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Changes

November 17th, 2004 · No Comments · Blogging, Sitenews

After years of being with Blogger, I am now making preparations to move to a new weblog system. I won’t say precisely when this will happen, since I can’t miss a deadline I don’t set.

I’ve always been reasonably happy with Blogger, so much so that I was one of those wacky “Blogger Pro” users. And I do think for a vast group of users, Blogger is an excellent tool, especially with the recent improvements and new features being offered. I really don’t think there’s much out there today that offers the same simplicity and feature set that Blogger and Blogspot offer for the casual and cheap (read free) weblogger.

But I’m really itching for some subtle usability features, like post categories and keywords, as well as being able to present older posts both as individual pages and chronological (monthly) pages. This is just outside of what Blogger offers. I’d also like to be devoid of dependence on any third party for my site publishing. While I have no doubt Blogger will be around for a long time now that it is under the Google umbrella, Blogger’s popularity is sometimes its greatest problem. Google keeps throwing hardware and engineering at it to keep it up and moving, and more and more people climb aboard.

So what to use? Movable Type is one of the most popular weblog tools around, with a large community of users. That’s exactly why I am not using it. Besides enjoying be a cranky contrarian, I also enjoy slipping under the radar of comment spammers. While each weblog tool is a target to some degree, Movable Type, because of its popularity, is the prime target. (Popularity is often a bad thing on the Internet, possibly a deliberate effect built in by the unpopular nerds who made the protocols.) I also find Movable Type’s publishing method, rendering mostly static pages, to be complexity overkill. While I appreciate that static pages place the lightest load on the server, I’ve given up on my dream of being slashdotted, so I can afford to render my pages dynamically. Also Moveable Type is made with icky icky Perl.*

I narrowed down the field to two contenders: WordPress and Textpattern. Both are PHP and MySQL based blogging systems. Both offer the features I need. WordPress is better documented and more “mature” than Textpattern, while Textpattern was crafted by a writer with nerd tendencies, and not the other way around.

Mostly based on liking Dean Allen and his personality, as well as the community of people who think likewise, I’m being contrary again and trying out Textpattern. Though if I encounter any problems, I won’t hesitate to go with WordPress.

In the end, all my old links will work, and the site will more or less look the same. But there will be some new features that should make things easier for people who visit, like the ability to filter posts or browse the archives by topic.

Exciting stuff, I know.

* This remark is just an incendiary way for me to say I know PHP much better than Perl. I actually don’t think Perl is icky, unless I have to read someone elses Perl code.

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