses and come down hard if nefarious deeds start happening.

Rick: please don’t take my choice of MT the wrong way! (Not that I think you do…) I have pMachine installed, and I’ve played with it a bit, but I’m drawn to MT for now. (Not to mention that, without saying anything about you, my few interactions with Ben and Mena have left me feeling like they rock, and I want to support their product!)

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Jul 25, 2002, 8:01 PM

Thanks, but I don’t want to put you to extra work (at least not at the moment :-). Jonathon Delacour has given me some perl scripts that he used to move his site over to MT, and I’m going to try and mess with them. I’ll give you a holler if I get blocked.



• Posted by: Tim on Jul 26, 2002, 6:09 AM

J —
you might find this site interesting for some scripts — stumbled across it…


Good disclaimers too…

• Posted by: Kathy on Jul 27, 2002, 1:06 AM

Like Tim (above), I want to move from my gkanai.weblogs.com to pMachine. I’ve got the right hosting provider (php & mysql support) but I have no idea how I might be able to import my posts from weblogs.com to pMachine. Jason, does one have to be running Frontier/Manila to use the script you made? Do you think it’d be possible to import from weblogs.com?

• Posted by: Gen Kanai on Jul 30, 2002, 2:17 PM


You can get a wholesale download of your database — the file containing your whole weblog — from weblogs.com, and then if you don’t own Frontier, I’d be happy to do the export for you. The page that explains the downloading process is here.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Aug 3, 2002, 12:32 PM


I don’t own Frontier, so I’d love for your help with an export to MT. I decided against PM and for MT after speaking with Anil. I’ll bother you once I’m ready for the import.

Thank you!


• Posted by: Gen Kanai on Aug 13, 2002, 12:34 PM
Please note that comments automatically close after 60 days; the comment spammers love to use the older, rarely-viewed pages to work their magic. If comments are closed and you want to let me know something, feel free to use the contact page!