Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wordpress, anyone?

I'm considering upgrading from Blogger to something more robust. Have looked into Moveable Type, and its easier to use hosted service (Typepad).

I've recently found out about Wordpress, a new platform which has similar features as Movable Type, and their hosted service. Has anyone here played with this yet?

This post was written by Professor Salt from You gonna eat that?


Jennifer Maiser said...

I can't speak to the wordpress ease of use as I don't use it, but I am really starting to notice a great look-and-feel coming from wordpress blogs.

Here are some that I like that are in wordpress:

failing at living, sustainably
planet raw milk

Andrew said...

I use MT - it is fully configurable and has lots of plugins and extras (to combat comment spam for example). I love it but have little exposure of running a blog (as apposed to commenting or just posting) to compare to others. APart from msn spaces which is very limiting in comparison.

MT is about to release an updated version which looks very impressive.

McAuliflower said...

I too use WP, moved there from MT. We use textdrive to host Brownie Points (textdrive is fortunately moving to a better server farm this week- yea!).

In regards to moving from blogger- get ready for the kicking yourself for not having done it sooner.

- editing your post without the sloppy span class style blogger uses.
- I don't have to deal with comment spam. Really.
- other's comments are editable. I like this for direct responding.

Basically it's so good that I don't have to think about it- I think about my blog instead.

Culinary Fool said...

McAuliflower - why did you move from MT to WP?

Lori said...

I've also thought about moving to WordPress. It looks so impressive. I'd have to move to a webhost though. Is WP really easy to use?

paul said...

I'm presently in the (slow) process of moving from MT to WP. Why? I've used MT for years and after awhile I've found databases can grow corrupt, rebuilds fail and other weird things happen that require maintenance. If you pay for the upgrades most of your problems will be slight and you can get support. Obviously I don't.

WP is easy to install on a modern web hoster's server, and real easy to operate and includes some good built-in anti spam tools. There's a good collection of templates to use but custom designs are slightly tricky since not only do you need to know html and css, but you'll need to poke your nose into some php to know where to put everything.

Getting a real web hoster can be the trickiest thing for either blogging platform (or for some of the other CMS's out there). A dedicated blog service like typepad or textdrive is a good choice if you don't like getting your hands dirty. I have an excellent hoster and have dozens of clients on them, but they aren't always the best place for a blogger. I've had trouble with a few hosters when installing things like MT plug-ins or mod-rewrites.

A mod-rewrite is a nice way to move platforms or systems while rewriting and forwarding all your old links. WP has it basically built-in but some servers don't allow these kinds of rewrites. Breaking many years of links is one reason I haven't done the move already.

Professor Salt said...

Thanks for your feedback everyone.

life @ 30: I agree - the plugins for WP look great, they appeal to me more thatn what's available on Typepad.

andrew: I'm a technical intermediate. How difficult is MT to configure for someone without programming skills (clueless about PHP & ASP for instance), but can manage basic HTML and SQL?

McAuliflower: Really impressed with the visuals of brownie points! It figures that you're an artist. This is not a skillset I posess, so I'll rely heavily on templates & plugins created by others. Maybe I'll be able to figure out how to create my own masthead from a photo I've taken, but that's as ambitious as I care to attempt from a design / graphics standpoint. Thanks for your valuable insight.

Paul - a useful database is the main reason I want to upgrade from Bloggger. I am SQL literate on a basic level. Want to create indexed categories for my posts, search text within posts, etc. What sort of downtime issues have you had since your migration to Wordpress?

Nosher & HungryMan said...

We use wordpress and love it. There's so much you can do with the plugins, especially. It did take some time to learn the ropes-- we had used Blogger and TypePad at various points in our blogging histories, but once you get the rudiments of PHP down, it's pretty easy.

The support community for WordPress is also absolutely fantastic-- people are quick to respond to questions and will help look at troublesome code for you, to boot!


mrs d said...

I use MT right now but I'd love to hear more reasons for switching to Wordpress, and also how hard it is to do the switch. I've seen some great Wordpress sites with layouts I don't think I could pull off in MT, so now I'm tempted... but I honestly haven't a clue about the work involved in making the switch.

Also, Paul: If I have to ask what a mod-rewrite is, does that mean that making a switch to wordpress will be too hard for me to do? :-)

paul said...

Prof. Salt - I haven't migrated yet, but I have put up several WP blogs for me and a few clients. I do know a thing or two about switching platforms from my professional work, so I don't see downtime as a problem - I'll get the new system running and working before disabling the old.

