As readers will know, I have been toying with the idea of switching my blog from Blogger to “WordPress”.
I put that term within quotes, because the first thing I had to learn was exactly what WordPress is! As it turns out, that’s not such a daft question. The core WordPress is basically a content management system. I’m told it is very functional – you can customise most everything! The “pure” product is free, open-source… all the good things we expect from the internet. The product is based at wordpress.org, is written in PHP – a scripting language which is supported by absolutely everyone – and hits a MySQL database. MySQL is another ubiquitous product, traditionally with an “open” ethos, although I learned from my last project that they are now owned by Oracle. Oracle are a big, proprietary database company, so it puts into question just how “open” MySQL remain into the future. In any case, WordPress can work with other databases. As you might imagine, this application is known simply as “WordPress”. As you might imagine, WordPress sticks all its content into this database, exactly as it should be done, and renders it on the fly to the reader.
So the raw product is just an application that you host somewhere. And that’s where the ambiguity comes in. There is a host – wordpress.com – a commercial company, out to make a profit, who support this application, and who are also known as WordPress! These people host the application, provide a slick web-based UI to help you to create posts etc. There’s a trade-off, because in making it easy to create content, they also hide some of the detail.
So, I was looking at moving my blog from Blogger to a WordPress site. I’m still not convinced that either will beat the other with a knockout blow, but aficionados tell me that WordPress is ultimately the better platform. In terms of which WordPress host I used, it didn’t overly matter. The main requirement was that it import my existing posts in. WordPress.com was the front-runner, just because I already follow three blogs which are all hosted by wordpress.com, so it is just easier in terms of a single sign-on for all of it (you can read a post anonymously, but as soon as you wish to interact, you have to log in.) That’s who I ended up going with.
And yesterday, I finally bought a wordpress.com subscription. This is my first post using that platform. My initial impressions? Well, it imported okay. It didn’t get many of the inter-page hyperlinks right, I need to check them over the next few days (weeks, probably). I’ve found a “funny” with my email, which I need to try sorting today. In that respect, I have already seen the “dumbing down” effect, as previously, everything was under my control. Visually, they’re much of a muchness. wordpress.com offers a richer choice of templates, but once you choose a template, you’re quite tightly-defined. I always liked their themes, another reason for moving. Blogger has fewer templates, but has more choice exactly how you lay your page out. I’ve chosen a very minimalist theme, for now.
So, no firm feelings on whether I’ve made the right choice. I’m still in the have I / haven’t I made. I’m already missing the spellchecker that I used to have on Blogger. Worst-case, this is a few pounds down the drain.