November 26, 2007

Upgrade Project – Status Report

So, um, MovableType 4.0 – yeah, well, I’m not impressed. I mean the interface and the bells and whistles look good, but … what the hell were they thinking when designed the stylesheets?

See, in the grand scheme plan of resurrecting this neglected blog, I want to first give it a facelift. The existing style was never my fav, it just worked, and I couldn’t get motivated to play with it any more because, well, I pretty much hate stylesheets. (I did mention somewhere along the line that I write code for a living, right?) Pouring over a stylesheet is not my idea of fun.

But MT 4.0 makes that easy right? One of the many nifty widgets included in MT 4.0 is StyleCatcher which ‘theoretically’ allows you to import and deploy themes pretty much on the fly. But in order for that to work, there need to be themes to import. The base MT 4.0 install comes with 10 options, all in varying degrees of butt-ugly. But outside of those, there is a whole bunch of NADA. Zip, zero, nothing. Everything I have found is geared toward 3.x. (MT 4.0 is only about 4 months old, so maybe I’m out of line expecting to find anything yet.)

Six Apart made some pretty heavy duty changes to many of the basic classes with this upgrade and 3.x themes simply do not play nice with 4.0.

The whole StyleCatcher thing appears to me to be unnecessarily complicated. Between the 3 sheets that compose a simple default style (they call it ‘minimalist-red’), there is over 850 lines of code. In three separate sheets! I like the fact that they’ve embraced modular programming in style sheets, but 850 lines? Dude – that’s like, so NOT the point of modular code.

So now I’m left in a dilemma. Do I attempt to preserve this mad system so when I become bored with the next theme I can change it easily, or so I scrap the whole thing and script my own style from scratch and thus break StyleCatcher forever?

The existing style works mostly so in the meanwhile you’ll have to tolerate the pukey orangish/brownish color a little longer.

Posted by Clancy at November 26, 2007 8:38 PM