It’s going to be a big day for fans of Six Apart’s venerable blogging platform as the official release of MT 4.0 is now available. Constituting the biggest overhaul of the platform since it was first released it brings with it scores of new features including some long awaited ones such as a WYSIWYG editor, native user accounts as well as support for TypeKey, OpenID, VOX, and Live Journal authentication, built-in podcast module, and a completely redesigned and optimized back end.
I’ve been playing around with the release candidates on a test install and I’m very impressed. What’s even more interesting is that MT4 appears to be taking a much more modular approach similar to what EllisLabs has done with ExpressionEngine. The main MT website also lists off an Enterprise Solution and a Community Solution that are actually modules that add on to the core MT code base. The Community Solution looks particularly appealing for sites like SEB as it adds features such as Community Blogging, Member Profiles, Recommendations (think Digg style entry ranking), and Community Buzz (most popular Recommendations). I was under the impression that the Enterprise and Community Solutions would have to be purchased, but I don’t see anything in the way of prices listed at the moment. Perhaps they just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
The licensing issue was of particular interest to me as it was the changes made on the release of 3.0 that was partially responsible for my move to ExpressionEngine and it does appear that the terms have changed since the last time I looked at them. For example after the initial shock over the pricing for the personal license hit the net Six Apart revised it so that a personal license was once again free, but limited to 3 blogs and 1 author which still wouldn’t have worked for the set up I maintain. Today the personal license allows unlimited weblogs and authors in perpetuity so long as you don’t mind not getting any official support from the folks at Six Apart. Support is offered as an ala carte option for Personal License holders costing $49.95 for one year, but there’s enough of a community out there and enough documentation available that most folks capable of setting up MT on their own to begin with probably won’t need much official support and those that do would probably be better off going with Six Apart’s TypePad hosted service anyway. I’m curious how the Open Source version of MT 4 will differ from the free personal license.
It’ll be interesting to see how the other blogging platforms will react to this new version of Movable Type. Naturally I’m most interested in seeing what EllisLabs has in store with ExpressionEngine 2.0 which they’ve been quite tight lipped about. There’s some interesting new goodies in MT 4 and I’m hoping EE steps up to the plate with some equally compelling new features in its next big update.