I was looking for a free blogging tool, which could be installed on my server and give me more control and feature over my existing blog with Blogger. The most popular option seems to be WordPress, but it was quite a disappointment as it can’t even fulfilled my simplest and reasonable requirements. Perhaps Blogger isn’t that bad after all, though being quite outdated in terms of feature (he is old, but steady).
How do I come across WordPress? It seems to come up at the first spot by googling “Free Blogging Tool”. Then I remembered about Movable Type, thus I google for “Movable Type vs. WordPress”. There seems to be awfully lots of article regarding migration of Movable Type to WordPress, could it be Movable Type is loosing its ground? After running through a few comparison articles, it seems like Movable Type is an old hack who is not so FREE, and WordPress is the new superstar, open source with tons of plug-ins and support. So, WordPress it is (WordPress is PHP-based, something I am familiar with while Movable Type is Perl-based).
What is my basic requirements?
- A decent blogging tool
- A decent minimalist theme (besides the default)
- Pretty URL (Permanent links which are search engine friendly)
- Hassle Free Comment
- Image Verification (CAPTCHA) for comment to stop spam from bots
As long you I can post and users are allowed to comment, and it doesn’t look to bad, I’m happy. WordPress seems pretty alright.
Though the default theme is quite minimal, but I don’t want it to look exactly the same with probably thousands of blogs out there who might be too lazy to change their default theme. The risk is too high, so I need to change for the sake of change. Though there are thousands of themes listed, but it is a pretty useless page since no preview is available, and I have no intention to click on them one by one.
By searching for the key word minimalist, I somehow landed on PlainTXT.org, which have a few themes which my suit my taste. Talking about theme preview, found one at alexking.org, and Minima Plus quite suit my taste (it kinda look like my blogger’s minimalist theme).
So, WordPress has tons of themes, including a few good choices for a minimalist theme.
Yes, something Blogger does not have, and WordPress has it. It should be pretty common nowadays.
WordPress does support permanent and pretty link, but not by default. It requires more effort than a click on a button, and best result is achieved only if your web server is Apache and support mod_rewrite. Here is the full guide and a simpler version.
I am somehow disappointed as why such a simple and popular feature is not enabled by default and require such extensive manual configuration and pre-requisite.
Hassle Free Comment
I hate site which prohibit the public to comment, where we must sign up for membership before we are allowed to put in a few words. WordPress does allow anyone to comment, but somehow, Name and E-mail is a required field. I can agree with name, but not email (people just don’t trust you with their email these days). I can’t seem to be able to find solutions to disable email as a required field after searching up and down for an hour or so. I am super frustrated for not able to find a solution such a simple requirement. This ticks me off to drop WordPress (I know it is a small issue, but why can’t it do such a simple thing!).
And 2nd of all, the field validation is a total disappointment. It redirects you to an empty page with no layout or links what so ever, with the message “Error: please fill the required fields (name, email).” in plain text. WTF! You create such a wonderful and pretty page, and you are too lazy to give it a proper validation result output page?
WordPress totally fail me in terms of its simplest comment feature.
Image Verification (CAPTCHA) for Comment
There seems to be quite a few CAPTCHA options around, and I tried Anti Spam Image and it seems to work fine.
WordPress fails 1.5 of the 6 basic requirements of mine, and I wasted the whole afternoon researching yet couldn’t convince myself to use it. Perhaps better luck with Movable Type the old hack? Somehow just not very motivated to review the next one.
Somehow WordPress is quite similar to Mambo, both PHP-based and depend heavily on plugins and themes contributed by the community. I found a lot of these plugins have bugs, doesn’t work quite a well and a lot still get listed though have been stagnant for years. There are only so few reliable plugins.
I need a plugins listing page which only list the goods ones, the very best, so that I won’t waste my time trying them out one by one, and getting frustrated at times. I found 8 Valuable WordPress Plugins, but it doesn’t have what I want (interesting though).
What should WordPress do?
- Support Pretty URL by default
- Support Image Verification (CAPCHA) for Comment by default
- Allow options to enable/disable required field for comment
- Polish up the verification result output page for comment
- A plugins listing page to list out the best of the best for each category, with proper review and screen shots (keep the list useful and short)