Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Questions for my fellow bloggers

I know that quite a few people reading this are bloggers yourselves, and out of curiosity I want to ask the following questions. Please post your answers in the comments, or if you want to do it privately send an email to neil at this domain.
Questions

  • What blogging package do you use, and do you host it yourself?
  • What do you like most about your blogging package, and what can be improved?
  • Have you ever tried any other blogging packages?
  • Would you be willing to change to another blogging package, and what do you think would be the reason for you changing?

I’ll post my own answers in a few days. If you take part, please be civil – no zealotry.

18 Comments

  1. 1) Self hosted wordpress (with a spordically updated mirror on wordpress.com – I’d love an automated way to mirror!)
    2) Easy to install and tweak – templating requires php knowledge, which is powerful but not good for newbie.
    3) Movabletype. Templating was much better, but it got very slow when posting as lots of pages needed regeneration. This was just as MT started to allow dynamic pages. I changed a couple of years ago, and have only just tracked all the old bad urls (I hope – the slug in movabletype was truncated, and so it wasn’t a simple job)
    4) I’d need a good reason to change now – WP being abandoned, or demonstrably buggy, perhaps – and at a point with a big security hole. The minimum I’d need in any new platform would be an easy migration, maintaining my permalink structure (I’ve had that once already moving from MT to WP)
    My biggest issue with whatever platform is that 1) I write for me, the subjects change around depending on my mood. 2) I’m convinced that this means my audience stays small (I know how many RSS subs I have) – and as a result don’t get many comments. This can be disheartening.
    The amusing thing is, my posts that are most consistently the most viewed are on a topic which holds little interest for me right now!
    Then I remember 1) and think ‘yah, soddit’.

    • Movable Type. It’s the first package I ever used and I’ve only upgraded once. I sort of host it myself, with my ex-work hosting company
    • Like most? I’m used to it.. the new version is pretty crap with its html output ๐Ÿ™
    • Only blogger for a test blog
    • probably not.. like I said, movable type is what I’m used to…
  2. ‘K:
    * Movable Type 2.661, self-hosted.
    * It meets my needs. It probably doesn’t do as much or possibly as well as others, but what I don’t know about, I can’t miss. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    * Only Blogger, in 2003.
    * I’d consider upgrading to MT4 or switching to WordPress if something happened to my current installation, but I don’t see myself expending the time & effort to do so in the near future.

  3. > What blogging package do you use, and do you host it yourself?
    Wordpress 2.6.1 self hosted.
    > What do you like most about your blogging package, and what can be improved?
    Easy to use, loads of plugins, loads of templates. Too many releases with security fixes + new features.
    > Have you ever tried any other blogging packages?
    No.
    > Would you be willing to change to another blogging package, and what do you think would be the reason for you changing?
    No. WP works fine for my needs so for me to change the new platform would have to be substantially better than what I’ve already got.

  4. Ooops, your http://www.neilturner.me.uk/about/ isn’t working right. It’s showing the raw directory listing.

  5. * What blogging package do you use, and do you host it yourself?
    Currently using WordPress 2.6 and hosting it myself
    * What do you like most about your blogging package, and what can be improved?
    It’s easy to use and updated often. Decent backend and some easily-modified themes. Documentation could be better, but that’s the case with most blogging platforms
    * Have you ever tried any other blogging packages?
    I used MT for a long time. However, it got slower and slower the more posts I had and my budget hosting couldn’t cope with the rebuilds and would time out frequently. I tried WordPress and it seems much faster on my hosting, so I switched.
    I like MT – I still consider it to be a quality publishing package – but the Perl backend doesn’t help its cause I think.
    * Would you be willing to change to another blogging package, and what do you think would be the reason for you changing?
    I’ve already changed once. I’d only consider switching if the development of WordPress slowed down sufficiently for me to worry about security, or if a fancier, shinier application showed up that made life easier for me. I’m fickle like that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. * What blogging package do you use, and do you host it yourself?
    WordPress hosted on my own dedicated server (along with other sites)…
    * What do you like most about your blogging package, and what can be improved?
    Intuitive backend, regular updates and improvements, easy to skin, easy to extend. What could be improved…hmmm…tough to say, as everything I need can be added via plugins (and I’m a fan of slim “cores”)…
    * Have you ever tried any other blogging packages?
    Apart from “blogger”, not really.
    * Would you be willing to change to another blogging package, and what do you think would be the reason for you changing?
    Hmmm…that’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t know, I guess it would all depend on numerous factors including but not limited to:
    1. The new platform would have to offer the same if not more functionality.
    2. The new platform would have to offer an easy migration from the current platform.
    3. The new platform would have to be free…like the current platform.

