CMS compared (Was: Blogger versus WordPress versus TypePad)

23 Jul 2008 - 5:05pm
6 years ago
11 replies
2752 reads
Elena Melendy
2008

Thanks for raising this issue, Tiago. I'm in the process of designing a
simple personal website, basically in blog format but on a domain I own,
and I'm paying for hosting. I started out with Wordpress but got fed up
with its inflexibility. I've started again with Drupal. Before I invest
too much time in learning it, does anyone have experience with both
Drupal and Joomla (or any other free CMS) and an opinion on which offers
the most flexibility for design (which I can do myself) plus the most
available working scripts/functions/modules/widgets (which I don't want
to learn to code and don't have the time to troubleshoot).

I've already done extensive research, but am looking for personal
opinions from design-sensitive folks. Thanks.

Elena

>
> Tiago wrote:
>> Hello creative people,
>>
>> Can I get your opinion on blogging services? I'm unsure on which one
>> to start using: Blogger, WordPress or TypePad.
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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Comments

24 Jul 2008 - 9:21am
Santiago Bustelo
2010

Elena, can you be more specific about WordPress "inflexibility"?
Either I am not understanding your problem, or you are dealing with
restrictions that are a result from working around an existing
template instead of building your own.

If you are hosting your own website, you are not constrained to
customize just the CSS, nor to follow a rigid structure for your
HTML. With WordPress templating system, you are free to start your
template from scratch, as well as using different templates for
different sections of the website.

You have full design freedom. The CMS function is to feed your
template with content, not to structure your design.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Jul 2008 - 10:37am
Jef Lippiatt
2008

Elena,
I've been researching CMS for a while myself, and have done a few
builds to see what kind of flexibility is available. I personally
have not touched Drupal, but I did start with a build of Joomla! 1.0
and now have two builds of Joomla! 1.5 in the works, with a third
upcoming.
I am overall pleased with Joomla! as I have been learning more by
using it. I have also tried Dolphin which is made by boonex ( I do
not recommend Dolphin) not as free as you think and very hard to
understand...
Joomla!, however has won me over. on the joomla.org page if you click
on extensions there are a wide variety of add-ons that fall into a few
categories: free, register and free (meaning have to sign up on a site
to get to the download but still free), purchase once (usually
reasonable prices), subscription purchase (varies from a few months
to a year).
The development community for Joomla! is big, and you can find plenty
of templates and add-ons for free or reasonably priced. You may want
to check out these sites about Joomla!: http://yootheme.com ,
http://youjoomla.com and http://joomsuite.com
Hope that helps.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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24 Jul 2008 - 11:08pm
Elena Melendy
2008

Hi Santiago and Jeff. Thanks for your replies. Jeff, I've barely
skimmed the Joomla site but will take a closer look.

Santiago: Actually, you've understood my problem exactly. I chose
WordPress initially because I thought the best solution for me would
be to modify an existing theme, and WP is reputed to have the
greatest number of free high quality themes.

I soon discovered that themes designed by others were not going to
work for me, and that in any case, modifying them was more difficult
than simply editing the CSS. I've accepted that I'm going to have
to build my own templates--but I'm going to have to build them no
matter which CMS I choose.

Drupal claims that it works on a different conceptual model, which I
find interesting. One thing I like about it--this may be relevant to
the discussion at large--is that the site administration interface is
very easy to use.

Elena

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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25 Jul 2008 - 9:29am
Christine Boese
2006

Nobody is speaking up in defense of Typepad, and as a beta tester
since it first came out in 2002, I suppose I might note a few points
(I manage about 30 Typepad blogs, many migrated from Movable before
that, and am getting ready to start working in Wordpress, for a new
project).

Several things a good designer can do with Typepad that some people
seem to struggle with on Wordpress (although I'm not anticipating
having any trouble with it myself), which is CSS modifications, and
sidebar or menu modifications. I've yet to encounter blog software I
can't twist up royally, and use for all kinds of things it was never
intended (altho blog software keeps evolving to add plug-ins for
things that I've already kludged out earlier, which ends up making my
work in vain).

So while, design-wise, Wordpress is luring me with wider design
possibilities than Typepad, it is only out of my own laziness, because
I am convinced that if I took the time, I can adapt ANY site CSS for
use in Typepad. But the beauty of blog software is that it is a quick
and dirty CMS, and I just don't want to take the time, and I want to
move into a completely different look and feel.

Typepad has both Custom CSS and Advanced Templates. I actually built
all my Advanced Templates before they came out with the Custom CSS
features, around about 2005 or so. What was handy for me, and a key
point I want to make, is that it was SO EASY (the user interface for
content input). I was teaching at the time in Montana, and while we
were moving the student newspaper to Expression Engine (powerful, but
a difficult user interface for newbies), it was WAY QUICKER to just
punt my students all to guest accounts on my Typepad class blog, and
have them branch out and start building their own blogs from that.
Semesters are too short, esp if you are the kind of professor that
also makes students READ wonky stuff and DISCUSS things, rather than
just play on the computers all day.

