Blogging Software

Blogs

A little off topic but I wanted to get some input from you guys on which blogging software is the best. Currently this blog runs on WordPress and I’ve been considering to change the software for some time now. The main reason is because I want software that will make it easy for me to create the design I want and not have to use all these cookie cutter designs. I’m not even sure something like this exists. I know HTML and CSS but at the same time I don’t want to have to learn the entire template system for a specific software. I’m probably dreaming but is there a blogging software out there that would make it easier to implement an original design? Or is WordPress good enough? I’ve been researching and it seems like the top systems are Expression Engine, Movable Type, Textpattern and WordPress. I’d like to hear from people who have experience with any of these blogging systems or any other ones that I haven’t mentioned.        

23 Comments on "Blogging Software"

  • Jordan says

    WordPress templates can be pretty flexible, the trick is to start from scratch rather than just changing an existing one. Essentially you can pull the posts into any design you wish.
    For jordandchan.com/chch i actually designer the site as a static html file then gradually stripped it into a WP theme. The WordPress Codex has some useful articles on the loop and template tags to getyou started.

  • Antonio says

    Jordan thanks! I will have to check it out.

  • Andrew says

    Yeah, WordPress is great. Check out http://codex.wordpress.org/ for some information on how to do template tags. You can do almost anything you want with it. It’s got a bit of a learning curve, but if you spend a little bit of time with it, you can pick it up pretty fast.

    Plus, I really dig the current layout.

  • Antonio says

    Thanks Andrew. I also like the currently layout but I’m the type of person that gets sick of things easily so I want to update the look of the site. This theme is basically the default WordPress theme that i just hacked to make my own. I’m also looking for something more opened. I’m going to check out the codex site and see what I can come up with.

  • To be perfectly honest, I find WordPress’s esoteric and non-standardized methods for accessing your blog’s data to be terribly unintuitive and limiting. Moveable Type is the only other system I’m very familiar with, but I strongly feel that it offers a much more flexible template system that’s actually thoroughly documented and much more standardized. WordPress requires you to remember very unique function names for simple things whereas Moveable Type has a core vocabulary from which you can easily guess the name of template tags that you don’t have memorized.

    This is a subtle difference, and I frequently use both systems but it makes all the difference in the world in terms of pleasure and ease of development.

  • Jordan says

    I must admit, I too found Movable Type a lot easier to work with. Sadly I also found it a lot more expensive to work with…

  • Arden says

    EE4lyfe!

    With EE, you can design your html from scratch and just drop your EE tags right in, customizing them as you like. The documentation is great, and the community is absolutely stellar. You *could* start with one of the default templates, but it really doesn’t even work like that anyway. Plus it comes with a bunch of great modules that you mifht want to implement at some point or another. If you can afford it, I highly recommend it.

  • Brendan says

    I’m running wordpress, but right now I’m at a point where wordpress tags (which are not at all nice to use) and required structure are really limiting what I can do. To get any kind of functionality that exists in txp, EE and moveable type, one needs a bunch of plugins, not at all a good time.

    EE and Moveabletype are two platforms I’m looking at squarely. WordPress 2.3 is due out soon, which offers some new features, like tagging, but is still very bloated when one tries to add functionality.

  • Brett says

    I have used Movable Type, WordPress, and Textpattern. I currently am using both MT and TXP, both for different things.

    Textpattern is elegant but has a somewhat steep design curve. I really like it, but it has a very different internal structure than WordPress and Movable Type.

    I’ve used Movable Type for years, and it’s a very flexible tool. It’s not quite as elegant as Textpattern, but I find that I can (usually) make it do exactly what I want.

    I had a lot of difficulty with WordPress, especially with the admin interface. I eventually stopped using it entirely after several redesign attempts.

  • brennan says

    Two cents for WordPress, but in general hacking existing themes is a miserable way of trying to come up with a new design. I’ve had a much better time with a wordpress theme called Sandbox. It’s a well structured, blank theme that’s easily styled with CSS. It also has a few different column layouts, and is “Widget” compatible, making most current plugins easily usable.

