I’ve been struggling with the future of personal publishing. It’s not an existential turmoil, just a technological questioning. There’s never been better or more tools to publish online as an individual. For just about whatever one wants to put online, a tool exists to get it there. It’s a great time to be a-publishin’.
Heather and I are continually having long talks about dooce and the tech behind it. I’ve held off moving away from the tool we use there, as the site is mostly working just fine.
The struggle for me is that as the landscape changes and new concepts and widgets emerge, I’m always asking myself if the tool(s) I’ve chosen can grow with me. Blurbomat is published using Movable Type 3.2. There is a newer version, but I can’t be bothered to install it. I’ve got a private blog in WordPress, skinned to look like the public one generated by Movable Type. WordPress has come a long way in the past couple of years, but it doesn’t quite work the way I’d like for a site like dooce.
So I wasn’t really surprised to read Matt Haughey’s account of the switch on his personal blog away from Movable Type to WordPress. In 2005 I recommended to a friend to check out Movable Type and I hadn’t looked at the default templates until they asked me to help. After wading through all the divs (not a dis, just saying) I decided that it was pretty clear why so many people were moving to WordPress: sweet migration scripts, easily theme-able and free. When GEORGE! migrated away from Blogger/Blogspot to his own hosted space, we had him up and running on WordPress in a matter of minutes. He downloaded a couple of plug-ins and had all his Blogger entries live in about 10 minutes. Pretty sweet. It didn’t hurt that WordPress was a few-click install at his host.
However, what happens when you have thousands of entries? Hundreds of thousands of comments? Can these off the shelf systems handle it? And what about Drupal? Or building your own in the Django framework? Or Radiant?
If you aren’t using Movable Type, WordPress or Textpattern, what do you use for industrial-strength content management (that doesn’t cost over four figures)?