Honest Answers please

What REALLY is the best BLOGGING program around and why ? Don’t attack other programs, just make the case for the one you think is. Blogging, not CMS.

44 thoughts on “Honest Answers please

  1. Pingback: jossblog
  2. I think this depends more on one’s needs and wants.

    Live Journal is great if you don’t want to host your own blog. You can use cute little pictures by your posts, link to other websites, join communities ect.

    Blogger wasn’t that bad either. I had more control with my site using Blogger than I did with LJ. I could either host on Blogspot or upload to my own domain. I think Blogger made me want even more than they had to offer. They gave me a taste of what could be done with a blog.

    Moveable Type was just too hard for me to set up. I know nothing about mySQL. That was the end of MT for me.

    I would have to say, not being bias, but so far WordPress has been my favorite. I have more control over my site. I can do more than blog with it, which fits my needs.

    I guess I’m trying to point out what you probably assumed. It isn’t which blogging system is best, it is what blogging system best meets the needs of a person at a particular time.

    :love:

  3. If youd have asked me a year ago, Id have said Moveable Type, but thats only because it was what I was using at the time, and it was what I was used to. Now Id say WP1.5, again, because its what Im using now, and because I find it easy to use. Easier than MT, themes etc are fairly easy to alter to your own needs, and it does everything I want it to.

  4. I still have a latent yearning for txp. On the work I have done with it it seemed cool. But there is something very twee about the admin interface. I cant put my finger on it. Plus if you are going to learn txp tags you may as well learn php. Love it or hate it we are likely to be stuck with WP. For blogging anyway.

  5. I’ve used a lot of blogging platforms before finally settling on WordPress. What makes me stick with it? Ease of use, great community, plenty of free plugins and themes. I even ditched Expression Engine for WP.

    Though I must admit I’ve yet to experiment much with TXP.

  6. On the topic of “the right program for a person’s needs” and MT, I went to try it before I found WP. Being on a tight budget (although not so tight that I had to stay with blogger) my hosting account uses a shared IP. Part of the installation process in MT required you to create a file in the folder that contains your database. Since I had no access to that folder, MT was off limits, at least to the best of my understanding.

    Hope that wasn’t an attack. I don’t have a sense of what’s best because I haven’t tried enough. I’m loving WP though.

  7. I started out with blogger and a .blogspot.com, which at the time was good for me, but I grew out of it quite quickly and started using Greymatter (I think) but only for a little while when I tried MT (non-SQL) which did me just fine right up until they started charging for it and limiting the free version. As I was then looking for new hosting/domain anyway I decided that I would try WP as I could install it with several clicks through Fantastico! There are various other bloggers or CMSs I could try via Fantastico but as WP does everything I want it to I can see no reason to experiment just yet. Perhaps when I have more time I’ll find something I prefer, but I doubt it.

  8. I’m not sure that a person can really quantify a “best of” for blogging. It depends so much on individual needs and the ability/desire of someone to learn how to use a tool set.

    My criteria for a “best of”:
    – Quick and easy installation
    – Secure
    – Active development
    – Active community
    – Extensibility
    – Flexibility
    – Price
    – Hosting

    Since the only community I was ever involved in was WordPress, I can’t really speak to many of these points as a basis for comparison to other platforms. My frustration with some aspects of WordPress is growing, so I am willing to explore other alternatives.

  9. You are spot on Craig, and I am with you on your last sentence.
    I am also aware that there is a possibility more WP users visit here than other program users which swings the results. In the meantime, I have removed many options I do not use from the backend and I’m also removing code from files (and hey – I’ve not caused any major damage yet :) ), paring down plugin use and as of right now, undertaking a redesign of the CSS that controls the rest of the site (though why I am bothering given a scornful email I got from a hackers list member I don’t know … oh yea – I DO know – it’s MY site and I’ll do what I want).

    Ho hum…..

  10. If we rephrase the OP into *If you wanted a change what would you try?* for me it would be txp. It has that raw unfinished beyond the bleeding edge geekery that WP had. For new visitors I might mention that at least half the folks in this thread were in the first one thousand users of WP worldwide. Just as everyone is getting excited we are getting a bit bored already. Gemini has been ported to TXP so that will get us started.:)

  11. I became aware of WordPress in my qwest for web publishing after a less than favorable experience with Blogger. Blogger has its good points as well as it’s bad, and we all know this.

    While wordPress does have its faults, and in some cases this extends itself to the “community” WordPress fosters, much like other blogging software fosters community, the WordPress community was in a large part you Mark.

    Your help, experience, patience and willingness to pass along what you learned was of such tremendous impact, I dare say that anyone would be hard pressed to say “WordPress Community” without thinking ‘Mark’.