  • The problem is that you always need to ‘learn’ to some degree a templating system. Now, of course, some systems could be easier to learn.
    The problem is that a simpler template system means less flexibility. To keep the flexibility, the template system must be complex… as much as the PHP one of WordPress.

    MovableType is the choice I could have made, if only it wasn’t a static solution in a language that I don’t like. Sure, you have more features, but when you have to add something, there begins the pain (relating to WP). The big issue is the static engine, that makes a blog solid vs traffic peaks (like a caching solution) but it’s a problem when you have dynamic content or you change your layout.

    I don’t know very well EE, and I’ve dropped Textpattern due to a poor feature set and gui.

    My.02€. 😛

  • If 98% of what you’re going to do with your site is blog, then WP, IMHO, is the easiest one to get a quick grasp of and style up to your heart’s content. I agree that you should simply start from scratch and make your own template, using others merely as references.

    I’ve used textpattern on a site before and felt that I only scratched the surface with its potential. Its core is pretty backasswards when it comes to templating up a site, but it does start to make sense after a while. I eel like i couldhave done much more than i did with it.

  • Antonio says

    Thanks for all the excellent advice guys. It has really helped me out a lot and I think I have a better understanding of the capabilities of each system. I do like WordPress, for what I need to do it’s good enough, and I did some searching tonight and I found some excellent themes that I just might use. I’m also going to read more about creating my own theme for WP and at the same time I want to demo some of the other systems and see how I like them. Thanks again guys.

  • Matthew says

    I’m feel like I’m a little late to this party (or late in blog terms), but its been a great thread; and I am definitely sympathetic, Antonio, when it comes to looking at blog software from a designer perspective. I’m using WordPress for my non-design work (http://www.mystainedteeth.com) and while I found it easy to bang away at the CSS and some of the PHP, I am not looking forward to much structural change.

    WHICH IS TO SAY: keep us posted as you’re creating your own theme. I’m thinking of doing the same and would love to hear your take on it as a designer.

    AND: yeay on your blog. great stuff.

  • Antonio says

    Thanks Matthew. I’ll definitely keep everyone posted.

  • Brian says

    Go with EE. I haven’t used it for a production site yet, but I’ve toyed around with it as much as I have MT, and EE just makes more sense, and out of the box it functions as more than a blog, and more like a real CMS. The only cavet is that if you’re not running a blog, or running a separate section of a site not as a blog, the CMS still refers to the content as a blog. The custom fields option is really nice too. I’ve used WordPress on a few sites, and while it’s nice, I always have to hack around the templates with PHP to get it to work the way I want. I’m knowledgeable with PHP, but sometimes I tell myself “I shouldn’t have to be doing this to get the desired functionality I want… WordPress should be smarter than this.”

  • I might add: if you need any kind of support, feel free to contact me – the mail in the comment field is correct. I’m quite skilled with WP, if you’ll choose it. 😉

    And since I’ve a little project ‘on hold’ about a WP plugin to ease theme development, you could give me good advices if I ever got the time to work on it. 🙂

  • Antonio says

    Folletto, sounds like a great idea. Shoot me an email and we’ll chat.

  • Jeremy says

    WordPress is what I would recommend ou use.
    It is the easiest to get your head around, the community is great, and there is a lot of documentation out there. Nothing else has proven to be any better. All of them come with their downsides for sure, but they are all marginal… sorta. I am very happy with WordPress. It scales very well, and with each release it gets better and better. That is what I would use for the long haul.

  • Jeremy T says

    EE is amazing.

    I have just switched from using wordpress to EE. I will never go back. EE has most of the functionality you need a plugin for WordPress built right into it. It is so compartmentalized and easy to use. Imagine “custom fields” on steroids if you will. Download the core and try it out. Just as easy to install as WordPress.

  • http://www.squarespace.com is the Blogging / CMS software I have been using and I think it is hands down the best thing out there. Reliable, Beautiful, and Useful.

  • Antonio says

    Wow I just checked out Square Space and it has a freakin’ dynamic theme editor. I’ve always wonder why blog systems didn’t have built in WYSIWYGs. Great Idea, I have to check this one out. Thanks man.

  • dave says

    I’ve used all the above and for what you are doing I would say stick with WordPress.