That's the rub, eh? Typepad hasn't dominated just because it is easy
to use, but because PEOPLE LIKE using it, and that makes them feel
encouraged to post, to stick with their blogs, to be enthusiastic as
they step up to start a post. McLuhan would point out, the kinds of
conversations you have by candlelight are far different than the kinds
of conversations you have under fluorescent light. Here we are,
interaction designers, and nobody is talking about the subtle
colorations the blog input interface brings to the kinds of things one
writes about, and how writers FEEL about the interface.

One of my Montana students then later took an internship at the LA
Times, where he reported to me that they were running Typepad blogs
out through the LA Times shell, this before Six Apart even started
officially offering the business tools for Typepad. He said he noticed
an interesting effect (because he was working with the journalists on
these blogs). The journalists would automatically start to prefer
putting their stories into Typepad, while procrastinating when they
had to approach their regular, "official" newspaper CMS. I know this
as well from CNN, where they didn't have comparative data, but the CMS
was such an awkward old clunker, it made ordinary journalists view
their interaction with it as a necessary evil.

Imagine what happens to writers when you take away the "evil" part of that.

So yeah, I'm lazy, and I just realized the other day that I haven't
touched the CSS of my Typepad Advanced Templates in a long time, and
they are starting to show their age, and Typepad may be too. Not its
user input interface tho. And I also remember this from back in the
day, when I was on Radio Userland blogs and migrated THAT design
(which was not CSS based, EVIL) to Movable. It was like night and day.
But Movable is still powerful, but also showing its age. I just don't
trust its guts, cuz it messed up my SQL stuff terribly, and the
comment spam on even password-protected blogs was simply unforgivable.

But those kids, Ben and Mena Trott, now probably long gone from Six
Apart, they had it going on, you know? You know that Movable and
Typepad were running their feeds automatically to index.rdf files in
the early 2000s. Why are some people having to work to tool up their
Wordpress stuff for RDF? I've taken it for granted for almost 8 years.
Blah.

If you want the best control over your CSS, you can't beat Typepad.
Custom CSS is brilliant, even if I've only needed it for teaching.
That's just cuz I was too lazy to move out of my Advanced Templates,
but if I had to start from scratch now, I'd be in nothing but the
Custom CSS stuff.

But I am looking forward to a fresh start, and a powerful new
Wordpress theme I'm looking to try out.

Chris

On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 12:08 AM, Elena Melendy <emelendy at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Santiago and Jeff. Thanks for your replies. Jeff, I've barely
> skimmed the Joomla site but will take a closer look.
>
> Santiago: Actually, you've understood my problem exactly. I chose
> WordPress initially because I thought the best solution for me would
> be to modify an existing theme, and WP is reputed to have the
> greatest number of free high quality themes.
>
> I soon discovered that themes designed by others were not going to
> work for me, and that in any case, modifying them was more difficult
> than simply editing the CSS. I've accepted that I'm going to have
> to build my own templates--but I'm going to have to build them no
> matter which CMS I choose.
>
> Drupal claims that it works on a different conceptual model, which I
> find interesting. One thing I like about it--this may be relevant to
> the discussion at large--is that the site administration interface is
> very easy to use.
>
> Elena
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=31537
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

25 Jul 2008 - 11:03am
Elena Melendy
2008

Christine Boese wrote:
> Nobody is speaking up in defense of Typepad....
> Here we are,
> interaction designers, and nobody is talking about the subtle
> colorations the blog input interface brings to the kinds of things one
> writes about, and how writers FEEL about the interface.
>
> If you want the best control over your CSS, you can't beat Typepad.
> Custom CSS is brilliant, even if I've only needed it for teaching.
> That's just cuz I was too lazy to move out of my Advanced Templates,
> but if I had to start from scratch now, I'd be in nothing but the
> Custom CSS stuff

Chris, I'm bowled over by your passionate defense of Typepad! To be
fair, though, I think it hasn't been raised as a possibility because in
my original post, I specified that I was looking for a free CMS. To get
control over CSS and advanced templates in Typepad, I'd have to pay $15/mo.

I'm not making any kind of statement about the business model--just
about my current budget.

I'm definitely interested in the kind of discussion about interface
you're describing. It seems to me that one of the reasons Typepad can
charge $5/mo for the basic, single-blog, non-customizable feature set is
because of the high quality of its UI. When I said that Drupal's
interface was "easy to use," I meant that it has very sensible
architecture. The UI is nothing to speak of, though.

25 Jul 2008 - 11:11am
Christine Boese
2006

Thanks, Elena. I'm also feeling that Typepad is getting dated,
however, and I chart that directly to the disaster that was the
Movable 3.0 launch, which was when the entire Movable community
started migrating en masse to WordPress and Drupal. That didn't hurt
Typepad, but it took most the strongest design energy away from the
Movable/Typepad platform, as if a center of gravity shifted.

