Six Apart told CMSWire a couple of weeks ago that blogging had evolved, and now we know what they meant.
The creators of the MovableType and TypePad blogging platforms today release Movable Type Community Solution (MTCS), a commercial product which enables the building of social media communities.
Having done its bit to kick-start the blogging revolution with the creation of Movable Type 1.0 back in 2001, 6A's new 'MySpace in a Box' solution aims to revolutionize the blogosphere once more by offering everyone the ability to create their own social networking site.According to Six Apart, MTCS "enables the quick and easy deployment of online communities". It extends the Movable Type Micro CMS platform to a complete website management solution, incorporating the management of blogs, social communities, forums and regular marketing and informational material, all through a unified CM framework. The system can be deployed either to serve outward-facing web resources, or for internal community functions.
The new community-builder enables the deployment of websites with advanced social networking features, for both site administrators and users.
A MTCS site will enable users to register, customize their profile and avatar, vote on posts, and track their and other members' activity, while administrators can easily manage member permissions, site content, and perform other routine administration tasks from a central location.
Site designers, meanwhile, can customize many aspects of the community experience, including site templates, login and registration forms, email notifications and member profiles.
If you already use MT on your site, MTCS comes as an add-on that you upload to your server in the designated directory. Simple as that. If you don't already use Movable Type for your site, both the MTCS add-on (around 4 MB) and the core MT 4 product come as a bundled package, and you upload the package as per the usual dance moves.
Righty-o -- now for a proper look at what the good ship MTCS has to offer.
MTCS Reader Features
* user profiles with avartars of user pics
* favoriting and user voting/promotion of content items
* reader-contributed content (i.e., community blog entries)
* pre-configured solutions for a Community Blog and Forums -- quickly deploy a blog with all the community features you want, or a forum in just a few clicks
* comment feeds -- publish comment feeds for site, topic, blog post and/or profile Community Member Default Profile Community Forum Example Community Blog with Ratings and Favoriting
MTCS Admin Features
Aside from the nifty public facing features, MTCS includes a number of back office / admin additions which should make owning and operating a community site a bit easier. Notables include:
* dashboard widgets for monitoring activity
* global templates -- make changes across the network via centralized templates
* customizable login and registration forms -- e.g., put your logo on registration screens.
* customizable profile meta-data -- determine what profile you want to collect from or offer to your users -- useful bit of kit, this.
* custom fields -- build out the data model with, er, custom fields. nice one.
One of the most important features here is the ability to extend the system via Custom Fields. If there's one thing true about community applications, it's that the functional requirements will constantly evolve. The platform you choose needs to be agile enough to support, rather than stand in the way of this reality. Community Blog Creation Global Email Template Editor Custom Fields for Extending the Data Model
The excitement this reporter feels about MTCS will doubtless evaporate once he hears how much it's going to cost. No definitive news on that score yet, but a little birdy said something about a US$ 10k ticket. Until we hear differently, you will just have to contact 6A at email@example.com, and make sure you are sitting down when the reply gets in. For supplemental reading in the meanwhile, check out the Community Solution documentation. And a live demo is shaping up as well.