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Welcome Movable Type 4.2

By Byrne Reese
Posted May 29, 2008, in News.

Today is a great day for Movable Type users: We're announcing the release candidate of Movable Type 4.2, a new version which takes the top three most frequently requested features from our community and builds them right into the platform:

  • A faster and more efficient user experience
  • More design options and our simplest and most powerful templates yet
  • The best, most effective anti-spam solution

So today we are incorporating all of the work that's been done on the MT 4.15 betas so far and are happy to announce the availability of the first release candidate of the newly rechristened Movable Type 4.2.

A Faster Movable Type

Speed isn't just about making the code faster, it's about looking at the tasks you do every day and making them all more efficient.

  • Refined navigation - The primary navigation for getting around Movable Type has been refined and expanded to make getting to the page you need to far more efficient. Fewer clicks means faster blogging.

  • Template Preview - Now you never have to wait to see what your site will look like when you tweak or edit your templates. Every Movable Type template can be previewed with a 100% accurate live preview before you actually make changes live on your site.

  • Redesigned Template Management Screens - Movable Type's template management screens have been consolidated onto a single screen to not only make navigation simpler, but also to make it easier for you to get a more comprehensive view of all the files their installation publishes.

  • Completely Rewritten Search - Movable Type's venerable built-in search system has been rewritten from the ground up to be modernized, much more flexible, and lightning-fast. Now it's easy to create custom-filtered views of your content.

Let's not kid ourselves though, speed is also definitely about making the code faster. To that end, Movable Type 4.2 has incorporated a significant number of enhancements focused on improving the raw performance of the application. And it's worked: Common tasks in Movable Type 4.2 are up to 100 times faster.

To measure our progress in improving performance, we ran our own benchmarks internally against a blog with 3 authors, 3 categories, 10,000 entries and 100,000 comments -- a site that's bigger than 99% of the blogs out there. The results surprised us all:

  • Search performance was increased by two orders of magnitude! Yep, that's a 100x improvement.
  • Simply upgrading from Movable Type 4.1 to 4.2 can increase publishing speeds by 33% and with module caching turned on the performance increase leaps to over 45%.
  • Movable Type 4.2 out of the box is twice as fast as Movable Type 3.36 was out of the box; and if you turn on module caching, Movable Type 4.2 is nearly three times as fast as MT3.

MT 4.2 Publishing Performance

This chart shows relative performance of the new version over our last release, which we defined as a performance baseline of 100%. Movable Type 4.2 can be up to 89% faster without having to do anything but upgrade and checking a box to enable template module and widget caching. Of course, your mileage may vary -- everyone's blog is different. But those differences are exactly why we developed features to give you more control over fine tuning system performance. Here's the new settings you can tweak to hot-rod your blog:

  • Robust Performance Logging lets you see exactly what publishing takes the most time or needs optimization.
  • Automatic Intelligent Server Side Includes with support for JSP, ASP, PHP and good old-fashioned SHTML.
  • Template Module Caching automatically stores frequently-used page components like widgets for instant publishing
  • Publishing Profiles let experts create and manage exactly the right collection of settings for peak performance.

It's quite possible that the tweaks you can now make yourself using these features could actually result in even more dramatic improvements on top of the speed boost you get just from upgrading to Movable Type 4.2.

Enhanced Capabilities for Designers

Perhaps the area we have the greatest amount of feedback in has been around our default templates. Our users have told us that while powerful in their modularity, they were far too complicated and difficult to learn. So, we fixed 'em!

Working with our Professional Network, we began the process of revising these templates months ago and are happy to include in Movable Type 4.2 a vastly improved set of default templates that are not only flexible and powerful, but also simple to edit and easy to learn.

We added additional features our designer community have been asking for, including:

  • Comment Threading - your readers should appreciate the ability to more easily reply to specific comments on your blog, and designers will appreciate the option to produce nested comments on their blog and web site to more accurate reflect the dialog taking place amongst your visitors.

  • Pagination - Movable Type now supports pagination out of the box for both search results and dynamically published blogs. In addition, pagination was implemented using AJAX so that the next page of results can be pre-fetched and thus be presented to users more quickly.

