Hari's Corner

Humour, comics, tech, law, software, reviews, essays, articles and HOWTOs intermingled with random philosophy now and then

Staying with WordPress

Filed under: Site management by Hari
Posted on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 at 19:51 IST (last updated: Thu, Oct 4, 2007 @ 15:14 IST)

My blogging friends are aware that I've been extremely displeased with WP for a while now. I don't need to go into the reasons for this. Suffice to say that I wanted to move my blog to a different system.

After a lot of hunting around for blogging systems, I narrowed it down to a couple of software for deep consideration. TextPattern and b2evolution. After taking apart both these in great depth, I've found that while each is great in its own way, neither are really suitable to port this blog over for different reasons entirely.

There are a couple of reasons why I absolutely cannot move to b2evolution directly: it doesn't have support for WordPress permalinks, which means that if I ditch this blog completely, links to archived posts would break. On the other hand, I could have merely discontinued this blog with a forwarding address and then started afresh in a new URL. But after giving that idea a lot of thought, I decided against it (at least for now). I might revisit this idea later, though. The other main reason why I am hesitant about b2evolution is that it's so rich in features, yet it misses some features that WordPress has, e.g. static pages and optional post excerpts (not the "more" tag). The lack of a mass-edit mode for articles and comments in the admin panel is another issue. These might sound like small problems, but I use post excerpts for the sake of RSS feeds to avoid syndicating the entire article and I also use static pages for my "About" and "Articles" page. Again, as I mentioned in the past, the templating system is a major pain, even for a PHP coder (which I can claim to be :P ).

With TextPattern the problems are entirely different. It does support WordPress permalinks, so I can directly overwrite this blog without losing any back-links. But at the same time, it lacks a calendar and date-based archives (which I consider a must for a long-time blogger). Importing posts works fine, but it isn't perfect. I lose my uploaded files. Categories are also broken since TP supports only 2 categories per post (while I've marked several categories for a post at times). TP also breaks some of WordPress's formatting in posts like HTML entities - for instance, the symbol for less than ( < ) and greater than ( > ) is replaced by the HTML code &lt; and &gt;. Besides paragraph breaks are awry and sometimes there are large gaps between paragraphs (probably due to TP's extra work in formatting). Again, another drawback is that smilies are permanently removed, since TP doesn't use a smilie system.

I could go on with how I considered Serendipity, NucleusCMS, bBlog and even Drupal at one point. When I got as far as Drupal, I realized it was time to stop. I was going way off in a tangent.

The long and the short of it is this - I could fix all these issues - some are minor hassles, but some are real buggers. It's also funny how exactly "that exact feature I badly want" is missing in each of these blog software - even if it is a minor one. The more I look at the alternatives, the more I'm convinced that I have to cook up my own blog solution sometime in the future (just as I did with my own CMS for harishankar.org).

So I'm sticking with WordPress for now after giving all the alternatives due consideration. If I come back later to consider other blog software, this post will give me an idea as to why I decided not to move at this time.

6 comment(s)

  1. All very good reasons. In a way, it's a shame that it is so hard to jump from one to another. If we look at Linux, we can jump between distros with no problem - as long as we have backups. I would love to be able to try out other platforms without affecting the blog, but doing so is a big investment in time and work.Oh well.

    Comment by ray (visitor) on Sat, Apr 28, 2007 @ 17:09 IST #
  2. Moving from distro to distro is easy. Because only you are affected.Moving from one website to another is far more difficult because the audience is also affected. Link breakages will occur all round leading to a loss of older content through search engine traffic. :neutral:

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Apr 28, 2007 @ 17:50 IST #
  3. Hari, I'm convinced that the self-made version will be the best route to take. I'm considering doing the same since the back end work isn't that bad (especially using flat files) and I finally learned what I needed to know about CSS.

    Comment by RT Cunningham (visitor) on Sat, Apr 28, 2007 @ 21:52 IST #
  4. Thanks RT. Yeah, I'm definitely convinced. I need to work out a plan and a vision for development first. :)

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Apr 28, 2007 @ 22:43 IST #
  5. While I'm here, just a quick note about b2evo 2.0:- It supports the exact permalink scheme you're using on this blog ( Urls with - instead of _ )- It supports "out of the flow" pages in a manner very similar to WP.Your other concerns totally make sense too. However I can hardly promise them until they're done ;)-Francois.

    Comment by Francois Planque (visitor) on Sat, May 5, 2007 @ 23:10 IST #
  6. Thanks a lot Francois. :)I'm very interested in b2evolution and would be happy to test out the next version as well.It's a great blogging tool that hasn't got as much popularity, I guess. One feature I would really love is "static" pages support.Multi-blogging is not extremely intuitve as well, but I guess that's a issue with the admin panel.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sun, May 6, 2007 @ 07:20 IST #

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