Movable Type, Six Apart's publishing system is releasing its fourth version today. Six Apart began its public beta of version four in early June, and has since moved through a handful of release candidates. The biggest change Movable Type users are going to notice is a new interface, which includes a WYSIWYG editor, and 30 new themes to skin and style your blog without having to know any CSS. There's also a new setup wizard that will help the technically bewildered install it without having to print out a how-to guide.
With MT4, Six Apart is merging the consumer and enterprise versions of Movable Type, and are now offering those features as "solution packs." On the enterprise end, this equates to support for and integration with corporate servers and sales teams. For consumers who are running their own blogs, the community pack lets them add features like user profiles and story recommendation. Six Apart has also added support for OpenID, so if visitors already have an OpenID, they'll be able to register with your site using those credentials.
Perhaps the biggest change is the option to administrate multiple blogs. Previously, MT users were relegated to just one at a time. The new system brings it up to spec with similar admin functionality of the likes of WordPress and Blogger. Speaking of which, MT4 has a new importer for WordPress users who want to migrate, as well as a backup and restore tool to let you save and restore your blog in case of catastrophe.
MT4 integrates over a dozen third party plug-ins. Some might sound familiar, like Box.net's file storage, Vizu Polls, and NewsGator RSS (who handles that nifty news bar on Webware). There's also a new plug-in directory to keep them sorted and accessible.
Open source nuts will be getting their hands on an open version of Movable Type in about two months. Chris Alden, EVP and GM of the Professional Division at Six Apart told me that MT is already about 90% open source, and the new one will be "the best open sourced solution out there."
Below are some screenshots of MT4. To see more, click the "read more" link below.