TypePad Review

Tuesday, August 05 2003

I just signed up for a typepad

account, and I’m quite floored by how good it is. It’s fair to say that Ben, Mena, and Anil (and whoever else has had their nose to the grindstone) have been incredibly busy. It’s quite good (that’s British for “damn it’s good”).

The photo albums are my favorite feature so far. It was the one thing missing from MoveableType that was really stopping me from using MT full time. typepad’s Photo Albums are exactly what I’d want. They’re configurable, easy to use, have good resizing and thumbnail creation, and allow me to easily create very clean and bright photo albums.

And there are features beyond that that I’m still taking in. I’m not sure what to make of Typelists yet, but I can see myself posting lists of the books I’m reading, in the hopes that I might increase my Amazon credits in order to buy more books. It’s something I’ve attempted to do with little success on my own blog software, so hopefully having typelists will make a difference for me.

Something I hadn’t considered much that I find to be a fantastic idea is the trouble ticket system built into the typepad application. It’s easy to find, and has a very clear and easy to follow tracking system. Found a bug? Simple, open a ticket, and you’ll know when it’s fixed. I’m sure that it also makes managing bugs and other issues much easier for the team behind the software. If they’ve made the backend to it only half as elegant (as it always seems to be with public website software) they’ll have an easy time making an already excellent piece of software better.

A couple of things strike me right away about typepad that I think are quite deliberate, and well planned. It’s designed for pure simplicity. I can see my Mom using typepad (I’ve already set up a blog for her) and being able to use it well without much trouble, and minimal learning curve. But that simplicity doesn’t stop me, an advanced computer user, from taking full advantage of typepad. I can edit templates to my hearts content, although I am limited to the features typepad has (can’t plug in all sorts of MT plugins as far as I can see, but also, I have no need for them). I’ve played with Blogger, and Blogger simply doesn’t have simplicity so well planned. (And it’s all so pleasant on the eyes and easy to read as well.)

I think that combined with the features and simplicity, typepad has an easy chance of becoming dominant. It simply can’t be ignored, and will likely lure hardcore MT users as well as people just getting into weblogs. It’ll probably encourage people who never thought of having a weblog into having one.

And while I gush about it, there are things to be desired. I’d like to be able to point a domain name at any one of my typepad blogs (it’s coming soon Anil tells me). I’m concerned that the bandwidth restrictions on the most premium account are not enough. My combined bandwidth usage across my photo albums, personal site and come very near or actually go beyond the limit. But at $14.95 a month for unlimited weblogs, this is hardly something to complain about. Disk space is also a concern, but we’ll just play it by ear.

Overall, I highly recommend giving it a try. I’ll keep reporting what I think of it once/if the puppy love dies off.