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Posted on Saturday, July 29th, 2006

Dave!Given my increasing frustration with the Movable Type blogging software, I took a few hours to play around with WordPress this afternoon.

Holy crap. I give up.

Sure WordPress has fabulous documentation (my biggest complaint about Movable Type)... BUT IT'S ALL OUTDATED!! Need information on replacements for depreciated tags, TOUGH SHIT... the docs don't have it. Want to know how to import entries? TOO F#@%ING BAD... the documentation is ANCIENT, and bears absolutely NO relationship to the actual process! This is supposed to be better than Movable Type's docs HOW?!?

I had heard that WordPress was more difficult to make templates for, but that's a flaming understatement. It's not that I mind hard work or a steep learning curve, but I'd like the structure to at least make some sense. WordPress had me completely baffled at almost every turn. Want to use images for navigating between pages? Okay! Want to use images for navigating between entries? You can't! Want to customize a drop-down menu for date-based archives? No problem! Want to customize a drop-down menu for category-based archives? Sorry!

There is -zero- consistency in how you use the Word Press faux-tags (which are not really tags at all, but PHP code snippets). Even worse, you have to use endless streams of variables to configure even the simplest of tasks. I mean, just look at this crazy shit...

get_links('-1', ' ', ' ', ' ', FALSE, 'name', FALSE, FALSE, '-1', FALSE, TRUE);

I went absolutely insane trying to remember what the parameters are and in what order they go. And by the time I had to add my fourth "hack" to the "my-hacks.php" file just to get basic functionality, I was certifiable.

After a while, I was beginning to feel that WordPress had a lot of power behind it (and some cool features to die for), but I just don't have time to try and work my way through all the idiosyncrasies just now. If you want to see how things were looking when I gave up, I had my test site at a temporary domain here. It looks pretty much like my existing blog (which is what I wanted) but the underlying code is quite different.

So, for the time being at least, I'm sticking with the devil I know (that would be Movable Type). Sure it has some major problems, but at least the work is already done. Maybe if I get some free time and have some ambition left I'll take a look at "B2Evolution" or "Expression Engine" or one of those other blogging packages.

Surely they can't all suck ass... can they?

Categories: Blogging 2006Click To It: Permalink


  1. Brad says:

    This almost completely mirrors my experience with WordPress. Sad, because there’s also some neat stuff that can be done with it. Expression Engine is way cool–I highly recommend spending some time with it to get rid of the bad WordPress aftertaste.

    Also, textpattern ( is very nice, and my personal choice, though it’s quite a big change in paradigm from MT. The last “released” version was in Dec ’05 but there’s a pretty active level of development going into the next major version…and the people on the forums are the most helpful i’ve dealt with.

  2. Belinda says:

    Apparently, they can, because everyone complains. But something that gives YOU fits? I don’t even want to LOOK at it. It smells like algebra.

  3. Charred says:

    Expression Engine. Don’t make me come over there!

  4. margalit says:

    You, my son, are preaching to the choir here. My work blog is on WordPress and it drives me absolutely batshit. I can’t make heads nor tails about how to do certain things, and I’ve basically given up and left the design stuff to the professionals at our boutique ad firm. And I’ll completely substantiate that WordPress’s documentation is pathetic. HOrrible. Dispicable.

    It makes blogger look like a dream come true. And that’s saying something!

  5. Avitable says:

    You’re kidding about it looking like your existing blog, right?

    To me, it looks nothing like it at all.

  6. Firda says:

    I went back to using MT after using WP for, like, a couple of weeks for the same reason: “you have to use endless streams of variables to configure even the simplest of tasks”, to quote you.

    You’d probably like ExpressionEngine. They commissioned me to make their first set of templates and the template system was pretty simple IMO. But that was 3 years ago. I don’t know how it is now, whether it’s got even simpler or even more complicated.

  7. adena says:

    Yeah, I’m with Avitable. It looks all wonky in Firefox. (The test site, that is)

    I don’t know why you keep wanting to mess w/ the perfection that is your current blog. 🙂

  8. Dave2 says:

    Eh… I never looked at it in anything but Apple Safari (where it looks identical). Had I continued on with it, I would have certainly fixed it to work in other browsers.

    Oh well.

    The reason I want to get away from Movable Type is that I have no confidence that the problems with it will ever be fixed.

  9. Spants says:

    Try building your own blog engine. There’s a book out there called Blog Solutions that tells you how to do that. Granted, I haven’t tried it. But given enough vacation time, I might give it a whirl.

  10. RW says:

    Being a cheap-ass and staying with Blogger is one of the reasons I am a millionaire.

    (I’m going to keep saying that till it comes true)

  11. marie b. says:

    I have the sinking feeling that, eventually, I’ll be the only person left using Movable Type (apart from the people who work at 6A and therefore have to use it or Typepad).

    I’m working on a WP theme for a friend and, damn, it’s confusing and time-consuming as all hell.

  12. SJ says:

    I’ve become moderately comfortable with WordPress and now love it, but this weekend I used Blogger for my Blogathon blog, and was reminded by how EASY, smooth and automatic it is. There’s a good reason why so many folks love Blogger.

    My solution to all those freakish variable things in WP is to AVOID using them as much as possible. If I can finagle some other way to achieve what I want, I do. Of course, I’m also simply modifying the default template, not creating a whole different look like you.

  13. James Bow says:

    Thanks for this. You’ve convinced me to stay with the devil I know (MT)…

    Actually, I’m in the process of changing from 1and1 to GoDaddy. I’m encountering considerable frustration with GoDaddy’s obtuse user interface, but once I got the hang of things, things looked up. I liked 1and1 for its simplicity, but my MT installation kept on choking on them. I haven’t had that problem with GoDaddy so far, and I have a much cheaper package.

  14. Dave3 says:

    Wow, I’m really sorry to hear about your horrid ordeal with WP! Being waist-deep in wordpress powered blogs and such, I can totally understand where you’re coming from. Fortunately, I had the distinct advantage of having a PHP/WP guru hold my hand and cover my eyes through all the scary bits during my first months with it. He had no choice, actually, since he was the one who recommended that I use it.

    I found that after I ‘understood’ its ways, I could pretty much make it sit, stay, roll-over and puke on command. It really is capable of doing anything that you want it to do, but as you’ve found out, the documentation is as useful as a raincoat in a volcano. I mean how do they expect you to customize anything when the distributed version of the software is 2.04 and most of the documentation is currently languishing at around 1.2 ?

    If you understand PHP (which I didn’t before, but have learned enough to find the bathroom), it has spectacular power and control. One of it’s greatest strengths being in its open-ended plug-in architecture.

    Anyhoo, if they ever update the documentation, I’ll let you know. But in the meantime, if you need some help with anything, or just want to ask some questions, give a shout!

  15. Chanakin says:

    WordPress documentation is an oxymoron.

    Even the hacks I found are often outdated and screwed up.

    Blame WP or Google Cache? Both?

  16. Jaxia says:

    When I started my WP blogs, my only experience was with Livejournal. I didn’t know any code beyond some basic HTML. Through the WP forums, trial and error and the WP docs (as outdated as they are…), I managed to figure it out. I started by taking a theme that was close to what I wanted and making changes to it. I really love what I can do with it! Now I’ve even written a few plugins and developed my own themes from scratch.

  17. Neil T. says:

    Looks like you had the same experience as me – some of the things I like the most in MT just aren’t there in WordPress.

    Remember, my offer of any help you want with MT still stands – you can get my IM addresses on my site and if you email me I’ll give you my phone number if you like.

  18. Kevin says:

    Hell if you can’t figure it out, forget it. I’m sticking at Typepad.

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