A few months ago, I silently moved Mike Industries from the aging Movable Type platform to the quicker-developing WordPress platform. I didn’t even plan to change platforms, but after more than a week of trying unsuccessfully to move from Movable Type 3.0 to Movable Type 4.0, this blog was in such a state of disarray under the covers that I began to wonder if switching to WordPress would be quicker altogether.
You see, Movable Type is a platform designed to be static, and only through hackerations with .htaccess files and “bootstrap loaders” can you simulate a truly dynamic publishing system. Part of my move to version 4.0 was designed to use these new dynamic abilities, but in the end, it mucked up so much of my (admittedly custom) setup that I just wanted out completely.
WordPress, in contrast to Movable Type, is designed from the ground up to be dynamic, and through smart caching, it can be made to scale like a static site. This is much the same as how we designed Newsvine to be. As a designer and developer, it just feels a lot cleaner.
Three months in, and now on the newly released WordPress 2.5 (great job on the interface, Happy Cog!), I couldn’t be happier to have made the switch. WordPress certainly isn’t perfect, and if I was starting from scratch, I might have chosen ExpressionEngine instead, but it sure is nice to be on a platform where if I don’t like something, I can just write a few lines of PHP or download a plug-in to address my needs.
Speaking of plug-ins, I’ve already written one of my own that I will release in a few days, but these are the ones I’ve had to install so far (shocking that some of these are even necessary, but oh well):
- Raw HTML – Best plug-in ever. Allows you to wrap PHP/HTML/JS/etc codeblocks in special comments which prevent WordPress from reformatting or encoding them (shocking this is necessary, but a very welcome plug-in)
- Domain Mirror – So that I can use subdomains like “mobile.mikeindustries.com”
- Mint Bird Feeder – So that I can use run my feed through Mint redirects
- Periods in Titles – So that I can use periods in my URLs
- Ping/Track/Comment Count – So I can separate comments from trackbacks from pings
- Subscribe to Comments – So users can receive e-mail notifications when there are new comments
- TextControl – To control how WordPress encodes and adds linebreaks
So anyway, that’s about it for now. If you’re on a publishing platform that you don’t love but you’ve got too much inertia to convert to another, take it from me: spend the few days necessary and get it done… it’s not that hard… and I’ve got custom stuff all over the place.