Liking WordPress, Not Loving WordPress

WordPress 2.0 is not very Web 2.0-friendly.

The good news is that the transition from Movable Type to WordPress was a relatively smooth one <http://codex.wordpress.org/Importing_from_Movable_Type_to_WordPress>. Plus there is no longer that extra space in the product name to worry about:

* Importing from Movable Type to WordPress « WordPress Codex <http://codex.wordpress.org/Importing_from_Movable_Type_to_WordPress>:

“So you want to see what it is about WordPress that makes it Movable Type’s equal?”

The bad news is that WordPress takes a rather paternalistic view about embedded content (e.g. Amazon iframe-based product links, YouTube videos, Google maps) because SOME embedded content MAY be malicious. It’s a baby and bath water thing:

* YouTube Support « WordPress.com <http://wordpress.com/blog/2006/01/26/youtube-support/>:

“Now for various reasons, mostly related to your security, we don’t allow people to post arbitrary code in their blogs. Unfortunately this has the side-effect of blocking some cool stuff like YouTube. However as a test we’re enabling a special way for you to embed things like YouTube without having to mess around with any code.”

In the above, read “special” as “proprietary.” So WordPress 2.0 is not very Web 2.0-friendly. For example, all of my Amazon book review links are not only not displayed but the code itself was REMOVED in the import process. Lovely. So my “run away” video link doesn’t appear embedded. I’m still mulling my options.

They’ve also replaced all my preferred straight quotes with curly quotes and not provided a built-in way to export content.

The built-in editor stinks. No matter how I try, I can’t get blank lines between my paragraphs on my About page. I wish that WordPress would just leave my HTML alone.

There are a lot of WordPress plugins <http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugins> that can provide the missing functionality, but the plugins are not organized like the pieces of software that they are. I want a CNET-like model where I can search and browse for plugins by name, keyword, date, popularity, rating, etc. Plan on spending a lot of time plowing through the various semi-organized plugin sites to find what you’re looking for.

So yes, WordPress is Movable Type’s equal. Lots of key functionality missing, poorly organized plugins and themes, things not working that should work. I still like WordPress, but I wanted to love it.

2 Replies to “Liking WordPress, Not Loving WordPress”

  1. OK, first off: love the look of the new site. Much easier to focus on the content (vs. the MT design you had earlier, which I felt had waaaaay too many links on each post. It cluttered the content and just made it hard to focus on what needed attention.)

    Anyway… a few tips from a recent MT-to-WP convert:

    * I think you’ll find the WP-Plugins.net site to be much more to your liking than the WP site itself.
    * For flash embedding, see Kimli’s Flash Embed. I agree with you that WP’s “we know best” approach is not particularly helpful for power users. Fortunately, I’ve found plugins that get me around almost every scenario I’ve wanted to push the envelope (embedding Flash, executing PHP or javascript, etc.).
    * Also, be careful to distinguish between wordpress.com (the hosted site for people who don’t want to install/configure software) and WordPress, the blog application available for download at wordpress.org. Support forums at wordpress.com will often conclude that things aren’t possible (since wordpress.com users can’t install any plugins, for example), while WordPress users have no problem at all. (This is a case where naming them different things – like 6A did with TypePad vs. Movable Type – would have helped.)
    * I’m pretty sure you can disable the curly-quote issue. Can’t remember right now where that option is, though.

    Personally, I’ve been very happy with WordPress. I’ll be interested to see if you grow more enamored of it once you get it tweaked just so, or if it remains a tad off-key.

    –Rick

  2. I have, so far, been able to solve some of my WordPress problems.

    For example, when I unchecked the “Use the visual rich editor when writing” box under Users / Your Profile and re-inserted the HTML for my posts with Amazon iframe data, the product links correctly appeared. See my list of 5-star rated albums, for example. I wonder if WordPress would have stripped out my HTML goodness if I had that setting off to begin with.

    Turning off the visual rich editor also enable me to fix my About page.

    Keep in mind that I keep all of my weblog content in a FileMaker database, with “edit” and “view” links so I can directly link from FileMaker to the WordPress database. If I didn’t have this option, I would have had to re-import everything.

    I’m still discovering HTML that is broken, for example when I try to present URLs in brackets. Incidentally, I do this so that the body of the message can be cut/pasted into email and still have the links work. You never know how your content will be used.

    I need to find a search/replace plugin to undo all of the curly quotes. How I hate curly quotes! Damn you Bill Gates!

    But I still like WordPress much more than Movable Type. I especially like not having to rebuild my database all of the time. I also like not having a million HTML files kicking around on my server.

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