Movable Type 4.1: Power to the People.

By Anil Dash

Here's the story: Movable Type 4.1 continues the amazing momentum that the Movable Type platform showed in 2007, when we released MT4, offered up the one-two punch of the Enterprise Solution and Community Solution, and capped off our best year ever with the release of MTOS, Movable Type Open Source.

So what's next? Movable Type 4.1, a free update for all users of MT4. A stable release of Movable Type Open Source. The new Professional Pack, packed with industrial-strength content management power. And a new personal license for the MT Community Solution. More power, more potential, and more personalization. There are dozens of new features in MT 4.1, and even more unique capabilities if you opt to add on one of the packs we've made available to the community. Improvements for writing and managing assets make MT easier to use than ever, smarter tools for managing and create templates make MT's publishing even more powerful, technical improvements to APIs and the templating language extend MT's tradition of technological innovation, and support for user avatars and new add-ons for community features help turn your MT-powered site into a real community.

And then there's the new add-ons, like the Professional Pack which gives you the ability to customize the data fields for your entries, pages, users, and even categories and folders. Bundled with the smart new Universal Template set, you can build a business website in minutes, and completely control the entry forms you use to publish. Plus, the Community Solution, which we announced to a fantastic response late last year, will shortly be available for personal users, letting you add forums, profiles, user-submitted posts and more to your blog, all wrapped up in a gorgeous new set of specially-designed templates.

  • Write. Now. We've cleaned up the screen where you write your entries, making the layout even smarter and easier to understand, and showing useful info like when a post was created as well as when it was published, and even if it's been edited, which is handy if you've got multiple people reviewing your content. There's even a convenient link for sharing your entries once they're published, with a friendly box for entering your recipient's email addresses, and automatic integration with MT's address book.
  • Template Sets. The smartest templating system in blogging just got even smarter -- you can now install entire sets of templates, which control the output of your published content, styles, and even your XML feeds all at once. The Professional Pack (see below) includes a killer template set, but you'll be able to get template sets from the MT community at large, as well. And with new plugins, you can even create and distribute or sell your own sets. Learn more about Template Sets.
  • Template Sanity! Ever drive yourself nuts trying to look up the right tag to use in your templates, or get frustrated trying to share elements between your different blogs or sites? No more. Global templates make it easy to share widgets or even entire templates between two, twenty, or two hundred different blogs or sites in your MT install. And intelligent tag help automatically provides you with a link to the appropriate help documentation for the template tags you use -- right within the Movable Type interface. And all that is on top of MT4's smart syntax-highlighting rich template editor, which even prompts you for the right template tags to insert while you're editing.
  • The best API support in the business. MT was the first blogging platform with Atom support, and now we've got full support for the IETF Atom Publishing Protocol (RC5023) standard. Plus, we've beefed up MT's API support with the ability to create, edit, and manage pages through third-party clients like Windows Live Writer, just like you've been able to do with entries.
  • Get a handle on your assets. Still struggling with an old blogging system that doesn't even help you manage your files and images? Then it's time to jump to MT4.1, which improves MT4's powerful asset management system with new screens that show you every time an asset has been used. ("This PDF is linked to in 3 of your entries." "Two of your pages have this image inserted." "This audio file hasn't been used.") And you can bulk-manage your assets, making it just a few clicks to add tags to as many files as you want.
  • Show us your pics! Short for "User pictures", and also known as avatars, Userpics are built in to the system, and you can use them on your published entries, and even on your comments. And Userpics have all the power of MT4's asset management system, so you can upload, manage, and tag them just like you would any other image or photo in your system. Seeing the faces (or icons) of the members of your community goes a long way towards creating a sense of "belonging", and makes it easy to identify the regulars that help your blog's community thrive.
  • Some crazy next-generation geeky stuff! This one's an experimental feature, just for the geeks: As of MT 4.1, the Movable Type templating language is now Turing Complete. MT 4.1 introduces some new looping constructs, additional variable types (like hashes and arrays) and control flow structures like If-ElseIf-Else). You can finally port Tetris to the MT template language!
  • The whole damn thing is faster, and can take whatever traffic you throw at it. With all the new features in MT4, we've had to work hard to make sure the speed of managing and publishing your site stays peppy. So MT 4.1 introduces a number of new performance enhancements, like blog search results that are significantly more speedy. And as always, MT defaults to publishing standard, scalable plain HTML documents for your entries -- so you can enjoy the attention when your blog gets on Digg, instead of worrying about whether your web host is going to yell at you, or having to figure out a technical solution just to handle the traffic.

But wait, there's more!

As we mentioned with the release of Movable Type Open Source, we want to make sure our paying users know they're getting the most bang for their buck. So we're launching the Professional Pack, a benefit for all users who purchase a supported commercial license. And soon, it will be joined by a new personal license for the Community Solution, that makes it easy for you to get the power of full-featured forums, rich community blogs, and slick new member profiles for your personal blog. (In the meantime, you can check out the screencast to find out what's in the Community Pack.)

Packed With Power

The Pro Pack lets you flex your creative muscles with MT, turning the world's most powerful blogging platform into a full-fledged content management system. Some of the highlights:

  • Universal Template SetUniversal Template Set for Business Websites. Your company or project can get up and running with a professionally designed website using MT's new content management features using the new universal template set. Just click to start a new site and you're automatically provided with a beautiful homepage, default pages for common information like an About page or a Contact page, and a full-featured blog. Even better, you can start customizing the content of any section of the site just by clicking on it.
  • Custom Fields. Now you've got complete control over the fields that you use to publish your site. Extend your entries and pages with drop-down lists, radio buttons, or just plain text fields. Add additional fields to your author's profiles, giving you more information about the contributors on your site. And you can even tweak the fields used to describe your system's folders and categories, storing any details you want to keep track of. Plus, field customization even extends to letting you easily rearrange the fields in any posting form through drag-and-drop, so you can make sure authors have the easiest experience possible.

Thank You

We've been thrilled by the incredible amount of support and attention that the community's given to MT, especially during the MT 4.1 beta. The hard work has paid off -- the launch of MT 4.1 also marks the first official stable release of Movable Type Open Source. But most of all, as we said with the launch of the MT4.1 Beta, it's just getting started. After more than six years, it's exciting to see that Movable Type is still helping you do amazing things by putting the power of personal expression into the hands of an amazing community