As we mentioned yesterday, we're putting the finishing touches on Movable Type 3.3 in advance of the beta test starting next week. We're very excited about this release and look forward to showing you what we've got in store.
Our high-level goals for this release are straightforward:
Simplify creating, updating and reading your blogs
- Easier organization and retrieval of content with tags and search feeds
- Smarter defaults: Fewer settings and adjustments that need to be managed
- Transformer plugins make dramatic customization of Movable Type's UI easy
Help you manage the success of your blogs in new ways
- Activity Feeds: Make all common system tasks and notifications available as single feed or individual ones
- Activity Log improvements: Better data, more useful functions, better filtering and notification about your blogs and community
- Reduce the amount of learning that administrators or managers need to do
Help developers and designers do more with less effort
- Vastly expanded template tag options for common content management tasks
- Predefined examples for publishing paths and URLs
- More powerful template tags for displaying the exact content you want to publish
- Give plugin developers more features "for free" built into the system
Preserve the investments that you've made in Movable Type
- Your plugins and templates won't break when you upgrade
- Improved support for third-party applications for template editing, posting, and reading feeds
We'll offer more details and specifics about these features when the code is actually available, but these are the categories that the major improvements and additions fall under. To get started, we wanted to offer some more depth on the features that are most relevant to ProNet audience in particular.
These are some of the highlights we think will be of most interest to ProNet members and Movable Type experts:
Smarter Defaults, and Fewer Settings
Setting up a new blog or a new installation can be like getting a new computer -- the first thing you do is turn off all the stupid settings. So by default, we've got rid of fifty settings and controls when you create a new blog in Movable Type 3.3, and made the default choices be smarter about doing what you expect. You can still get to these options (and dozens of new ones, for people that like to tweak) but the good news is now that you don't have to if you don't want to.
A Better Author Experience
Built in Tags, with support for automatically publishing tag clouds and support for the rel="tag" attribute. Resizable posting text areas that remember your settings and have bigger, more readable fonts. Inclusion of a range of professionally-translated language packs so that all your authors can see the MT user interface in their own language. And smart default settings that don't overwhelm authors with fields they won't use. And an improved junk management system means you spend even less time dealing with spam.
A vastly improved search now offers per-blog templates for search results. This also combines with the new tagging feature to offer tag search across blogs, per-tag feeds, or even per-keyword feeds for search results. And search result feeds are OpenSearch compatible. If you're picky about URLs or trying to optimize for search engines, you can easily choose from a range of URL schemes, or create your own without editing templates. Each of your blogs' categories can have its own custom publishing path as well.
Manage Your Blogs With a Single Feed
All activity on your blogs is now available in an Activity Feed, customized for every user in the system. Instead of getting emails about your blog, choose whether your Activity Feed includes information about comments, TrackBacks, entries, or any combination. The Activity Feed can also display information about your Movable Type installation, such as errors or warnings, and provides links right in the feed for any action you want to perform. Instead of having to remember which screen has the feature you're looking for, the Activity Feed delivers action links right to you, and plugins can add even more information to the feed, such as reporting or custom updates.
Smarter Bundled Plugins
Widget Manager: A powerful new plugin (based on the popular Sidebar Manager) lets you rearrange and redesign elements on your blog without editing any HTML. And other plugins can make their own new widgets, simplifying design tasks. An improved StyleCatcher gives you access to all the designs from The Style Contest (http://thestylecontest.com), letting you change the look of your blog without you having to touch the XHTML or CSS. (Major thanks to Elise, Arvind and Jesse for their incredible, hard work on the Style Contest!)
Say goodbye to Melody Nelson: There's no more default login for Movable Type, as you're now prompted for your own account info when you create a new installation. And users are assigned a personal, customizable password for web services, so that you don't have to give your Movable Type password away if you want to use a third-party service to post to your blog.
MORE TO COME
We'll be talking a lot more about the new version in the weeks to come, of course. But we wanted ProNet members to be the first to know about Movable Type 3.3 because it's the creativity that you all bring to the community that really helps all of us get the most out of Movable Type.
There's some additional features we'll be talking about during the beta, and some surprises yet to come, but we hope this first glimpse shows you that we take your commitment to the Movable Type platform seriously. We're investing more into the platform now than ever before, and the most important feature we'll be developing in this release isn't any of the changes to the code that we've mentioned, but rather the effort we'll be putting into supporting our community.
So that's the last big feature we wanted to talk about for the upcoming release: More focus on the Professional Network as the heart of the Movable Type community. We want to give more chances to benefit from your expertise, and do more to promote the successes you've had on our platforms. We also hear, loud and clear, that you want more communication from us, and more idea about our roadmap and direction, so we'll be looking for your guidance on what you want to hear from us and when.
Thanks to all of you for your patience and support, and get ready for the best version of Movable Type yet!
We have some great news: Movable Type 3.3 is just about ready and the beta test will be starting next week! While we'll be posting details on some of the goals and best features of the latest version tomorrow, we wanted to let you know that it was coming and gather some feedback while we're in the preparation phase.
For those of you who participated in the v3.2 beta, the process will be very familiar as we've kept many of the things that worked well and you told us you liked best:
- An open and public beta
- 3 to 5 versioned releases plus nightly builds
- A beta blog serving as the hub of the beta testing activity
- Easy submission of bug reports
- Technical support for the beta on the beta blog
We're also making one significant change in the process: We're tightly constraining the beta test to three weeks, to make feedback more directed and have more structure around milestones. Basically, we want to make it easier for you to know where you stand in the beta process, without having to wonder, "Is it ready for me to start really testing yet?" The answer will be "yes".
So, if you've participated in other beta tests, we'd love to hear about things that worked really well for you. We're always looking for ways to improve and your feedback is crucial to making sure that we do.
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