As I mentioned before, I’m sort of looking for something to replace Movable Type for this website.

This is only partially related to MT’s recent pricing announcements; I can get by with the free single-blog version of MT, at least for now. Rather, I’d like to expand my basic blog to include some of the pieces of and my photo gallery, with a single comment engine tying everything together. And MT just isn’t up to it right now.

I spent some time this weekend looking into Drupal, which is a heavy-weight system that can scale down to individual blogs, but scales up to large community or political sites. The Dean campaign was using Drupal, for example. It has a few things going for it:

  • Supports non-blog static pages, with or without comments.
  • Has an active community.
  • Has atom and wiki plugins (untested).
  • Has gallery photo plugin.

On the other hand, I’ve hit two serious snags:

  • I can’t find a Markdown plugin for it. Google suggests that it exists, but I haven’t seen it anywhere. I could probably just take the Textile plugin and graft the PHP Markdown library into it.
  • It’s written in PHP.
  • I can’t get its “clean URL” support to work right. By default, Drupal uses “index.php?q=…” URLs, but you can get it to generate nice, clean URLs with very little work. Just click one radio button in the web configuration UI, and there you go. Er, once you get mod_rewrite working with Apache. I spent two hours on it, fighting with mod_rewrite and Apache 2, and the best I could do was get it to give me a 400 Bad Request error whenever I fed it a URL that should have been rewritten. The rewrite log looks okay, but it doesn’t actually work.

If I can fix the two big problems, then I’ll probably build a test site using the regular contents, and see where things go from there.