Jan 16 saw the release of Movable Type 3.34, a semi-distant point release which promises to fix some concerning XSS vulnerabilities and more notably delivers accessible scalability derived from the leveraging of FastCGI.
FastCGI, while meaningless to most of you and perhaps a little reminiscent of the late 90's for the other 2%, handily increases Movable Type (MT) performance by something on the order of 15x. Woot MT geeks! And more to that, the new version is a free update for all legit MT users.The upgrade is in some ways an answer to competitor WordPress. WordPress, an open source blogging alternative, is built on the easy to use PHP platform instead of the less-friendly Perl environment leveraged by Movable Type. It's considered a more popular choice these days. And has even been used as as a way to work around MT scalability issues with things like commenting.
While FastCGI has always been available to Movable Type users, you could only tap into the "persistent environment" via a bit of elbow grease and some UNIX savviness. MT 3.34 renders such tedium less necessary. The blog application can now detect the presence of FastCGI and tap into the performance benefits without a jostle from the developer.
Improved access to FastCGI yields the following benefits:
* Improved Application Performance -- we mentioned it increases the performance by 15x, an increase largely attributable to state caching between page requests. This reduces both page load time and database load -- two major complaints aired by many MT users.
* Faster Commenting -- Movable Type typically takes forever to channel comments, due in part to the fact that it routes them through the application in order to filter spam and make them easy for publishers to edit or remove them. FastCGI hastens the pace of this process.
* Enhanced Reliability -- The new MT app requires fewer resources to load a page, thereby reducing server and database loads, which leaves more room for the functioning of other apps and system components.
* Resistance to Spam -- MT already does a decent job against spam but no app is perfect. FastCGI enables comment spam to get recognized and processed more quickly, which lowers the network overload that often occurs during a spam attack.
We look forward to seeing how the changes to Movable Type resonate with existing and new users. The update certainly addresses problems we've been made to suffer quietly with for some time.
Read more about MT v 3.34 and get upgrade instructions here.