All posts tagged ‘MovableType’

File Under: Business, Software & Tools

Blogging Pioneers Advise Entrepreneurs at Start Conference

Evan Williams, Matt Mullenweg, and Mena TrottThe first three sessions at The Start Conference featured founders of the top three blogging platforms discussing how they started their businesses.

Evan Williams, perhaps now better known as the founder of Twitter, started Blogger in 1999. His company was actually working on a different product when Blogger took over.

Similarly, when he started Twitter, his company was working on podcast site Odeo. Williams spoke about the accidental successes and how he knew it was time to switch gears:

“There was no justification for doing this within the company, but it was too compelling to ignore.”

Twitter’s up-time troubles may be rooted in it beginning as a side project. At first they wanted to create something simple, a prototype of an idea. Williams explained it simply: “Then we never caught up.”

Matt Mullenweg founded WordPress when the developer of his blogging platform (B2) disappeared. Mullenweg banded together with other disappointed users to create what is now an extremely popular platform.

Mullenweg attributes WordPress’ success to its “slow, organic growth.” For several years, all the contributors had day jobs and coded away in the evenings. In 2006, he founded Automattic, a 25 person virtual company, distributed across the globe.

How do so many people work together without being in the same place?

“What we found works is breaking our projects down to the smallest possible iota… One of the worst things that can happen is two people working on the same thing. And that’s not too bad of a problem.”

Mena Trott discussed the early days of Six Apart, which she founded with her husband. The company makes Typepad and Movable Type blogging platforms. During the dot com nuclear winter, they hunkered in their apartment working on their product. They were intent on not taking venture capital, and even incorporated as an LLC to make it more difficult.

Of course, they eventually did take money, and are now a 200 person company. And why haven’t they sold?

“The company hasn’t reached its full potential yet, but we also haven’t had the right offer.”

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File Under: Blog Publishing

Blogger Drafts Up New Webmaster Tools

Bloggers saw major upgrades to Google’s Blogger service Thursday. The blog editor and content manager added webmaster tools, comment features, and blog backups.

There are some much-needed features with the latest release.

  • The post editor has been improved for better What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) controls. Picture and table layout can now be done by clicking and dragging. The editor also claims better HTML support.
  • Previews now pop-up in a DHTML window-in-window, making it easier to edit on the fly.
  • Blogs can now safely back up its content to Atom-formatted XML files. Bloggers can use this file to exchange posts from one blog to another.
  • Much-needed comment forms are now embeddable under the post. Ugly blue Blogger windows no longer pop-up when commenting, breaking visitors from the flow of your pages.
  • Zero to five star reviews are now available for posts.
  • The update introduced integration with Google Webmaster Tools, a way to provide sitemaps and track your site’s inclusion in Google listings.

Unfortunately, auto-save has been discontinued, although it will be returning in the future.

Portable backup data will allay some fears about letting Google host your blog.

Blogger allows you to host your own DNS, but will only allow you to host your blog on Google servers. The new backup feature compensates for the lack of complete control over your data. Allowing Google to host gives you one big positive: it’s free, and few companies know how to host as reliably as Google does. That said, it is still hard to imagine publishers allowing Blogger to host their entire sites.

In contrast, WordPress and Movable Type both allow you to host the CMS software on your web server independently.

It seemed for a while that content management systems WordPress, TypePad and MovableType were progressing along nicely while Blogger dropped its trendsetting lead to inch along one small feature at a time. Things have changed lately, Blogger has released some killer new features to show they have some life under its cold blue familiar exterior.

If you haven’t visited Blogger in a while it might be worth taking a look at some of their more recent features. The layout control is comprehensive, as are the comment controls and OpenID support.

The blogging system also supports embedding hundreds of Google Gadgets. Although the plug-ins aren’t as impressive in scale and function as the plug-ins available to competing CMS’, thanks to its giant head start in third-party development. Watch this space though — while Google’s Gadgets are competing with social networking sites, it continues to see support and interoperability through Blogger, Google Desktop, Google Docs, and even other non-Google Open Social partners like MySpace.