  7. • Movable Type 4. Hosted by the rather excellent Pair Networks. Not the Pair Movable Type though, I installed & maintain MT myself. Pair just host it.
    • Does everything it says on the tin, and does it well. The performance improvements are in MT 4.2, I just haven’t upgraded yet. When I do, my “would love to see improved” list will go away.
    • No I haven’t tried any other blogging packages. I’ve used MT since the early 2.x days and really had no need to switch.
    • No, I don’t foresee me changing blogging packages. I don’t really see what I would gain. MT already does everything I need and I’m more than happy with it.

    • What blogging package do you use, and do you host it yourself?
      WordPress. Hosted on shared and dedicated hosting, for various different sites.
    • What do you like most about your blogging package, and what can be improved?
      Easy to use. No rebuilding time. (misthaven.org.uk was getting to the point where it would take a very long time to do a site rebuild before I switched.) Easier for me to understand program-wise than MT as it’s in PHP. Flexible enough for my needs.
    • Have you ever tried any other blogging packages?
      Yes, I used MT for quite some time, and whilst I was using it it served my needs. Never really had any problems with it, apart from the rebuilding time. BUT then the folk at MT really started to confuse me with their program offerings – was it open source or not, did I have to pay or not, how to download, which branch to choose. They recently announced MT pro, which hasn’t done anything to simplify the process of chosing which “branch” of MT I should download. Basically, I got put off, it seemed to be going very commercial. I jumped ship.
    • Would you be willing to change to another blogging package, and what do you think would be the reason for you changing?
      I have no desire to change again. It wasn’t an easy task. I had to do a lot of behind-the-scenes hackery to preserve old MT-style permalinks (In retrospect had I understood WP more at the time, I probably could have changed the permalink template and saved myself a lot of work.) I still run MT on a couple of sites, but I’m not sure where that will go now, because I don’t really understand the upgrade path for the product any more. Also I’d have to re-do the theme, again, which whilst it’s not particularly inventive would probably still take a while to do.

    Hope that helps.
    Also I clicked “sign in to comment” and after a while it said I had no permission to post. It didn’t ask for any credentials. I was expecting maybe an openid thing. Still, I commented “anonymously”.

  8. * Mostly WordPress, but starting to use Chyrp (both hosted on the shared webhosting account I use)
    * WordPress – can’t really answer that without being a zealot ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s nicer to use and build with than Drupal, it’s more open source than some cms systems, and more featureful than others – it’s plugins rather than core WordPress which let me down. Chyrp – it’s just like Tumblr, but self-hosted and open source, but it’s still young and so standards and formats haven’t settled down yet.
    * Pivot, which I occasionally still use when I want a blog installed yesterday (but it’s too simplistic and a nightmare to configure for anything fancy). Movable Type, but it didn’t offer me anything more than WordPress which I was already getting comfortable with. LiveJournal for it’s private posting, which really only gets used when I’m feeling like sharing. Drupal-based systems, largely to test sites I’m developing. A few others which were nice for a while, but which didn’t offer anything WordPress doesn’t. I sometimes move away from WordPress when I get annoyed with it, but keep coming back – I suppose mostly because I know how to make it do what I want.
    * I’m waiting to see how Chyrp plays out, I may move some blogs to it at some point. Other blogs I’m sticking with WordPress because it works and I need functionality it provides which Chyrp doesn’t.