As far as configuring MT design-wise it's easy - html and css, scripting wise it's perl, and in my opinion above intermediate.

Databases are out of my realm, but MT can be set up with a number of options, including mySQL.

Mrs. D. - The WP installation is easy. Knowing what a mod-rewrite is, isn't important unless you're set on not breaking any inbound links to your old archives. I'm starting to think this isn't so important. This particular function is included as a plug-in, and the support is great for all things WP, but it could be an issue with certain servers.

As far as design, anything you can do on any webpage, be it in MT or in WP, is possible, although the default WP breaks a page into several PHP files that come together.

BBQ Junkie said...

Been using WordPress for over 6 months now. 2 words- Love it! I have convinced a few friends to try it out, they have the same response.

Professor Salt said...


Thanks again for your comments. Perl and "above intermediate level" sounds like it'd be a stretch for me. I think in addition the host-and-run-it-yourself software, they have a simpler, hosted version (like Movable Type & Typepad) that's currently via invitation only.

Is anyone using that, and would you be willing to send me an invite?

Elise said...

Hi Prof Salt, I started using MT with only the most rudimentary HTML skills. It helps to know some CSS too. You absolutely do not need to know PERL. Even to implement several of the hacks out there. To keep track of what I was learning I created a blog called, Learning Movable Type (go to http://www.learningmovabletype.com) and wrote over 100 tutorials to help people.

MT is about to get a major face lift, and several new, much more attractive default styles. It is a powerful platform and I heartily recommend it to anyone who has at least moderate technical skills. If you do go the MT route I encourage you to buy a license, as that will not only help pay the company for continued development of the sw, but will buy you free technical support from the company.

paul said...

Yea, the 'above intermediate' comment really related to scripting MT to do fancy things, not implementing hacks and plug-ins. People have done some amazing things with MT, like creating several blogs to control all the content on a single page, etc.

One other major difference between MT and WP that hasn't been discussed - static versus dynamic.

MT creates static pages for its archives, that means if you do this for awhile you'll wind up with lots o' files, especially if you use individual post archives. This takes up space. However most web hosters' basic packages give you multiple gigs of space, so it's usually not an issue.

WP creates its pages dynamically, that is to say, it retreives the content from a database and builds the pages each time someone goes to look at your site. While your server isn't full of archive pages, and you never have to go through MT's sometimes painful REBUILDS, your server has to do more work, and you'll use a lot more traffic bandwidth. However most hosting services offer plenty of bandwidth.

Dynamic pages concievably could have a perceptible difference in page download speed for your readers, since the script needs to gather and build the page before it's even sent to the reader. I tested this for a client awhile back and found only a few tenths of a second difference.

Note that MT also has a dynamic setting, but I found it tricky to implement and had some server requirements I didnt have.

Elise said...

I wrote up a whole article on the pros and cons of dynamic publishing. The article is focused on MT, but many of the points hold for WP.

Oliver said...

Hi Prof. Salt,

I can't really say anything about MT, however Blogger and it's many limitations I've briefly experienced. What I do can say about WordPress is that there is a vast user group out there that's happy to support you, whether it be template design related (CSS, php) or heavy duty php programming with (My)SQL access.

WP gives you all the creative freedom one needs to fully customize it (either by yourself or w/ plugins), or justs go with the off-the-shelf application and a chosen theme (there are litterally hundreds out there).

d:d is running on WP and there has never been any constraints or limitations that would have made me reconsider.

I wouldn't think that the hosted service differs in any way compare to running it by yourself.

Go for it, you'll be happy ;)

Professor Salt said...

elise - fantastic MT blog you have! It's a great idea and I'll have to pore over it some. Thanks for sharing that resource with us. I also appreciate the aiki photo on your main site :P Lovely shadows & contrasts in black & white.

oliver - thanks for your comments. Even though I'm intimidated by PHP and know squat about CSS, I'll take the chance and count on the help of that support group. Lovely pithaya photos, BTW!

McAuliflower said...

belatedly... why move from MT to WP?

I had to go ask Sweets to refresh my memory:

- touching on what Paul mentioned, no freaking rebuilds! This is a huge deal when one has a large blog. I can't believe how quickly I blocked out this painful detail.
- WP is free
- WP is open source, which means those who care about it build their own mods to share
- flexible templates
- superior potted-meat-product filtering (I previously mentioned this one- really, with WP, no spam issues at all)

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