Daily Archives: March 15, 2008

WordPress and Movable Type

Joe Rybicki asks:

So, would you say you’re happier with WordPress than with Movable Type? Is the effort of switching (assuming one has to do it oneself) worth the reward of functionality?

Well, “happier” is probably not the right term. I miss Movable Type esthetically, and because I really do like the fact it created static pages for my entries, so if, say, my database went down (ahem) the pages were still there. But the fact of the matter is at the end of the day either I was not technically competent enough to handle MT or the 4.0 version just did not want to play well with my host provider. Either way, it was a real mess in the end. It makes me sad, because I still like the product, and I like the people who make it. But ultimately I just couldn’t make it work, and that’s the real issue.

WordPress, on the other hand, works. I installed it in about five minutes. It’s hugely supported by its community, which bats out themes and widgets that you can plug and play in about a minute in a half. If you have a basic sense of css coding, you can fiddle with the way your site looks and feels without too much trouble. In all, since I’ve installed it (it’s about six months now) I’ve really had no major problems of any sort. This is good, because I actually want my site to run without giving me headaches.

That said, I still don’t like that WordPress doesn’t output static entries, save the ones that are generated by WP-Cache in order not to stress the database. I back up entries fairly regularly, but I’ve still be more comfortable with an archival static page for most of the individual entries. If someone wants to make a WordPress plugin that will do that — creative static archive versions on individual entries and then stuff them into their own folder — I’d really like that. Because one day the database is going to do down, and then I’m going to be pissed. At least when all hell broke loose on my MT install, the words I had written were still accessible to me. But again, maybe that’s my own paranoid fear.

Would I switch from MT to WP? Well, I did; but it took a catastrophic failure on the part of MT to get me to do it. Switching is a pain and I don’t necessarily recommend doing so if you don’t have to, and if MT is doing the job for you. But if you find that you don’t have the options you really want from MT, then, sure, a change may be in order. Back up everything first, and then use the MT export function to put your entires into a format where they can be swapped into a WP install (NB: I have personally found the MT export function to be very bad; never in all the times I’ve used it has it actually managed to gather up all the entires I’ve written. However, that may also have had something to do with the sheer number of entries I’ve generated over the years).

Of course, you can just drop in a WP install without getting rid of the MT install at all. I still have a MT install here; I just don’t use it. I just configured everything so that it’s the WP install that’s made the front page of the blog, and so on. But I also admit that this site is a bit of an unholy mess. I don’t recommend the haphazard way I do things to anyone else, really.

So, uh, did I actually answer your question?

Update, 6pm: Hey, I upgraded my WP install without everything going explody on me! Go me!

Whateveresque Registration Day, 3/15/08

Today is one of the two days a month I open up the Whateveresque forum to registrations, so if you’ve always wanted to comment on Whateveresque but just never got around to registering, now would be good. I’m going to keep registrations open through about midnight eastern time.

Incidentally, here’s how to make it easy for me to see that you’re not an automated spam monster:

1. Pick a screen name that is recognizably not an automated spam-generated thing (i.e., use real words in a sensible way without random numbers);

2. Don’t use hotmail as your e-mail address;

3. If you pick a personal name (or something that looks like one), don’t have it drastically at variance with your personal name-styled e-mail.

Doing any of these (particularly the first) will drastically increase the chances of me deciding you’re a spam-generated account and dumping your registration into the delete queue. Sorry about that.

Also, there may be a delay between when you register and when I confirm your registration. Because I have a life outside of the computer, you see.

Anyway, register away!