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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.