Well, I finally think I got most of my site switched over to WordPress. I’m sure there will be some glitches and I’m sure there is still stuff to do but for the moment it seems to be mostly working. I looked into a bunch of things before deciding on WordPress and to be honest I’m not really comfortable with the decision. I tried Drupal. It’s certainly powerful but it seemed to need more hand holding than I felt like dealing with. It also seemed incredibly slow. Maybe it’s really only good when you’re running your own servers.
I looked into using Django. The problem with Django is it’s not a complete solution. It’s just a framework. You still have to build almost everything yourself which is what I was trying to get away from.
I thought about trying Google App Engine. It would be good to learn it and Google will host your site for free but it has the same issue as above that it’s just a framework and therefore not solving what I was trying to solve.
Things like typepad and Blogger seemed right out. I did think about using blogger but I would have had to give up a lot and after their recently deletion of some music blogs I thought I didn’t want to use anything I wasn’t in control of. Sure my ISP can kick me off but I keep backed up and can switch to another ISP if I have to.
For blogging software there really aren’t that many choices that fit my criteria. One was that they be in active development. It would suck to pick some blogging system only to find out it’s abandoned in a year and have to go through this process again. So for example there is blogging software that runs on Google App Engine but I didn’t get a good feeling that it was going to be well supported or have an active community working around it.
That really only left 2 to pick from from my point of view. Movabletype and WordPress. The thing that made me decide against Movabletype is that it runs on Perl. Perl to me seems dead. My old site runs on Perl. My first attempt at writing an exporter for it made me try to get some of the Perl XML libraries working. I spent 4 to 6 hours trying to get them to work. That included trying 3 different versions of Perl, installing them from scratch and trying to use supposedly standard libraries. Apparently they aren’t working anymore, at least on Windows. I don’t know if that means Perl is so unused that no one has bothered to fix them in months or what. I found comments around the net that indicated they were known problems.
I had another friend go through the same issues trying to get some Perl based wiki software working. So, I felt like choosing Movabletype was risking having to do this all again.
That really only left WordPress and to be honest I only picked it because it was the only choice and because it is so popular that it seems like it will be supported for a while.
On the other hand, I wasn’t really comfortable with it. It’s totally spaghetti code internally. I knew that from the original version when it came out years ago but I had hoped that maybe by now it had been refactored into something more organized. No such luck. If open source is supposed to equal quality code well, WordPress is not the example to look at. Sorry do dis the guys that made it. Hey, my site was totally spaghetti code too and I totally appreciate all the work they have put in it. All I’m saying is that I’d be a lot more comfortable if the code was organized and well written.
One example, the wordpress XML importer is just a total hack. I doesn’t actually import XML, it imports hard coded text files that look like XML but aren’t. It’s whitespace sensitive. It duplicates categories. I thought about volunteering to fix it but saw some posts that made it sound like it’s fairly hard to get patches accepted.
So, I’m basically betting that it’s popularity is enough to carry it through the internal issues. It is nice to finally have a real admin interface for my blog.
Well, we’ll see how it goes. Here’s crossing my fingers. I wrote a couple of small plugins. Who knows, maybe I’ll write some real ones.
One of the biggest reasons I switched is so that comments are now moderated. I hope the fact that it’s a wordpress blog and therefore a big target for spammers doesn’t outweigh the features that let me try to prevent the spam.
Now let’s just pray that I can continue my current motivation and update a little more often. I’ve got about 3 articles written. Still need to edit photos though. Another 4 started and ideas for a few more.