    You know it is true.
    And so does everyone else.

    There is a bit of experimenting that Shelly is doing here:

    http://wordform.org/2005/04/wordform-status/

    There are lots of spin-offs of WordPress
    and as many variations as there are bloggers.

    I have experimented with a few. I believe will continue to experiment,
    and I will always acknowledge and honor those who have helped make my web experience a pleasant and rewarding experience.

    Never sour grapes for me.

    To that end, Mark, I am deeply in your debt.

    Okay,
    Father Luke

  12. Father Luke – there is no debt owed anywhere :)

    Wordform ? No…. that has goals which do not mirror what I want.

    Think of what I am after as a game: There were many 8-bit games that I loved yet when those games moved to the 16-bit machines and then on to the consoles, they lost something in the transition. They had more graphics, more sounds, more options, more eye candy but their essence had been diluted, not strengthened. While the code itself has indeed grown – and matured and been cleaned – all the add-ons have not added much to WP for me. What has happened is that the community has changed. It has changed to my right and to my left. I don’t like the view and get crap if I challenge either side.

    So while I knew what the answer was going to be to my post, my point was the word “Blogging”. I think WP has moved out of that and is now a CMS – I don’t want a CMS.

  13. I am going to weigh in here with something closer to the heart of the matter. It is very subtle. But why do a lot of experienced WP bloggers now feel a restless sense of disatisfaction with some parts of the WP community? I dont know. But I do know that some of the dynamics between Matt and the user community sometimes seem out of synch. Among the early adopters there was I think an expectation of a quid pro quo . The deal (implied) was that by using the software and dealing with the glitches that some type of community sense of direction would develop and that Matt would be alive to that. For me that notion was blown away in the thread from hell and the fallout which followed. It was like finding out the Pope is Jewish. And I do not want to open an old wound but Matt’s treatment of the Google fiasco referring to it as noise – rather understated the feelings of a lot of people. I did not mind myself but it was obvious a lot of folks did. NM did a comprehensive survey on the forum. Good stuff. But was it implemented?. So there we are.

  14. I have no problem with Matt and do not want to offend Matt in any way.
    It’s more subtle than that and is as much to do with the increased expectations and reduced patience of forum posters as it is with people on the hackers list deeming that actually doing anything in the forums is beneath them.
    I have said EVERYTHING here before – I am saying nothing new here about WP – but lessons that should have been learned for the release of 1.5 were not learned. Those that make WP and plugins may be able to code but hey, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to change, preparation and seeing things through – and not through books and lectures but by actually doing it.

    Right now I am frustrated at every turn and it won’t change.

  15. I’m going to sidetrack from the discussion to digress from Root’s “If you wanted a change what would you try…” question(apologies guys). It’s actually a bit of a wonder that we now have the comfort to choose from a whole range of extremely polished options.

    When I first started my first blog about 3 years ago, the options were much more limited. None of the available systems were really complete products in my eyes (WP was but a twinkle in Matt’s eyes) and I ended up rolling my own system out of dissatisfaction.

    Moving forward to today, the landscape has changed completely. Whilst WP is still my favoured system, were I to change, I have a whole range of capable and viable systems. It’s this multitude of excellent choices that has helped blogging hit critical mass.

    Whilst WP is probably the most popular system today and accounts for an extraordinary %age of the blogosphere, a lot of credit is owed to Noah grey. What he did was arguably kickstart the blgging landscape as we know it with Greymatter by making blogging open to the masses. He changed publishing from being an expensive activity to one that is a function of personal expression available to all. Blogging would always been a big thing. It’s something that was just waiting to show itself to the world. However, the timing, people, and events meant that the environment was just right for things to become what they were.

  16. If Else – I agree with you, but let’s roll the clock forward 3 years.

    What will WP by then ? At the current rate, it very probably won’t just be for bloggers and someone else will write the killer blogging app of 2008. Shame that ….

  17. WP is expanding and features are added that allow it to do more which does mean that the focus as a blogging platform is being diluted. There are winners and losers with this change but it’s inevitable that things that were once a perfect fit for some will become less so when that product expands to try to encompass something for everyone. It’s a theme that’s been repeated throughout time and not specific to WP.

    The good thing is that the nature of the web will generally tend to mean that niches and void are filled up by other options. Change works both ways. I’m not sure what I want in the long term. For me, at this moment in time, WP is still my favoured platform. 3 years on, who knows? It’ll be good finding out…

  18. Nothing Matt .. but as WP becomes more complex it begins to move away from the blogging side to more CMS, and as it gets there then to compete with established apps like Drupal / Xoops it has to work hard, and by working hard at that very task it may see the blogging as being less.

