Steps for Moving to Textpattern from Movable TypeAs mentioned, I decided to move from Movable Type to Textpattern—the hullabaloo (like that word?) about pricing was just the impetus, not the root reason. I’ve been using TXP to experiment and running a couple of other sites for months, and I’ve been so not frustrated by it, that I long ago decided I’d move this site over. Only reason I hadn’t already was that I thought it would be hard. I was wrong. So, here are the basics of moving from MT to textpattern, a short tutorial or guide, in case you’re into it:First off, take care of your business:

  1. Do a final backup of your existing site so you can revert if something blows up (which isn’t all that likely unless you delete your db. Don’t do that.)
  2. Export your Movable Type blog(s): Log into MT, go to your 1st blog and along the left side you’ll see export options—save an export file to plain text format. IMPORTANT! Note the “blog_id” of the URL you’re saving from. It should say something like “blog_id=1” at the end. Note the number in particular and which blog it refers to.
  3. Rinse and Repeat as necessary for your remaining blogs.
  4. Save your CSS and Index files to separate text files you can refer to if you intend to convert your layout and/or cannibalize the code for your new site.
  5. Create a new MySQL database if you’re going to use a fresh one through your web host’s online interface.

Next, Install Textpattern:

  1. Go to the site and pull down the install package.
  2. Unpack it and make arrangements to redirect or what have you your old index/site info until you’re ready with the new one.
  3. Upload the contents of the folder to the directory you want TXP in. It doesn’t have to be the root, but that’s the norm.
  4. Load in your browser
  5. Here you’ll need your database info. I created a secondary db to transfer to, but I understand you can use the same one too. Input the database name and password
  6. Follow the directions, which will have you copy and pasting the settings into the config.php file in the Textpattern folder.
  7. Delete setup.php when told to – this prevents others from reformatting your blog at will.
  8. You should be able to load your site now at to confirm everything, and then you’ll want to go to to get started setting up.
  9. Here you have your choice – categories or sections. If you have a multi-blog site, I recommend sections. They can act like blogs within a blog, whereas categories are just that – same as in MT. Sections allow different page formats if you wish, with different URLs as well.Once you’ve decided, create either categories or sections for each of the blogs you’ll be importing by going to the Content > Organize tabs for categories, or the Presentation > Sections tab for Sections. 
  10. I chose Sections. Eh. Next, go here and download the import script. Upload it to the Textpattern folder on your server.
  11. Now you need to edit the script before you run it to pull in your blogs.Open it up, put in the “To” and “From” database information at the top. Now scroll down and look for the “Sections” part of the script. Note the blog_id=”x” and the section name portion—put in the blog id number and the corresponding section name that you want it to import into. 
  12. Run the script that you uploaded and it will import directly from your MT database the specific blog you referenced into the section you specified.
  13. Repeat as necessary, changing the “blog_id” and section for each blog you import and run the script again with the new settings.
  14. That’s it – all your entries are now filed away in TXP. If you used a fresh database you can remove your MT install now, or if you like you can keep it for old times sake.If you have problems with the direct import—you can import your export files one by one with this script instead, and refer to the documentation for it as necessary. Settling InTextpattern is different than Movable Type. It does not use separate blogs, but you can perform the same functions by using Sections instead. Alternatively, you can use Categories as mini-blogs/sidebars by saving your items into a special category and calling them into the part of your page you wish with a tag.For more information on using Textpattern tags, check this out.The other differences I’ve noted so far are:
    • TXP doesn’t generate static pages – it’s all in the database, including the CSS, but you can still edit with an external editor if you wish.
    • TXP is faster because it doesn’t rebuild. Changes are near instantaneous. Holy No-More-Headaches Batman!
    • Most of the stuff you get plugins for on MT is built in – the Textile/Smartypants/Markup stuff, the “clean” URLs, the referrer log, the comment moderation and more. For some good extra plugins, check out Drew’s.
    • It relies on search more than archive lists. You can browse articles by categories, sections, etc, but it doesn’t do a “calendar” like Radio or MT, and you have to work to get a date based archive page/list. This may be changes in the future based on forum discussions, but for now it is what it is. That said, I don’t miss ‘em at all.

Next step will be reformatting your site to use TXP tags instead of MT ones. No problem there really. If you want to do a straight transfer of your layout, copy your CSS and your Index pages straight into the menu—copy CSS into Presentation > Style, and then the Index into Presentation > Pages > Default (default is normally your front page).Then you’ll need to walk through the index (default) bit by bit, replacing the MT tags with the TXP ones. This is made simple by the menu on the left that tells you the tag to use when you pick the function you’re replacing. You can do it in 10 minutes if you’re slick.Once this is done, you’ll need to edit the “archive” page to have the formatting you wish for individual entries, and if you wish to have separate CSS for those you can copy over the base CSS file (from within TXP) and reformat from there.Miscellaneous Issues:

  • If you want to create a sidebar from a category OR section: Create a “form” with the layout of each entry (I removed everything but the body text and permalink for mine, for example). Create a new “Article (custom)” tag, selecting the correct form and the section/category you want, with the number of items to list. Put that in the correct Div or other portion of your page. Easy.
  • If you don’t seen any entries but just go back to the front page when you click a permalink: you have to select the correct page, i.e., “article” or “archive” in the Section menu. Once you do, you’ll see it go to the individual item page rather than the front page.
  • If you’re having problems with ”/clean/” URLs: hit the forums and search there. It’s a common problem but very fixable.
  • If you want a quick solution to using sections with subdomains or secondary blogs you can try this.

That’s it. It’s worth it, and probably much simpler that I make it sound.