Movable Type’s Impenetrable CSS

I really like MT, but the 3.x layout is really, really hard to work with. With MT 2.6, I spent about 45 minutes and had a simple fluid layout. Done. With 3.0, I wasted a couple of hours and got nowhere. I’ve seen a couple posts where people spent six or eight hours to get it working. That’s crazy.

I really, really hate fixed-width designs and Six Apart doesn’t offer a single fluid design in their styles, so I’m forced to do it all from scratch. A fixed-width design is like a guest walking into your home and immediately rearranging all the furniture to suit them. It is total design arrogance and I won’t do it.

The current layout is my old 2.6 templates pasted onto 3.x.

So, if parts of this blog are ugly, like the comments popup, well, it is my responsibility, but I just don’t have a full day to sacrifice to the CSS god and the ridiculous design from Six Apart. Sorry about that. It is on my list of things to fix.

3 thoughts on “Movable Type’s Impenetrable CSS

  1. Hello Walter!
    I share your frustration. I actually have hesitated starting to use MT because I too, as a web designer/developer, find the default templates to be kinda consusing. So, I was estatic when the MT team asked me to join them in January. One of my tasks has been to give the html & css of app and default blog a serious scrubing for Athena, codename for MT4.
    I have modularized the default templates in MT such that if you want to update the header–or any other reused piece of the tempaltes–you only edit this in one place.
    Additionally I’ll be including a few default CSS files to assist with the most common core needs of a site:
    – reset.css – stylesheet removing default browser styling of html.
    – fonts.css – stylesheet for defining a common set of fonts families and default sizing for various elements.
    – structure.css – stylesheet containing all the necessary css to style your browser in multiple 1, 2, and 3 column layouts… and they will all be available in fixed or fluid widths. (I’m planning to make the app also have the ability to be fluid or fixed …and it’s working so far!)
    In addition to these files, we’ll include a few basic themes that will build on top of the above files. Themes that rely on the above defalt stylesheets will be very short and mostly define colors, background images, and maybe a little spacing.
    I can’t tell you how excited I am about these new templates. I’ve been sharing them with a few ProNet members for feedback and they’re pretty stoked with the progress. I’m sure you’ll love ’em too!
    (Thanks to Mike Schwartz for pointing me to your post.)


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