Moveable Type is making a play for WordPress users to “upgrade”, with Anil Dash firing a broadshot across Automattic’s port side. Dash makes some good points but fails to articulate a compelling reason to switch, primarily because the basic premise is flawed, that WordPress is hard to upgrade and that its architecture is an impediment to ordinary users who seek to extend its functionality or implement their own style and design.
Probably the single biggest reason for WP’s success is the one-click install and one-click upgrade offered by Dreamhost and other web host companies. I can literally setup a WP blog for anyone in less than 3 minutes. Most of that time is post-install customization, as well. The plugin ecosystem is far more vibrant on the WP side than MT, and the proliferation of styles and themes means that the end user need only choose from a bounty of available options if they don’t want to tinker on their own – but tinkering is also very, very easy since the various files can be edited directly from within the online administration pages.
Where MT should focus its poaching efforts is as a competitor to WordPress MU. Thus far, WP-MU remains a complex and daunting installation and maintenance is not simple. However, MU is still attractive, especially because of the new Buddypress functionality that will turn all MU users on a given install into an instant social network. What MT needs to do to grow is not to try and convince the end users with their own WP blogs, but try to create a full fledged blog ecosystem like WordPress.com, and attract users to their platform there. Typepad, built on the previous iteration of MT3, is simply inadequate as a competitor to WordPress.com-hosted free blogs. By providing a new umbrella site for free blogs, MT can build the user base to the critical mass required for increased power user adoption. As things stand, I simply have no incentive to try MT4, and Anil’s PR attempt falls flat since frankly he’s attacking a straw man of WordPress rather than the reality which I deal with every day.
In a few days, I will log into my Dreamhost panel and upgrade my blogs to WordPress 2.5. WP is a moving target. MT4 needs to catch up and then stay abreast. Until it’s as easy for me to install and upgrade MT as it is WP, they aren’t even close.