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Posts from July 2008

Building A Bright New TypePad

Ben Hi everyone, I’m Ben Trott, the co-founder and Chief Technical Officer here at Six Apart. It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me because my focus is on leading our team of engineers, and I spend most of my hours (ok, mainly the waking ones) writing code, brainstorming and building the infrastructure that powers TypePad.

You’ve heard from our CEO Chris Alden a few times this year about our plans for TypePad, and a big part of my job is the process of moving all TypePad blogs to a next generation platform. I’d like to give you some more details about our progress behind the scenes and also let you know what to expect in the coming months.

In short:

  • We’re migrating TypePad to a next-generation platform, essentially a new infrastructure based on the best of what we’ve learned from Vox, Movable Type and over five years of development on TypePad
  • After the switch, we’ll be able to release innovative features at a faster pace
  • Your blog is very important! (We know this – we’re bloggers too1.) We’re moving your blogs carefully in small batches so that the transition will be pretty much invisible to you
  • We’ve already moved a ton of blogs to the new infrastructure and we’re in the home stretch, but we expect the full process to last for most of this year

A peek behind the scenes
A lot has changed since we launched TypePad back in 2003, essentially as a hosted version of Movable Type. In 2006 we launched Vox, a social blogging service that brought innovative new features to blogging, such as powerful privacy, a much better way of handling photos and videos, and new ways to connect with readers, blogs and bloggers who share your interests. When we built Vox, we also created a groundbreaking underlying framework for building blogging applications, including a new architecture, a new codebase, and a new data model.

TypePad powers some of the best blogs in the world, so in order to keep innovative features coming we made the decision to migrate the entire service to this new platform. While we will keep Vox and TypePad as separate services, we see tremendous advantages to having them share the same infrastructure, and later this year you’ll see the benefits too.

A complex task
In simple terms, our migration process involves copying data into the new data model, then slowly moving your blogs over to be served by the new architecture and the new codebase. Because of the powerful customization options and flexibility we offer in TypePad, there is no “one-size-fits-all” process for migrating every blog. So, we’re batching blogs in ways that map well with the new architecture – the order in which we’re migrating blogs doesn’t correspond to any recognizable information to you, such as your account level or anything like that. Our process may seem random from the outside, but I assure you we’re not playing favorites!

A tremendous amount of focus and effort from the entire TypePad team2 and Six Apart staff has been put in to making this a smooth transition. We are going to err on the side of caution and take the time necessary to move every blog successfully, with as little disruption as possible to you. As always, our Support team is standing by and has recently redoubled their efforts to reduce wait times for open tickets.


What the new TypePad looks like
While the new TypePad looks significantly different to the engineering team working on it, it looks pretty much the same to those of you who can see it right now. There are some areas, such as the Compose screen3, where we have made changes you can see (so if you have a new Compose screen you have already been migrated!), but by and large the application will look and feel the same. Once the move to the new platform is completed, you will start to see new features and we’ll deliver improvements based on your feedback, building and refining them much more quickly with this new flexible system.

Shortly we’ll announce how you can be part of our expanded beta community, and help us test new features if you are interested. For those of you who don’t have the time or interest in being on the frontline for the new features, you’ll be able to hang back and get the new functionality after it’s been worked on by our community of beta testers. We’ll tell you more about all of this soon.

What to do in the meantime
Keep blogging! The whole team has been working on this for over a year, and we’re excited to start sharing the new TypePad with you (and frankly all the engineers here can’t wait to hack on the new platform) but please bear with us as we go through the home stretch.

Important things to remember:

  • This is a free upgrade to your TypePad service
  • You do not have to do anything – we will move your blogs carefully in batches
  • There may be some glitches along the way, but we are doing all we can to avoid that and have increased our Support capabilities to help address any problems we encounter
  • This transition continues from now until the end of this year, with our target goal to have all blogs on the new codebase in late November 2008

More to come
I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and even more excited to bring TypePad into a whole new era. We’ll keep updating you with more information along the way. Thanks for the amazing blogging you do with TypePad, and thanks for letting me step out from behind the scenes to give you this update. 

