Designing with WordPress and MovableType
I've been a huge MovableType (MT) user since version 2; though, from time to time, I've dabbled with WordPress (WP) just to have some functional knowledge of it. But WP seems to be growing in popularity in the personal and educational blogging space while MT seems to be declining.
Last week, I once again installed WP on one of my servers to check out the current version: 2.9.1. I've been rather amazed at how far WP has come since I last played with it—espcially when using the latest version of Firefox.
I use MT 3 on drTimTyson.com and MT 4 on my experimental blog which serves as my exploratory "proving ground." (I also used MT 3 on MabryOnline.org.) MT 3 and 4 are vastly different from one another! The learning curve required some serious time (and frustration) before I could get my head around how the system had been restructured in version 4. MovableType has recently released version 5, which I haven't explored yet. I'm wondering if it will require as steep a learning curve?!
Really important to me: I want to take complete control of the blog's design and layout. Using CSS and MovableType's template tags, I can do this in MT 3 or 4. I have a basic understanding of how that (admittedly complicated) process works.
Another really important design issue: I've also raved about the use of mediaboxAdv, which I've used here on drTimTyson.com to highlight photos and video in a shadowbox. I've successfully implemented it on Blogger and MT. I can't get it to function without serious issues in WP. I've stumbled into a few resources for WP and mediaboxAdv, but I still can't get them to work properly.
WP has a very different approach to design and layout. I have always found WP themes to be frustrating because they seem to lock me into a design I can only minimally change by dragging and dropping the widgets in the Appearances controls. Perhaps the frustration is born of my not understanding the details of the design process in WordPress like I do in MovableType?
So, as I have time, over the next few weeks, I'm going to tackle theme design and manipulation along with mediaboxAdv implementation in WordPress. WP has some really awesome features now! But before I commit to using it, I want to be able to manage the look and feel of the blog to the extent I can with MovableType and get mediaboxAdv to work properly.
So, if you know any really excellent sources on designing with WordPress, or implementing mediaboxAdv (or a different shadowbox for both photos and video that is equally as powerful), please shoot me an email or post a comment.