  9. Thanks for the comments so far:
    Jack: I’m aware of it, page hasn’t been created yet…
    Mrmist: I’ve noticed this too, happens to me sometimes. Best thing to do is delete all the cookies from neilturner.me.uk and try again. Not sure what causes it.

  10. I just switched from a self-hosted WordPress 2.5 installation to a self-hosted self-built blogging platform (using Django). I used different versions of WordPress for four years or so; before that, I used Movable Type.
    The reason I switched from WordPress was that I was concerned about security, resource usage, and because I am tired of working in PHP. I had switched from Movable Type because of licensing (this was before they were open source) and because I was tired of working with Perl.

  11. 1) WordPress on a shared dedicated host
    2) Easy to configure, fast, lots of plugins to fulfill all my needs ๐Ÿ™‚ And in PHP. It feels like I have full power to change anything I like
    3) Yes. I started blogging with MT. After a couple of years, one nice day it didn’t let me log in anymore. No way to resume passwords (and of course I have full access to the remote folder where it is installed). I then switched to a new blog using Pivot, and leaving the old posts in MT (that was working anyway, couldn’t just login). Then I realised that WP could import old posts from rss feeds. From that time I’ve never looked back
    4) Don’t think so. I’ve used for work several CMS, mostly Joomla. But they have too many features I don’t need, and some that I can easily recreate on WP. So, no reason to change.

  12. – Self hosted WordPress installation.
    – It’s really easy to use. Love the plugins which make advanced functionality available without having to develop them yourself. Patching upgrades could be better.
    – Not really no.
    – I’d be willing if I saw a need alright. I’ve been using WordPress since it was b2 and haven’t found a reason to switch yet.

  13. * What blogging package do you use, and do you host it yourself?
    I use WordPress, updated to the latest version, and yes I do host it myself.
    * What do you like most about your blogging package, and what can be improved?
    It does the job, it’s easy to extend, the admin interface is good too. I would like to see making themes for WordPress blogs EVEN EASIER and perhaps make it easier to use as a CMS. Auto-updates on both WordPress and its plugins would be great too.
    * Have you ever tried any other blogging packages?
    Sure. I think I use self-hosted Blogger and MT for about a year. Whilst MT was nice, I found it much harder to extend and get themes for then WordPress.
    * Would you be willing to change to another blogging package, and what do you think would be the reason for you changing?
    Frankly? No. I’m using a custom, paid design, my plugins all work and it’s just set up how I want it to be.

  14. – Drupal and Blogger.com … professionally I’m a Drupal developer, so my “work” blog is in that for credability reasons, but my personal blog is on Blogger.
    – Drupal isn’t really a blogging package – it’s a content management framework. Blogger, on the other hand, I liked because it was really simple and took no time to set up. In fact, it has only got better since Google took over – the new templates and widget options are great. It does everything I need, and some. =)
    – Yes, used WordPress too. Nothing against it, but no real reason to move.
    – No, Drupal is a pre-requisite for my professional blog and Blogger serves my private blog fine. I would only move if there was a serious degradation in the service.
    Ps – I surfed on in here via an old post of yours forwarded by a colleague:
    http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2005/06/01/damn_small_linux_in_windows.html
    What happened to THE ROCK?? He’s great. He should have a TV show. Thanks for leaving his intellectual commentary. =)

  15. THE ROCK disappeared not long afterwards, mainly because I refused to get into a war of words. I think he got bored.

  16. I’m catching up on all the blog-reading I didn’t do during the semester – forgive my lateness!
    * I use WordPress, and yes it is self-hosted.
    * I love the drop-in themes, the wide variety of plugins, and the fact that it was designed with a wide variety of blogger types in mind – casual, business, regular, etc.
    * I have used Movable Type. I have also had accounts at LiveJournal, Blogger, and Vox.
    * No way. WordPress is simply the best. There’s no reason to change. I have yet to think up a function I want my WordPress to do for which there isn’t already a plugin.