Built in Support for TypePad AntiSpam

Everyone at Six Apart is proud to announce the public beta for TypePad AntiSpam, a new and completely free service that blocks comment spam. Powered by Movable Type's sister service TypePad, this new AntiSpam service works for all versions of Movable Type version 3.2 or later, but is bundled with Movable Type 4.2.

The plugin itself is based upon Tim Appnel's MT-Akismet plugin; This was a snap because TypePad AntiSpam is 100% Akismet API compatible.

Contributions from the Community

Tim Appnel's not the only member of our community to contribute such a valuable piece of functionality to this release. In truth Movable Type 4.2 has seen the largest number of contributions, both big and small, than any other release in Movable Type's history. Everyone owes a special thanks to the following people, all of whom made numerous contributions to the release: Tim Appnel, Reed Cartwright, Su, Andrey Serebryako, Micro Macrelli, Victor Ruiz and Sam Greenfield.

Six Apart would like to give a special shout out to Arvind Satyanarayan, Hirotaka Ogawa and Jay Allen who led the community in contributions made. The patches and features they submitted were anything but trivial, and the product would not be the same without them. Thank you Jay, Hirotaka and Arvind!

Last, but definitely not least are the number of people who have been working on new translations in Polish, Russian, Portuguese and Chinese. It is great to see people sharing their passion for blogging by including languages and communities from all around the world.

Download Movable Type 4.2 Now!

Now that Movable Type 4.2 is in its final stages before an official release we invite all users to download and try it out. Then come help us celebrate this release at the Movable Type Meetup in San Francisco Friday, May 30th!

Keep reading to learn about other new features in Movable Type 4.2 and to read our release notes.

Release Notices


Today is the release of the first Movable Type 4.2 release candidate. This release of Movable Type has only been fully tested against MySQL and SQLite databases. In two weeks time we plan on releasing the second and final release candidate that will have been fully tested against postgres as well. Once that has had time to test in the community, we will officially release Movable Type 4.2.

TypePad AntiSpam

The TypePad AntiSpam plugin contains an optional dashboard widget that contains a call to Six Apart's ad engine. This was added for us to more accurately collect usage statistics and to change the service's logo at a later date. We currently have no plans to run advertising via this widget. You can also enable or disable this widget at any time directly from the Movable Type dashboard.

Other Release Notes

For a complete list of issues you should be aware of, please consult our official release notes.

Additional Features

Community Features

  • Global User Banning - users who manage large communities across a number of different web sites will rejoice in hearing that Movable Type will now let administrators ban users across their entire system, as opposed to on a blog-by-blog basis.

New APIs for Developers

  • Access Comments via AtomPub - our Japan office has been working on an open source product called TypeCast which makes it possible to more easily read blogs from mobile devices. In support of that effort, and in data portability in general, Movable Type comments are now all accessible using the Atom Publishing Protocol.

  • Extensible Search - Movable Type developers have already written a number of good search backends for Movable Type, Sphinx Search and MT-FastSearch being chief among them. In this new implementation of search we wanted create a cleaner abstraction layer for search to allow even more developers augment Movable Type's search infrastructure.


23 Comments on May 29, 2008, 2:25 p.m. Reply

“Simply upgrading from Movable Type 4.1 to 4.2 can increase publishing times by 33%”

Should be “decrease” surely, assuming 4.2 really is faster…

Otherwise, congrats on the release.


demonsurfer on May 29, 2008, 3:02 p.m. Reply

Any chance you can supply tar.gz files instead of a zip files on the download page for 4.2rc1 for commercial and MTOS? Would save a hell of a lot of time for some..


demonsurfer on May 29, 2008, 3:04 p.m. Reply

gratz too :) - cant wait to take it for a spin..

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on May 29, 2008, 3:27 p.m. Reply

tar.gz files are available directly from the downloads directory.


demonsurfer on May 29, 2008, 3:30 p.m. Reply

thanks :)

Paul William Tenny

Paul William Tenny on May 30, 2008, 3:55 a.m. Reply

A .tar.bz2 file would knock things down further, with 4.15b3 weighing in at just 2.99MB, fyi.