    I know it’s a “personal publishing platform” but by being all things to all people then arguably it’ll not be master of one.

    Okay ……. if I made the calls :

    1 – from 1.5.1, create the “Bloggers” version of WP. Solid bug-fixed core. Codex supports it.
    2 – 1.5.1 onwards, start to create the “Multi-Bloggers” version
    3 – From that, maybe develop a CMS offshoot (or comprehensive set of plugins or the stuff that’s being talked about on the hackers list)

    Have a tiered entry into “Planet WordPress”
    Tiered entry means that tiered support can be supplied
    Tiered entry lets people choose their own level
    Tiered support may mean more contributors to help out with helping
    Tiered support means that knowledge cascades down (there .. I do remember that PC speak I had to use :) )

    Stop all the “You must upgrade” and instead if needed just put out bug-fixed files. Replace a couple of files ? People will do that. Yes they will.

  19. Bringing some of these strands together Wp has clearly moved into a different phase. The core development is just about complete. The take up is explosive. That imposes different challenges and arguably a different approach to what is in effect the market would be beneficial. Some of the big choices ahead are no longer coding questions. As the fine American folks are fond of saying – its a new ball game. But I can see one million users on the horizon.

  20. Diluted was the wrong word… less focused would be more appropriate. One example was the recent announcement with regards to the WP roadmap that there’d be moving towards a multi blog system in the near future (something which has since been removed) and this is what I see as being removed from the simple personal journal model of blogs.

    I’m not saying that such moves are bad things; the opposite in fact as I’ve found many of the new features beneficial. However, it’s hard to deny that as you add more CMS functionality that you may end up stepping away from the core simplicity which some people may be looking for in a blogging system.

  21. I would say core development is far from complete. Lack of robust media management is a good example, and will likely be the focus of 1.6. Any multi-blog stuff is going to continue in MU, not the WordPress core. Blog hosting and running your own blog have *very* different goals and restrictions. WordPress doesn’t need to be like Drupal, because Drupal already exists. If you wanted to build a giant CMS community like Spread Firefox, then Drupal is what you should use — not WP. I’m a big believer in providing a lean core and letting plugins do the rest, and frankly it’s pretty amazing to me what plugins have already been able to do with 1.5. There’s going to be even more cool stuff from the plugin competition.

    As for tiered support, I think that’s a very good idea. I’m working on some pretty big changes for the forums that I hope Mark will love, as it incorporates some things he suggested a few months ago. Mark is the other developer of bbPress. :)

  22. If Else, just to clarify there was never an announcement about multi-blogging. It was a wiki page (anyone can edit it) and someone put their feature request on the page, which I later removed because it isn’t actually on the roadmap for 1.6.

    Root, a million users would blow me away if it ever happened.

  23. The great thing about TXP right now is the fact that forums are still the way WP’s used to be ‘back in the good ole days’ of 2003 (WP user #170, here). They’re still friendly, helpful, and have high signal to noise.

    I think there’s a fundamental difference between WP and TXP though, that goes beyond the interface. Txp is not such a ‘simple’ solution as WP, and I think its user community reflects that. It also strikes me as being older (age-wise), although I have no evidence to support that claim. Perhaps that accounts for the almost drama-free forums. The ‘vibe’ is just totally different.

    Txp takes more time to figure out how to use it than does WP, and even more to figure out how to use it well. But it’s satisfying, once you begin to come to terms with it, in a way that WP is not (and of course that satisfaction is contingent upon whether you enjoy that sort of challenge, otherwise it’s just annoying. :)) The aesthetics (by which I mean the philosophy behind the design, rather than the appearnace of the interface) are very different.

    But hey, all of these miscellaneous musings are by a person who probably enjoys playing with blog software more than actually blogging, so your mileage may vary.

  24. I’ve been blogging since 2000 and I’ve used practically every software there is, along with several years poking around LiveJournal (gasp! shock!)…and of them all I’ve found WP to be the best. I’m not going to say it is THE best because that’s really nothing more than stating an opinion and not very factual.

    But I will say it’s definitely the easiest to use of all the different software I’ve used. And absolutely the most accessible. And I had other points but I can’t remember them now.

  25. Here is another aside. In every single type of survey folks love the WP forum. For many people it is a kind of substitute for blogging itself.
    And for the geeky tendency it has been a lot of fun pioneering, and sharing new experiences, particularly the sense of excitement generated by the nightlies. That is now changing. On the one hand the guy with the question is different. On the other hand the kind of question is different. I bet very few of us ever see a forum issue that we havent seen before. I love Cena’s phrase *drama free*. I know what she means.

