Support » Themes and Templates » MT look and feel vs. WP?

  • recently i have been encountering a lot of MT blogs, and even sites built using MT as the engine behind content management (not unlike my own.)
    But what i keep noticing is that the MT sites have a kind of uniformity, a basic design structure that looks very classy.
    I know that design and style are touchy subjects, and everyone has thier own opinions… but has anyone noticed this too?
    Can anyone wager a guess as to why the difference?
    I should think that WP would look and work much better because it is so much better.
    Yet the more i poke around, the less this seems to be true.

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Mark (podz)


    Support Maven

    Don’t forget that MT has been around longer, and has a larger userbase.
    If WP had that, there would be no pondering .. none at all 🙂
    Oh … and WP validates ‘out of the box’. Try that on MT (or even some of the others).

    The thing is that wordpress blogs seem to be more “readable” – larger fonts, cleaner text. The fonts that wordpress templates use is also different.
    I much prefer larger fonts, but the basic thing is, the default templates that ship with both are different, and that sets the tone, for the most.
    I have seen quite a few wp blogs that are indistinguishable from MT blogs, especially some of the new migrants.

    I just converted from MT to WP on Saturday. My blog looks almost identical to how it looked before.
    One thing you will start to notice as you surf blogs a lot – they all look alike to some extent. There are some cool designers out there that everyone likes to copy. I just went to and realized that it looks like 10 other sites I have seen within the past two days.
    I don’t think it’s the CMS behind it that makes them look similar, I think it’s the designers that are following other people’s leads. However, WP gets a LOT of credit for validating out of the box. And if you go look at the CSS design winners out there, there are some really, really, really COOL designs available.

    I understand the benefits of validating out of the box, and as i said i love WP. It’s not like i am going to bolt to MT just cause i’m a cruddy designer (sad but true.)
    I guess i just wondered what MT came with at the outset which seemed to give even the naive user a leg up stylewise.
    however, Christine has demonstrated with two lovely sites. one hers, and the other very slick.
    i guess i’ll just keep picking away at my css file and index php.

    Mark (podz)


    Support Maven

    ” MT came with at the outset which seemed to give even the naive user a leg up stylewise”
    It didn’t. At the start they all looked ugly. It’s the userbase, and contributions from so many people in skin creation that helps. That and everyone following everyone else into using it.

    I’m still using MT for my live weblog as I try and get WP up and running like I want it. To be honest, this is not proving as easy as it sounds. There’s alot of things that are pretty simple to do with MT tags that aren’t so easy “out-of-the-box” with WP. The IA of my archives, for one…
    Nor do I wanna start a whole validation debate here. Indeed, I’m all for making sure your site says what it does on the tin (or DOCTYPE, as it may be). But the simple fact is that while the WP templates validate, they look crap. And their XHTML/CSS structure doesn’t exactly lend itself well to extensive customisation. I’m having to write my own from scratch.
    Don’t get me wrong – WP is a great product, and one that (after hacking it about) I’ll shortly be using. But to make it work the way I want it, I’ve had to wade neck-high in PHP, mod_rewrite, regular expressions and the like.
    Like Podz says, Ben and Mena and their plug-in army have been around a long time. Consequently, you don’t need to hack around in Perl to layout the site or pages as you want them. This leaves designers to do what they do best, and is perhaps why there’s so many nice sites sporting MT badges out there.

    Well there are a bucketful of WP sites out there also looking very nice.

    “Well there are a bucketful of WP sites out there also looking very nice.”
    I agree.
    But as a cruddy designer who is reachig for more, and not a fan of rehashed templates, i was only reflecting on the out of the box look, or readymade look of MT as opposed to WP.
    I don’t think validation, or qualitative comparrison was the intent of my post.
    Essentially i’d like to figure out how to apply those sick little bars atop the amazon links that MT users enjoy (so stylish) and the clear, sans serrif typography common to MT blogs, and (the big one) the use of little groovy images in titles!!!! wow…
    I suppose it’s my own fault for not being specific.
    It’s just that with WP i see a lot of serif type, and spread pages with the same sort of thing on the right side… (expert designers not included please) ya ya ya…
    And in MT novice blogs i see some pinaché and little tiny things that make ’em enviable.
    BUT as Christine pointed out so well above, there are many great sites, and often the most novel are quickly aped into cliché…
    Still, it’s be nice to have a pathway to style without having to give myself this painful re education in CSS and semantic design.
    bup, bup, bup…

    Actually, MT “out of the box” isn’t that pretty to look at. Feel free to visit and see a “straight out of the box MT site.” (Please be sure to ignore the TONS of comment spam that is there. MT doesn’t have nice comment moderation features yet.)
    I did NOTHING to customize that site. I was just using it to generate a link list that was a PHP include that I was including in the MT version of BigPinkCookie. (Now I’ve set up the Cookie Crumbs using Matt’s “Asides” instructions.)
    As far as BigPinkCookie, I can do everything with WP that I could do with MT, and do it a whole lot faster. My site almost looks identical, with the exception of changes I chose to make. My other site,, wasn’t the same case. It uses 4 fields of data, and the 3 in WP (including a title) make it a challenge to customize. I was going to switch it to WP, but I need to clean up the CSS and figure out how to make a lot of the customized hacks work. I should note that that site was designed in 2001, when MT 1.x was out – when MT was in the same “infancy” stage that WP is in now.
    It can be done. Look through the CSS designs available for WP – they are so good, I’m considering using them on my own site. It’s not impossible, it just takes patience to get to the design you want.

    One other thing I noticed while following above links to the “nice sites sporting MT badges” listed above – several of those people are authors of books on web design, standards or CSS. Not all, but several. Some (like Jeffrey Zeldman) are people that I have been reading since the late ’90s as they shared their thoughts on great web design.
    Another thing to note, until recently there were only two gigs in town. MT or Blogger. All the cool geek kids went with MT. There is a whole web community that has been built over years, and when Ben & Mena brought it out, they had a lot of great support from that. I know I jumped right in to MT the week after it became available because it was the only really good option I had.
    Now, I have found something better. I knew it was better a long time ago when Matt first talked about it, before it even had a name. His site loaded faster, and the power of PHP was obvious. It just took me awhile to get a clue and switch over. Now my site zoooooooooms!

    Moderator Matt Mullenweg



    It’s not by any means a definitive list, but here are a few of sites whose designs I love that happened to be powered by WP as well:

    Thanks Matt, that’s exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about.
    Heh, there you go – I never realised Ethan was on WP. All the more inspiration for us mere mortals…

Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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