1Even though blogging is my business, I keep a personal blog at about all my obsessions, from pork to Project Runway.
2We've included a photo of most of the TypePad team, except for the team members who work remotely or were out of the office today.
3 The new Compose screen has a footnote feature, which makes me very happy.

New Themes: Sports & Leisure

With the 2008 Olympic Games fast approaching, many of us have sports on the brain. Whether you're gearing up for a run, root-root-rooting for the home team, or packing your bags for a summer get-away, we've added new athletic and travel themes to help you bring home the gold.


(L to R, top to bottom): Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, BBQ, Running, Anchored by Wolfsavard, World Travel by Michael Rose & Jet Set by Michael Rose.

Most of these new themes have several color variations to choose from.  Log in and click to the Design area to see the 25+ new theme choices, and bring your blog to the great outdoors!

Join Us Today in the Six Apart Suite at BlogHer

The BlogHer conference kicked off last night with a flurry of fun activity.  Hundreds of bloggers convened in downtown San Francisco, including the road-tripping SV Moms who rolled in from their long journey.  Six Apart President and Co-Founder Mena Trott sent out this message on her Twitter account this morning:


As we mentioned earlier this week, the team at Six Apart is hosting a cocktail lounge today from 4-6:30pm in Suite 3078 in the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

Join us to meet the teams who work on TypePad, Movable Type, and Vox, meet Six Apart founders Ben and Mena Trott (and the newest addition to their family, little Penelope) as well as mix and mingle with fellow bloggers.  We'll be serving complimentary cocktails and snacks and answering all your blogging your questions.  Be sure to enter to win one of our fabulous raffle prizes, including two iPhones plus books, goodies and fine art created by TypePad bloggers.

We hope to see you there!

Join Us at the BlogHer Conference in San Francisco

Later this week, Six Apart staffers will join over 1,000 bloggers at the annual BlogHer conference in San Francisco.  Six Apart co-founder and President Mena Trott will be speaking on the provocatively-titled panel "Who We Are: Can You Take Back Naked Blogging?" (don't take the title too literally) and several members of the TypePad, Movable Type and Vox teams will be out and about meeting our fellow bloggers.  Look for us!  (Scroll to the end of this post to check out our names & faces ahead of time.)

In addition to attending the conference and learning from our esteemed peers, we'll be cooling our heels in a Suite at the Westin St. Francis where we will meet with, counsel and entertain our fellow bloggers.  On Friday from 4-6:30pm, join us in our suite for cocktails and conversation, plus a giveaway of fabulous raffle prizes crafted by our talented TypePad bloggers.

The donations have been arriving over the past few days - I must say, opening up these packages makes it feel a little bit like it's Christmas in July, except we don't get to keep anything!  These gorgeous works of art will be given away to some very lucky winners:

Handmade doll entitled "Annouk and Fox Mask"
by Christine Alvarado

Approximately 11" tall, Annouk is made of polymer and clay, has moveable arms and legs and is painted with acrylics.  Her dress is made of taffeta and her shoes are coated in ultra-fine gold glitter.  Christine is a Doll Artist and working mother living in Bend, Oregon. She has a background in Photography and Graphic Design.

Handmade Fly bag
by Andrea Pippins


Andrea Pippins is a graphic designer/illustrator who is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in graphic design by day and running her blog, Fly, by night. Driven by the constant need to be creatively inspired and to inspire others, she started Fly hoping to provide an inspiration destination for all.

Two works of original art (+ a bonus print!)
by Wexford Girl (and Eric, her husband) &

Waitwoman Beartree  Scenic

Annie and Eric from Three Fish Studios have donated three works of original art.   Originally from Wexford in Ireland, Annie lives in San Francisco with her husband Eric and likes to paint Mexican wrestlers, flowers, bears, trees, and women.  Eric describes himself as a painter, printmaker, and technology wonk.   

