Michael Sippey talks AthenaAnd now to the heart of this trip to New York. Six Apart held a Movable Type Summit in the Affinia Hotel Manhattan yesterday, and they’d asked me to be one of the speakers. It was a summit of two halves, with the first devoted to the technical issues and the second to use cases and the business of blogging.

I’ve got a fair investment in Movable Type. I’ve been using it for this blog for well over three years, and we’ve selected the Enterprise version of the tool as our blogging platform at work. I came seeking some reassurance that we made the right choice. And got it. In spades.

In many ways, the first, technical section of the day was as reassuring as anything. There are a core of good people here, doing some serious work around high-traffic sites – and willing to share the experiences they’ve had. I know some people believe that MT doesn’t scale, but David Jacobs was able to give some solid evidence and advice about exactly how it can (and does) scale.

Anil concentratesThe afternoon sessions were more a case of bonding over common experiences. There’s no doubt that any organisation that starts blogging internally or externally starts to experience some major cultural shifts – but most start from a position of fear. Again and again I hear people not liking the idea of readers being able to comment, and their position quickly changing as their experience of reader interaction grows.

Indeed, on both the technical and content front there was plenty of discussion about the best ways of taking regular commenters and giving them a bigger say with blogs.

I’m not going to blow-by-blow the issues raised in the summit, but I will go through some of them in future posts. I have a seven hour flight on Saturday. I need something to keep me busy…

Closing off the day, Michael Sippey took us through the future of Movable Type through until the end of the year. Movable Type 4 hits by the summer, with the roadmap showing two .1 releases before the end of 2007. Much of the focus of MT4 is going to be on re-engineering the platform to use the key technologies behind Vox and Typepad to make the application faster, and much better at handling non-text assets. There will be a series of add on packs that add elements that aren’t needed by everybody in the core product, but which will allow people to customise the app they way their (business-mainly) environment needs. A nice concept, and one that breaks down the current distinction between Movable Type and Movable Type Enterprise.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll stay a Six Apart customer for our blogs for ever and I’m most certainly not going to start taking sides in the tiresome WordPress versus Movable Type war (I’m glad there are other tools out there should we ever wish to switch). MT looks like its going to be the right tool for us for a while to come.