To measure our progress in improving performance, we ran our own benchmarks internally against a blog with 3 authors, 3 categories, 10,000 entries and 100,000 comments — a site that’s bigger than 99% of the blogs out there.

Can we get some raw numbers on the results? I’d really like to see some specifics. on May 30, 2008, 7:05 a.m. Reply

Two weeks from now and the next RC… :-(


hudson on May 30, 2008, 7:09 a.m. Reply

I made the move to Professional Pack RC1 from Professional Pack B2— and I’ve lost all the custom fields data that had been entered for my entries. The custom fields are still defined— any inputed values are gone. Any idea how to get that content back? on May 30, 2008, 7:13 a.m. Reply

What is the effect of using pagination on SEO? It’s ajax, but does that mean that the other pages won’t be cachable?

dom []

dom [] on June 7, 2008, 3:44 p.m. Reply

I’ve packaged 4.2rc1 in Debian experimental - especially if you’re already using my packages, please give the new ones a go from . I will most likely upload 4.2rc2 to unstable. on July 15, 2008, 8:56 a.m. Reply

Clip-n-Seal is now using MT 4.2. Word. on July 15, 2008, 8:58 a.m. Reply

And isn’t that cool how my Open ID is some stupid-long URI string. Whatevers.

Byrne Reese

Byrne Reese on July 15, 2008, 9:07 a.m. Reply

Yahoo allows you to select a preferred OpenID identifier. I recommend you check out their documentation and follow their instructions so that you can use an OpenID of your choosing. They do this because your Yahoo OpenID, if used verbatim, would reveal your email address — as every username is also an email. So Yahoo does the right thing and allows you select your own unique OpenID that is different than your email address. on July 15, 2008, 9:18 a.m. Reply

“I’m not a number, I’m a free man,” comes to mind when realizing OpenId identifies me as a URI string. That’s about as stupid as .mobi. Try using that site and you’ll see what I mean. We need to wrest the blogosphere from the geeks sometimes and say, geez, could we make this easier? I’m not going to read documentation to get an ID to get into a site to leave a comment.

Jay Allen

Jay Allen on July 15, 2008, 1:35 p.m. Reply

Then you should either be happy with your long string OR use a service that doesn’t require you to read directions. Either way, that’s not 6A’s fault and it’s not OpenID’s fault. on July 15, 2008, 5:59 p.m. Reply

Working now on how to pronounce that ID URI string. If you go through the process, it’s rather cumbersome indeed to pick what amounts to a screen name (and hope someone else doesn’t have it or you already have it under another account and you can’t merge accounts, etc). Apparently, I guess SA hasn’t done that themselves. So what I don’t understand is how a URI is helpful in telling who I am? When you click on that URI it goes to what?

Regardless and back on topic, MT 4.2 kicks ass. on July 15, 2008, 7:24 p.m. Reply

So check this out, if you know the secret codes, you can log in with openID as a website, like on August 18, 2008, 9:10 p.m. Reply

Make sure you backup everything before upgrading. I just tried an upgrade and had serious problems that rendered my blog unmanageable, nor could I publish anything…

Tom Matt

Tom Matt on May 19, 2009, 5:37 p.m. Reply

Hello, I made the move to Professional Pack RC1 from Professional Pack B2 and I’ve lost all the custom fields data that had been entered for my entries. The custom fields are still defined any inputed values are gone. Any idea how to get that content back?

free content

free content on September 6, 2009, 3:00 p.m. Reply

nicholas>> Ajax is SEO’s worst nightmare. It’s one of examples, when “good for visitor” and “good for SEO” are absolutely opposite things.

Ivan Borisoff

Ivan Borisoff on July 2, 2012, 10:56 a.m. Reply

Congratulations! Just upgraded and I’m liking what I’m seeing! :)

Peter Jacobson

Peter Jacobson on July 3, 2012, 11:02 p.m. Reply

I remember how happy I was when it was released and now we are already on 5 series :)

Martin Brown

Martin Brown on August 4, 2012, 2:27 a.m. Reply

Where can we find some free designs for Moveable Type?

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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.