A glassybaby in the color deep sea
by Lee Rhodes


A glassybaby is physically a small, colored, glass cup, candleholder, or vase. But the light of a candle coming through a glassybaby generates more; it gives warmth to a cold day, a calm token of peace in the busy world.  Since 1998, Lee Rhodes has been designing, publicizing, and selling these small, extremely tough and strong cups. In 2001, she began to learn to blow these glasses, and has produced many glasses since.

Two Beating Hearts - one large and one small
by Yury Gitman


My Beating Heart is created by Yury Gitman, an innovative designer and award-winning artist.  He strives to make high-tech art and design that stretches the imagination and entertains the soul.  He's a Professor at the prestigious Parsons School for Design in New York, where he often uses TypePad blogs in the classroom (see Computation08). 

Delicious treats from Sweet Riot
by Sarah E. Endline


Sweetriot is an activist candy company which is creating a sweet movement to fix the world. Making fantastic, delicious consumer products based on the cacao (chocolate) bean, sweetriot sources in Latin America and features recyclable reusable packaging embellished with fine art.  Sarah has been blogging the story of sweetriot from behind the scenes since 2005.

Two framed, archival canvas prints from the "Fairytale" series
by Vanessa Valencia

A Peculiar Day The Curious Playroom

Vanessa Valencia describes herself as feeling like a strange and curiously artistic woman from the 1800's trapped in the body of a thirty year old girl living in a bizarre Arizona.  She makes all kinds of art including paintings, mixed media, paper dresses, Art Dolls, Jewelry, funky pottery & more.  A snippet of the work "A Peculiar Day" is featured on the cover of the autumn issue of Artful Blogging!

You can also enter to win books by three TypePad bloggers:


The Creative Family by Amanda Soule |

Moose by Stephanie Klein |

The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam |

Several of the BlogHer panelists have blogs powered by TypePad, including:

Are you attending the BlogHer Conference in San Francisco?  Let us know in the comments!

TypePad Mommy Bloggers Embark on Their Summer Road Trip ’08

When was the last time you went on a road trip? The feeling of freedom as you hit the open road… the wind in your hair… the adventure of discovering new people and places… the traffic, the gas prices, the fast food and truck stops…

Svmoms Now you can experience all of it (the good, the bad, and the hilarious) from the comfort of your own computer screen.  Four adventurous women from the TypePad-powered Silicon Valley Moms Blog were selected to drive across the country and blog about their travels, hotel stays, media appearances, time away from their families, and life on the road. Six Apart helped them partner up with General Motors, who provided the blogging mommies with a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid SUV to help make their journey comfy, safe, and a little more green.

For those of you not familiar with this amazing group of women, SV Moms is a group of over 200 bloggers who showcase the ups, downs, outrages, struggles, victories, and everyday humor of motherhood. There are currently nine regional and demographically tailored sites that give mothers from D.C., New Jersey, the Deep South, Rocky Mountains, L.A., and Silicon Valley a powerful voice and sense of camaraderie across the country.

Priceless The four selected moms will get a chance to see some of that country and share it with you using the latest blogging technology. From wireless internet access to GPS navigation to lots of cutting-edge gadgets, the moms are equipped with everything they need to blog and video blog this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

The moms buckled into their Chevy Tahoe Hybrid SUV on July 11th in Washington, D.C., and even got a nice video message from Katie Couric to kick things off.  Currently they are en route to Denver, Colorado, where they’ll pick up another contributor. They’ll arrive in San Francisco on Friday, July 17th where they’ll attend an SV Moms Group Party and the BlogHer ’08 Conference.

You do not want to miss these hilarious and irreverent bloggers (or their spontaneous contest giveaways!) as they blog from the road. Experience the journey at

We've got more BlogHer conference news coming up this week, so stay tuned.  And let us know about your summer road trips in the comments!

