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Totally turn-key web sites <em>and</em> blogs

By Byrne Reese
Posted January 18, 2008, in News.

For the last several weeks, Jim Ramsey has been developing a new web site design using Movable Type 4.1's new template set and theming infrastructure. His goals were simple:

  • make it easy for users to create not just a blog, but an entire web site
  • create a web site that guides the user through customization right out of the box
  • architect a set of templates that is more intuitive to customize

The result of his work is pretty incredible - so much so that we decided to include the new template set, called the "Universal Template Set," with the new Professional Pack. Users will be able to get a sneak preview of the feature next week when we release Movable Type 4.1 Release Candidate 2 announced yesterday.

Universal Template Set Screenshot

Or if you can't wait that long, we have created a short screencast to demonstrate how Movable Type's new template set framework functions and some of the many features found within the Universal Template Set. Check it out!


30 Comments on January 19, 2008, 5:59 a.m. Reply

Byrne, why don’t you create a “learning pack”? Here’s the idea behind the learning pack. Make it as easy as possible to learn how to customize movable type. Include the screencasts, etc. Make it work with MTOS. Charge for it or market it through (they might want some sort of editorial say).

The learning pack is not oriented toward elite perl wranglers like yourself. It’s oriented toward designers, people who can learn to wrangle web sites with MT.


Sara on January 19, 2008, 7:58 a.m. Reply

I have had a little time to play with this template set and it really is a grand idea. Have a few problems with some of the path settings, but it might be because it is on a offline setup.

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on January 19, 2008, 7:59 a.m. Reply

That’s a really good idea Bud!


Sara on January 19, 2008, 8:08 a.m. Reply


I think it was the monthly archives which bit me you know where. Will probably do a “live” install this weekend to take it through its paces.


demonsurfer on January 19, 2008, 2:35 p.m. Reply

Very nice. Still wondering if features such as this template set and customfields will be available for personal users. I understand there would likely be a charge for it, but the minimum professional license appears to be over $200, which is simply unrealistic for personal users.

Again I ask 6A in hope of at least some kind of response other than continued silence, do you have any plan whatsoever to make these features available to personal users at a lesser cost than having to pay for a commercial license?

Thank you.


demonsurfer on January 19, 2008, 2:41 p.m. Reply

BTW, does/will the non-profit license provide the same version of MT as the commercial license (including customfields, universal template etc)? That might be the solution right there - $49.95 is certainly a lot more reasonable than $235.95, as long as the personal user plans to have no more than 5 authors..


Tami on January 19, 2008, 4:49 p.m. Reply

This is pretty cool!

Will all licenses come with the template set framework? I understand that only paid licenses will come with pre-made templates (what you get depending on the license), but will the personal license and/or MTOS give access to the template set framework? Also, does the template set framework allow the user to create (save) additional custom template sets for later use and/or distribution to others?


Su on January 19, 2008, 7:20 p.m. Reply

Demonsurfer: I’m confused as to why the non-prof license is relevant to your question about personal users. Explain?


demonsurfer on January 19, 2008, 8:41 p.m. Reply

Really? Thought I was pretty clear - I was asking meaning to ask if the non-profit license allows access to the same features as the commercial licensed of MT (such as customfields and the universal templates). If so, that could be a viable option for personal users to access the commercial features without paying at least $235.95. If not, then my initial question still stands - does 6A have any plan whatsoever to make these features available to personal users at a lesser cost than having to pay for a commercial license?


demonsurfer on January 19, 2008, 8:44 p.m. Reply

Previous post was in reply to Su. Thanks Byrne for answering the question re the templates.. however any response re custom fields? I’ve asked before without a response - perhaps I missed discussion to this since, if so, apologies.

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on January 19, 2008, 8:46 p.m. Reply

Yes, we do intend on making these features available to personal users at what I consider a pretty reasonable price. Stay tuned to our news blog for the release announcement in which we will include all the pricing and licensing information.


Su on January 19, 2008, 8:50 p.m. Reply

Demonsurfer: No, what I’m confused about is how a personal user is to be considered a 501(c)(3) organization(“What organizations are considered nonprofit?”). Misrepresenting yourself to get around a licensing question is not the same thing as a viable option.

But Byrne’s already covered the core question.


demonsurfer on January 19, 2008, 9:07 p.m. Reply

Nice, very glad to hear it Byrne - count me in.

Su, ok I see your angle now and there are ways, however it’s a moot point now in light of Byrne’s response. :)


Sara on January 23, 2008, 6:15 p.m. Reply

The more I play with the template set, the more I like it. It’s the first set of templates which doesn’t make me want to dig in and change everything around like I’ve done previously. Only thing I might want to do is to set up a rotating pool of images for the homepage-image. on January 23, 2008, 7:03 p.m. Reply

I am so excited about the Template Pack functionality. I’ve been asking for this since The Style Contest and it’s going to revolutionize MT, I’m sure of it.

