MT Migration and philosophical musing
I’m sure this board is getting pounded with people who are trying out WordPress since the licensing was announced for MovableType 3.
Count me in as one of the WordPress hopefuls. I have a site that I am trying out with WordPress 1.x. Word Press is looking to be a great project and hopefully one that will be hugely successful.
One of the biggest differences that I see as a long-time Movable Type user is that the tag system in Movable Type is relatively easy to use and understand. It doesn’t matter what language it’s in for me as an end user. I learn the syntax and use the tags. I don’t have to dig around to make the tag work. It just is. Sure, it isn’t perfect. There are many flaws with Movable Type…
The issue(s) that I think will slow WordPress adoption are the things that made Movable Type so popular. Movable Type’s tags are simple. Their functionality is simple. While on the surface, Word Press seems simple, it appears to have some extra developer/code wiz/magic/power buried in php files. This is nice if I want to dive around and make potentially damaging edits and hack about. It is not nice if I want a tag to behave in a certain way, but discover that an assumption has been made about how I’m going to use that tag and that assumption is hard-coded.
This is the beauty of Movable Type (and to the advanced developer, I’m sure it’s biggest flaw): I get what I put into my template and no more. I have the power to use the templates and tags as I see fit (and suffer the pains if I don’t follow correct syntax). It’s kind of like Lego, in a way. It’s blocky, but if I use the right pieces, I can build a car or a spaceship or a house.
The same can be said for WordPress. It’s Lego, but at a higher resolution. Which is great on the surface. However, I start to see that the bricks fit together only a certain way. In the case of Word Press, the tags generate extra markup. This can be a wonderful thing and wow, that’s cool that the php file a couple of directories down does that. However, that approach smacks of developer-centric thinking (as opposed to developing toward stupid end user thinking, i.e. me.). The example that comes to mind is that category tag(s) in WordPress have been thought of as only used in a list form. That’s great for most uses, but it closes up other uses; uses that may not even exist until some super creative person shows us all an amazing new way to use category tags. By putting a developer assumption ahead of the user, it limits the end user. I have to go through code gymnastics (and cause issues when I upgrade) by hacking buried files.
WordPress isn’t alone in this type of thinking. Textpattern doesn’t (at least as of this writing) have a way to handle publish dates without a plugin. The author of Textpattern has a preference and that is to not use publish date as a navigational aid. That’s his perogative, but I believe it closes off people wanting to use Textpattern for things besides blogs. It’s the main reason I’m attempting to use WordPress and not Textpattern.
I think it would behoove WordPress to open itself up (I know it’s free and the source code blah blah blah) by closing itself. I’m not talking about licensing. I’m talking about how the developers view end users. I’m talking about developing for people who don’t know php, and don’t want to know it beyond getting their latest rant up or publishing their photos for whoever. Perhaps all it needs is some wonderful person to produce a template that is catered less to PHP and coder-centric thinking and more towards smart-ass internet publisher who might not want to know everything PHP.
Word Press is an amazing piece of work. This isn’t meant as a “WordPress sucks” diatribe. Only wondering if the developers are considering taking WordPress more mainstream? Will it continue from a developer-centric view or will the diletantte be considered as well? Will user-testing ever be a possibility? (I know WordPress is free.)
Does WordPress want to be the online publishing tool that is easy to use and understand?
Again, this is not meant to be a dis or a slam. I think WordPress, if development continues, can be a force to be reckoned with, letting more people have a voice and all of that. I just don’t think that it will as it stands now, because as a user who’s not comfortable going lo-fi (blogger, blogspot, typepad, livejournal, etc) and who knows just enough code to be dangerous I need a tool like WordPress, but feel that WordPress is more about the code than the end product that I can create with the tool.
Maybe this should be an email to the developers instead of a post…
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