Six Apart has released the most significant update in recent years to its Movable Type blogging software, augmenting what industry experts already consider to be the most comprehensive product in its category.
Movable Type 4 has been rebuilt to simplify corporate blogging and publishing by companies, as well as the creation of online communities as stated by Six Apart spokespersons.
The company has also announced its intention to release an open source version of Movable Type in its third quarter, targeting companies and developers who are interested in expanding the functionality of the platform.
The improvements in the new version keep Movable Type ahead of the rudimentary blogging capabilities that manufacturers like IBM and Microsoft have begun to include in their collaboration platforms.
According to Forrester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz, “No other is as robust as Movable Type. Six Apart has a huge advantage.”
However, Six Apart must continue to improve the product and ensure that it is easy to integrate with business systems, because while Microsoft and IBM do not have the same level of options, they do provide integrated collaboration platforms.
As Mike Gotta, an analyst at Burton Group, points out, “This is where Movable Type needs to improve.”
Increasingly, business users expect to have an integrated Web 2.0 groupware suite that includes features like blog, wiki and content syndication applications, Gotta says.
One step in the right direction is Movable Type’s inclusion of Intel’s SuiteTwo bundle of Web 2.0 enterprise collaboration software, although it remains to be seen if SuiteTwo has sufficient market penetration, Gotta says.
SuiteTwo, which also incorporates wiki software from Socialtext, integration services from SpikeSource, and content syndication tools from NewsGator Technologies and SimpleFeed, has been available since last April 2007.
Aside from creation and integration efforts, Six Apart should consider building a wiki component for Movable Type, as there is a great deal of synergy between wikis and blogs, Gotta says.
Of course, Six Apasrt must continue its innovation and upgrade cycle so that it can keep Movable Type functionality ahead of offerings from companies like IBM or Microsoft, Koplowitz says.
The main features of Movable Type 4 are:
• Enhancements to blogging, such as an install and upgrade wizard, improved template management, and a redesigned user interface.
• Community building capabilities such as the ability for blog owners to allow readers to become members of websites and to post text, photos, video and audio.
• IT administration tools to manage multiple blogs and users from a central interface.
• Scalability features like the ability to run Movable Type on multiple servers.
• Integration capabilities with corporate systems and directories.
The beta version of Movable Type can be downloaded from the developer’s website. As for the price, this is free for private users. Current users with non-profit, education or business licenses will be able to upgrade to version 4 at a discount; being able to consult the applicable rates in each case on the developer’s website.