Six Apart upgrades TypePad; launches open-source Movable Type

TypePad gets improved publishing features; Movable Type gets community and goes open source.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Today blogging-tools company Six Apart is upgrading its business-focused products, TypePad and Movable Type.

In the blog echo chamber, Automattic's WordPress gets a lot of the buzz, since it's open source, free, and led by the charismatic and young Matt Mullenweg (interview part 1 and part 2). WordPress' blogging software is well liked by its users, and there are a lot of people who know how to maintain WordPress installations. Automattic also runs WordPress.com, a hosted blogging service. TechCrunch and GigaOm run on WordPress.

Meanwhile, Six Apart sells Movable Type, a competing product to WordPress. It's a very successful product as well, and has as its customers several large blogs and many corporations that use it for both internal blogs and external sites. Six Apart's hosted blogging service (its counterpart to WordPress.com) is TypePad. BoingBoing and Wired's blogs run on Movable Type. My personal blog (no longer being updated) is on TypePad.

TypePad upgrades

TypePad, Six Apart's hosted blog platform, gets new features that make it more capable as a full Web site publishing platform, as opposed to just a blog: The service will get features that make it easier to create static, or nonblog, pages on a site. Usually static pages are used for reference pages, like About pages, but they're also good for longer or more intricately designed pages. (For example, the Webware 100 voting pages are static pages) .

TypePad also launched a new service level, Premium, at $300 a year. It includes more storage and bandwidth than the Pro level ($150 a year), as well as access to a closed community of Premium-level users and invitations to "TypePad Insider Web events."

Movable Type 4

The latest version of the blogging software Movable Type also received some interesting upgrades. The platform, which is designed to host multiple blogs and support a large number of authors, now has community features that let site managers promote readers and commenters to blog authors. There's also a new authoring interface and several management features.

Most interestingly, Movable Type is finally going open source. The company plans to release a freely available, open-source version of its new blogging platform, Movable Type 4, in the third quarter under the General Public License (GPL). Six Apart will continue to license its own version of Movable Type for corporations that would rather have support, and it will also make new feature packs available on its paid product, but now people who want to run, and perhaps enhance, their own special version of Movable Type will be able to do so.

A beta of Movable Type 4 is available now. The open-source version will follow in the third quarter this year.

Disclosure: I was briefed by Chris Alden, an executive vice president at Six Apart. I worked for Alden when we were both at Red Herring, from 1998 to 2001.