movabletype 4 upgrade – styles


Let’s face it, movabletype themes suck. And I’m coming from the point of view of a loyal user. If I ever switch to WordPress, it will be because of the themes, plugins and MT’s technical demands.

To illustrate my point, compare the MT style archive against WordPress themes. What’s worse, MT4 comes with 3 … yes THREE excrutiatingly boring default themes — a Cityscape collection of illustrated skylines of a handful of cities; a basic Minimalist theme which is a rehash of the Vox theme; and something called Unity which basically puts some colour to the sidebar.

Something I don’t understand is there are Default Styles and then there’s the MT4 Style Library. I was excited when I clicked on MT4 Style Library but that excitement only lasted for 1 millisecond until it loaded. The so-called extended library is nothing more than versions of the THREE default styles — instead of Minimalist Red or Green we have Blue, Brown, Grey, Purple, Light Blue (gasp), Light Green, Pink and White. I don’t know whether to eyeroll or pullhair at the dismal choices.

None of the themes in the StyleArchive are MT4 compatible yet.

The least evil of the three evils is Minimalist. And the least evil of that lot is White. MT3 introduced Stylecatcher, which allows easy capturing and implementation of styles. I guess the saving grace was how easy it was to apply the style.

The problem with it being so easy is that I seem to need to apply it to each blog, I can’t do a system-wide implementation. This also means the css files are under the sub-folders and I have no idea how to pull one out to the root, apply to the entire site and make changes.

So here’s how things stand. Using the 80-20 rule, 80% is done, there’s just the remaining fiddly 20% to finish. Here’s how the website look today.


Known issues in terms of styles:

  1. custom styles like float and box elements are not implemented
  2. need to add horizontal tabbed navigation — the links are there but because I haven’t added the stylesheet elements it’s just a standard ul at the top left
  3. entry container is too close to the sidebar
  4. narrower container, something that looks like Kubrick
  5. calendar is too cluttered
  6. difference in list behaviour in sidebar — look at the admin section and the recent posts section; the line heights are inconsistent
  7. fonts — cripes I really don’t like trebuchet, I prefer verdana; then again it’s miles preferable to a serif font
  8. font colur = #666, not #333
  9. link behaviour — normal a, a:visited and a: active need to be not underlined and in a different colour; a:hover should be in a darker colour and underlined
  10. sidebar links to behave differently to main links — not blue, probably the same colour as normal text
  11. borders on images and linked images to be dictated by the html not the stylesheet
  12. comment form too prominent
  13. add an “all tags” link — okay this isn’t stylesheet but I need to do it too