  26. Personally, I think a great deal of our ‘love’ for whatever software we choose, is hinged on it’s imperfections. Give me a pc that is in wonderful working order and everything working exactly as it should and I soon find myself getting very bored. However, give me a machine with problems that can be fixed and it’s joy to work with. It is the journey there that keeps my interest. Once I am there I need a new challenge.

    I think our choice of blogging software and the way we can change open source is exactly the same. I would bet money that each and every one one of us here is never truly happy with how we set up our sites. We always want to go that next step, add that next feature, test the boundaries more and more. That is why the nightlies were always going to be so popular with so many.

    And the forums – well they were always going to change. Sit in a pub watching a band play with a hundred people of the same ilk and it is a moment you always remember. Go see the same band 12 monbths later withan audience of 100,000 and can it ever have the same feel?

    Times change and we change with them. It’s called life.

    My opinion anyway :)

  27. I will be the first to admit that scaling a community is a very hard problem, and I don’t have the answers as to the best way to do it. Since some of the first and oldest community members are here I’d love to hear any ideas as to things that could be improved. Like I said earlier I’m working on some of Mark’ forum suggestions to make them easier to navigate and track. I understand that smaller communities face a different set of problems and may feel better, but if the product is good that small community can become a big community in short order, and you’ll be in the same place again.

  28. I wasn’t going to say more but there were a couple of things mentioned earlier which I want to comment on.

    I agree with Cena that, generally speaking, the average TXP user is older than the average WP user. I believe that is because of the different focus of each app. WP is a blogging app. A very good blogging app. I think I would be fairly safe in saying that, generally speaking, blogging has become a favourite past-time of the younger generation. Now there are always exceptions to the rule and I think Mark, Root and I prove that. TXP, on the other hand, is a CMS. It doesn’t attract the pure blogger as much as WP does. Many of it’s users can’t be arsed with blogs and many others probably only use the blog facility because it’s there. There are then a core user base who like to blog but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of their website. They have other things to control which may well be more important to them, and let us not forget those “professional” users who use TXP for designing other people’s websites, both personal and commercial.

    Now Root suggests that if you have to learn TXP tags you might as well learn PHP. I suggest that you learn PHP anyway regardless of which app. you use. As for the TXP tags there is absolutely no need to learn any of them if you don’t want to. They are sitting there on the page in front of you when you are editing page or form templates. In case you’ve forgotten or not seen TXP they are in a menu on the left-hand side of both screens. You select the one you want, fill in the check boxes to customise it to exactly what you need and it generates the tag for you. Just copy/paste it into your template where you want it. Learn tags? No way! Of course if you use TXP regularly you will learn them anyway through habitual use but it’s not a necessity. And forgive me for mentioning this, but doesn’t WP have the odd “tag” dotted around here and there?

    And the admin interface is a bit “twee”? Well you can customise it to your heart’s content now. Don’t like the tabs? Fine. Get rid of them. Would you like to resize all the text boxes to suit your resolution and requirements. Fine. Go ahead and do it. I think you should wait for the final 1.0 to be released then have a good look.

    Regardless of which app. you use you should put PHP third on your list of things to learn, HTML and CSS being the first two. After that people should try to learn as much as they can about whatever type of database they are using as both these apps. use them. Now they both use templates a little knowledge of Smarty and Pearl might come in handy in the future. Then there is java, ASP and so on and so forth. The list is endless but for these two apps. HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL or whichever database you use should be essential learning. Anything else is a bonus. Do I know all thus stuff? Do I buggery but I’m getting there. :grin:

    Something you definitely shouldn’t do is pick WP or TXP just because all your mates use it. You should first decide what it is you want from your website then pick the app. that gives you what you want.

  29. @Stuart – that’s why I specifically mentioned ‘blogging and not cms’.
    I too see TXP as a cms, but I don’t want a cms – I am perfectly happy here on this domain to just blog :)

    Yes we all need to use the tools for the job we have but my original point also was to indicate that WP IS a damn fine blogging tool and that I hope this is not lost sight of just because other programs like TXP exist in the ‘marketplace’.
    I honestly would not use WP if it did not do exactly what I wanted it to do, but what I do want is for WP as a whole to stand back and stare at where we are, where we want to be and how we will get there.

    I also agree with Shadow – hence my fiddling with this 1.5.1 to eliminate all the stuff I do not want.

    And Cena … I remember those days too, and if memory serves, you asked for someone to do an FTP guide……and I’m still here !

  30. I agree. You’re using the right software here. I don’t think I’ve done WP down anywhere. It wasn’t the intention. I just think sometimes that people get so insular with the software they are using that they can’t see the wood for the trees. Not that I’m accusing you of that. And I agree with Shadow too. Fiddling is so goooooood. :grin:

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