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Six Apart Introduces Movable Type 5. “Borrows” WordPress Dashboard Design

As much as we love to report about the state of ‘other than WordPress blog software’ as well here at BloggingPro, we can not help but give the announcement of the newly introduced Movable Type 5 a WordPress spin. And how could we not; the announcement will be completely overshadowed by the new dashboard design of MT 5.

Seriously, Six Apart? Is it April Fools’ Day today?

There is just too much resemblance to even bother putting both next to each other and point out all the similarities. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!
To say that I am flabbergasted would be an understatement. I can only hope that this is a linkbait and buzz strategy to create some momentum and Six Apart already has a new dashboard design for a soon to be announced MT 5.1. If not, I guess… ‘GPL FTW!’ ?

For those who are interested in the new features:

  • A new user dashboard for both the website and blogs. This makes it easy for authors, editors, designers and other publishers to easily navigate between the two.
  • A new theme mechanism that makes it easy to apply a new theme across a website and blogs with a single click that proliferates changes throughout the published site.
  • Enhanced content management features that include revision history and new custom fields. There are five new object types for custom fields: website, blog, comment, template and asset.

The introduction of content revision history is also an interesting one. I understand that most popular features of all systems find their way into other systems, no matter if blog software platform, operating system or cars, this is a normal process but MT5 has just a little too many similarities at first sight. The possible argument to ease the learning curve for switchers coming from WordPress is a valid one but would also mean that Movable Type admits having lost the battle with WordPress.

For those who can not wait to play with MT5, read all about MT 5 here and download the open source release here. More news about the features of MT 5 on Monday by our in-house specialist Billy Mabray in his Movable Type Monday column.

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  1. Darice de Cuba ) says: 1/6/2010

    As soon as I saw the MT screenshot I thought “what the heck?!” and right below I see you went on to mention this. I’d expect more originality from a company like Six Apart. If they are going to copy WordPress interface MT users might as well stop using MT and switch to WordPress.


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 1/6/2010

      Darince, my initial ‘working title’ for the entry was ‘SA Introduces MT5. GPL FTW,!‘, but I think that would have been a little too much.


  2. Scott Kingsley Clark ) says: 1/6/2010

    I think you have it wrong, the MT5 interface was meant to make it easier for MT users to switch **to** WordPress ;)


    • Scott Ellis ) says: 1/6/2010

      RE: Scott kingsley Clark, whether or not they meant to make it easier for for MT users to move **to** WordPress, I think they just did.


  3. Pete Mall ) says: 1/6/2010

    They might as well start selling managed WordPress to their clients!


  4. Liz ) says: 1/6/2010

    Oh come on. Anybody who can think back in time knows MT originally started off with the menu items on the lefthand side:

    It looks like they just moved it back (this time with expanding menus), and the right column has evolved over the last few versions.

    Despite that, if you’ve been paying attention to both service’s decisions in interface changes (left vs. top nav menu), it is not surprising for them to end up in the same place.

    You guys are reaching.


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 1/6/2010

      Liz, I think somewhere I wrote:

      I understand that most popular features of all systems find their way into other systems, no matter if blog software platform, operating system or cars, this is a normal process but MT5 has just a little too many similarities at first sight.

      But this seems a little too much to just be an adaptation of ‘popular features’. It’s not about who has the menu bar at the left. Didn’t *nuke start that sometime early 00’s anyway? Or was it Mambo? Or Typo3? Or e107? I give up, everyone has a left sidebar.


  5. Chris ) says: 1/6/2010

    At least it has a nice white professional background (


  6. Anonymous says: 1/6/2010

    I prefer SixApart interface, similitudes apart (no pun intended).


  7. Mick says: 1/7/2010

    Eh, they are a little similar but not enough to say they copied in my opinion. If anything, MT’s layout makes WP’s look pretty bad.


    • Anonymous says: 1/7/2010

      I agree. Anyway, enough of this. First time at “bloggingpro”, and last. Cheers mates!


  8. Noel Wiggins ) says: 1/7/2010

    There is a fine line between stealing and giving the users what they want.

    If a company has figured out an optimal way to engage a user and that way is effective.

    Why reinvent the wheel. If more and more companies relied on each others experience and added to it to make improvements where they see fit then the internet will be a more comfortable place for users to engage.

    They won’t take 3days to try and relearn how and where designers display elements…

    Thanks and Regards

    Noel for
    a graphic design studio


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 1/7/2010

      I agree with your points, Noel. But maybe it would have been better if SA had added those points to their announcement post and better even given the WP Dashboard designers a heads up. I gatehered from their reaction on Twitter that they weren’t aware and seemed rather shocked.

      Nevertheless, I suppose it directed quite some attention to MT yesterday.


  9. Gerasimos ) says: 1/7/2010

    I just wonder what would happen if the opposite have taken place.


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 1/7/2010

      I would have given it the same attention and a similar entry :)


      • Gerasimos ) says: 1/7/2010

        no no i wonder how the community or even better the guys behind MT would have reacted on something like this..

        i bet you’d post about it :)


  10. SuperMario290 ) says: 1/7/2010

    I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. I would take it as a great form of flattery to have that happen. :)


  11. Otavio says: 1/10/2010


  12. Michele ) says: 1/10/2010

    Maybe the new MT5 dashboard looks similar, but a lot of the features that are *now* in WP were introduced by MT and vice-versa.
    Both software solutions are CMS
    They’re obviously going to be influenced by each other, even if the developers aren’t conscious of the influences.
    And if you want to knock MT at least you can’t do it on their security history. How long before anyone will be able to say that about WP?


  13. Clark ) says: 1/23/2010

    The new dashboard looks quite similar to Movable Type version 3, the version I still use across a number of sites.

    Nice article title for getting traffic but not thoroughly researched.


  14. Jay Kerr ) says: 2/4/2010

    I use Movable Type for my blog and I have to say that version 5 of MT is pretty blatant rip off of WordPress’ interface. As a designer, I would say this is the height of laziness and it worries me.

    There is a lot of thought and work that goes into designing a successful interface. I’m still using MT 4 but I hope the improvements in MT 5 go beyond the GUI.

    BTW, I also use WordPress for another blog and find it very similar to MT.


    • Jesse Taylor says: 5/27/2010

      This isn’t a “let’s try to be different” contest. It’s a “let’s make the best open source CMS/blogging platform contest”. Choosing what works best (i.e. a good UI) is indeed laziness. And as any decent programmer knows, (smart) laziness is a virtue. Rather than writing a UI which probably wouldn’t be as good as WordPress’s, why not take theirs, which works great, and build on top of it? That’s called code reuse. Basic concept. Not something to complain about.


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