TypePad Bloggers: Dancing Around the World, Landing Book Deals!

Here's a quick update on some major successes that a few of our awesome TypePad bloggers have celebrated recently:

Matt Where the hell is Matt?
By now, someone might have forwarded you a video of the guy who does his exuberant dance in exotic locales, all across the world.  That guy's name is Matt.

Matt's made two of these dancing videos before, but the reason he's on people's minds once again is that he's recently released a third video.  After making his first two videos, he got such a positive response that he wanted to make a third video, this time traveling the world to dance with the people who had written to him to share their support.

This most recent video of Matt's took him once again around the world, and also landed him in the New York Times and probably into your email inbox and IM windows with your friends saying, "You gotta see this."  Stop by Matt's TypePad blog to congratulate him (and maybe ask if you can have the next dance)!

Marrakesh Her Marrakesh
Maryam, who humbly refers to herself as "the blogging girl," began blogging with the intention to write "the bemused tales of an American family's quest to build a guest house in Marrakesh."  Her stories are slices of her life, accompanied by gorgeous photographs of the sights, smells, tastes and colors she encounters. 

One day in June, as she sat at her computer, a blogger's dream came true right before her eyes:  there, in her email inbox, was a note from a publisher asking if she might like to write a book. 

Her first book -- part memoir, part Moroccan design treatise -- will be published by Artisan Books in 2009.  Stop by Maryam's blog to read her story in her own words.  Congratulations, Maryam!

Digh 37 Days
A personal tragedy caused Patti Digh to ask herself, 'What would I be doing today if I only had 37 days to live?'  In her blog 37 Days, Patti shows how this question changes her life in tiny and tremendous ways.  Her personal responses have become an inspiring exploration for all of her readers.  (She even blogged recently about Matt's latest video!)

The great news is that Patti has a book coming out, due out on September 2nd, entitled Life Is A Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally (Globe Pequot Press).  What's even cooler is that all of the artwork in the book was created by readers of her blog!  Over 70 of her readers contributed 123 pieces of art that are printed in full color.

Stop by Patti's blog to read more about her book and catch some inspiration.


Celebrating your successes
We'd like to extend a huge congratulations to Patti, Maryam & Matt, and a huge thanks to their readers, commenters, sponsors and publishers that made their dreams come true. 

The TypePad team is extremely proud to be a part of the livelihoods of so many talented bloggers!  We want to share your successes with everyone.  Tell us your good news in the comments.

Download the Free TypePad App for the iPhone

Did you hear that the iTunes App Store opened today?  Even better news for TypePad bloggers is that the free TypePad download for the iPhone is now available!

TypePad bloggers who own an iPhone have been able to use the solution for months now, creating and editing posts, checking stats and managing comments from the Safari browser.  The launch of the TypePad download offers exciting new features and functionality.

With the free TypePad download for the iPhone and iPod Touch, you can:

  • Photoblog in-the-moment and customize your photos by cropping and resizing
  • Upload photos from your iPhone photo gallery to your TypePad blog
  • Create and edit posts, even when you're not online
  • Publish a post immediately or save it as a draft

Home_view Create_a_post

The photo capabilities of the TypePad download offer powerful flexibility.  Snap a photo from where ever you are - a wedding, a baseball game, a conference - and post it to your blog with a few taps of your finger.  Or, perhaps you want to send some older images from your iPhone gallery to a photo album you have on TypePad.  The new TypePad download makes it easy to send photos from your iPhone to your blog.

Photo_albums Take_photo_3 Album_giants

To download the free TypePad app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, follow this link or head to the iTunes App Store and look for it in the “Social Networking” category.  You can also spot it right from the front page today!

The TypePad Mobile team has plans to add features to the TypePad download for the iPhone, and they would love your help.  Try it out, then tell us in the comments what features you would like to see.  We may be able to add your request to a future release.