One question (asked from someone who hasn’t installed it yet) - What sort of stuff can be included in a template set? Images? Or just CSS and other text-based templates?


Sara on January 23, 2008, 7:26 p.m. Reply


The Universal Template set comes with images and all. Pretty neat and should make it a lot easier to deliver designs to clients :)


demonsurfer on January 25, 2008, 6:31 a.m. Reply

err.. where in the MR4.1 personal version can you import template sets.. it seems the Universal Template Set is not included after all (unless I misinterpreted what Byrne said above), just the standard templates as before.. confused. Guess I need more time to play with it.

FYI for other readers here, $99.95 is the price for a personal license to use the Professional Pack (includes 12 months support too). Price for Community version for personal users not yet released.

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on January 25, 2008, 9:12 a.m. Reply

@demonsurfer - please check the documentation. It will tell you all you need to know about template sets and how they work. The Universal Template Set however only ships with the Professional Pack. It is not found in Movable Type Personal or MTOS.


demonsurfer on January 25, 2008, 1:46 p.m. Reply

Ok thanks Byrne - I did view that page earlier, I was just mistaken that the Universal Template set would be included with MTpersonal4.1 too. It’s a great way to allow users to share their creativity beyond the base themes - that Universal set is awesome. Cheers.


demonsurfer on January 27, 2008, 11:03 p.m. Reply

@ Byrne.. any chance of making the Professional Pack available for personal users for less, if we do not want the 12 months support? As I understand it, a number of users only want the Professional Pack in order to access customfields, and paying $100 is quite a big ask for that, when MTpersonal is free (thank you). How about something substantially cheaper for Professional Pack without the 12 months of support, just the download available (and upgrades until the next major release as usual)? Is that a reasonable request? Appreciate your consideration anyway. Cheers.


demonsurfer on January 27, 2008, 11:25 p.m. Reply

Ok thanks for responding and clarifying 6A’s position and what is covered. As you said, perhaps in the future things may change. Unfortunately it’s a little too steep for me atm - just started another year of study at university and have unavoidable expenses like fees and books to cover which leave finances a little tight. Cheers.


Su on January 28, 2008, 6:57 a.m. Reply

Demonsurfer: What is it you intend to do with the Custom Fields plugin?


demonsurfer on January 28, 2008, 7:16 a.m. Reply

For use in entries mostly - not on my home site linked in my profile, but on another blog which is being used as a source of multiple custom items for a game, where each item requires fields for what category it is in (which I use the standard MT categories / subcats atm), originating site if not made by me, compatibilities with various different game versions and expansion packs etc, among other things. I used customfields before and it made life a whole lot easier for that particular site.

Steph Mineart

Steph Mineart on August 20, 2008, 1:32 p.m. Reply

So, it’s easy to create a new blog using the universal template, but what can I do with my 14 year old blog set up in custom templates? I’d love to get a fresh start with this template set, but how easy is it to convert my blog over without losing content?

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on August 20, 2008, 2:25 p.m. Reply

If you are running Movable Type 4.1 or 4.2 then it is so amazingly easy. Just follow the instructions found in our documentation. And don’t worry, none of your content will get lost. Your entries and pages exist independently of your design.


Nick on August 21, 2008, 7:54 p.m. Reply

Will the new MT 4.2 and MT Pro be compatible with the Universal Template Set?


Nick on August 28, 2008, 2:56 p.m. Reply

Hmmm. My host just switched me over to the new MT Pro 4.2, but when I redid my style as the new “Professional” it was only 1 column clumped all together. They are working on it now to see what happened. I’ll keep you posted. Possibly a glitch/incompatibility upgrading? on October 9, 2009, 12:18 p.m. Reply

Movable Type is the best platform for companies and professional and non profesional bloggers and the most important thing is that is easy to use and install too, trabajo.

Harold Hougart

Harold Hougart on July 17, 2012, 7:01 p.m. Reply

Well, is there a learning pack for Moveable type already? I searched with Google, but I couldn’t find it


Jade on August 5, 2012, 1:18 p.m. Reply

I thought the design is made from Jim Ramsey.

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese was previously the Product Manager of Movable Type at Six Apart, where he had also held positions as the Manager of Platform Technology and Product Manager for TypePad. Byrne is a huge supporter of the Movable Type user and developer community. He dedicates much of his time to promoting and educating people about Movable Type as well as building the tools and plugins for Movable Type that are showcased on Majordojo. He contributes regularly to open source; and he is an advocate for open protocols and standards like Atom and OpenID.