I had an advantage, being a Typepad beta tester, of having 20% off the
monthly Pro fee for life, and for years after, any guest I invite also
gets my discount grandfathered in (don't know if that still works, but
it means $11.95 a month, unlimited blogs, unlimited something else,
space, I think). I wouldn't get anything but the pro account.

But then I'm looking to spend at least $6.95 a month now, for
WordPress hosting, so I figure, six of one... l just suck it up and
support my habit.

Chris

On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 12:03 PM, Elena Melendy <emelendy at gmail.com> wrote:
> Christine Boese wrote:
>>
>> Nobody is speaking up in defense of Typepad....
>> Here we are,
>> interaction designers, and nobody is talking about the subtle
>> colorations the blog input interface brings to the kinds of things one
>> writes about, and how writers FEEL about the interface.
>>
>> If you want the best control over your CSS, you can't beat Typepad.
>> Custom CSS is brilliant, even if I've only needed it for teaching.
>> That's just cuz I was too lazy to move out of my Advanced Templates,
>> but if I had to start from scratch now, I'd be in nothing but the
>> Custom CSS stuff
>
> Chris, I'm bowled over by your passionate defense of Typepad! To be fair,
> though, I think it hasn't been raised as a possibility because in my
> original post, I specified that I was looking for a free CMS. To get control
> over CSS and advanced templates in Typepad, I'd have to pay $15/mo.
>
> I'm not making any kind of statement about the business model--just about my
> current budget.
>
> I'm definitely interested in the kind of discussion about interface you're
> describing. It seems to me that one of the reasons Typepad can charge $5/mo
> for the basic, single-blog, non-customizable feature set is because of the
> high quality of its UI. When I said that Drupal's interface was "easy to
> use," I meant that it has very sensible architecture. The UI is nothing to
> speak of, though.
>

25 Jul 2008 - 1:41pm
Christine Boese
2006

This came up in a discussion I was in the other day too, about whether
blog software is a de facto content management system. My argument
here would be, if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks
like a duck, it must be a duck.

So, like there were lots of people who turned up their nose at HTML
back in the early days, because it was such a thin and pale imitation
of SGML, a REAL markup language, after all.

So why did HTML in effect trump SGML? Could it be because its ease of
use enabled far greater widespread distributed or democratized uses
than the more powerful and full-featured SGML?

For that matter, why would anyone use a PC, a weak, desktop machine,
when mainframes are so much more powerful, and do so many more things.
Could it be because the ease of use enabled far greater widespread
distributed or democratized uses than the more powerful and full
featured mainframes and "microcomputers"?

Chris

On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 12:15 PM, Elin Sjursen <elin at elinesca.com> wrote:
> I wouldn't think of typepad as a cms anymore than I would blogger:)
> But that said, there is another really neat "typepad" like publishing
> system out there - squarespace.com. It is really easy to use and very
> customizable – it even contains an analytics system. They've just
> launched a new version. Have a look,
> Elin
>
> On 7/25/2008, "Christine Boese" <christine.boese at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>Thanks, Elena. I'm also feeling that Typepad is getting dated,
>>however, and I chart that directly to the disaster that was the
>>Movable 3.0 launch, which was when the entire Movable community
>>started migrating en masse to WordPress and Drupal. That didn't hurt
>>Typepad, but it took most the strongest design energy away from the
>>Movable/Typepad platform, as if a center of gravity shifted.
>>
>>I had an advantage, being a Typepad beta tester, of having 20% off the
>>monthly Pro fee for life, and for years after, any guest I invite also
>>gets my discount grandfathered in (don't know if that still works, but
>>it means $11.95 a month, unlimited blogs, unlimited something else,
>>space, I think). I wouldn't get anything but the pro account.
>>
>>But then I'm looking to spend at least $6.95 a month now, for
>>WordPress hosting, so I figure, six of one... l just suck it up and
>>support my habit.
>>
>>Chris
>>
>>On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 12:03 PM, Elena Melendy <emelendy at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Christine Boese wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Nobody is speaking up in defense of Typepad....
>>>> Here we are,
>>>> interaction designers, and nobody is talking about the subtle
>>>> colorations the blog input interface brings to the kinds of things one
>>>> writes about, and how writers FEEL about the interface.
>>>>
>>>> If you want the best control over your CSS, you can't beat Typepad.
>>>> Custom CSS is brilliant, even if I've only needed it for teaching.
>>>> That's just cuz I was too lazy to move out of my Advanced Templates,
>>>> but if I had to start from scratch now, I'd be in nothing but the
>>>> Custom CSS stuff
>>>
>>> Chris, I'm bowled over by your passionate defense of Typepad! To be fair,
>>> though, I think it hasn't been raised as a possibility because in my
>>> original post, I specified that I was looking for a free CMS. To get control
>>> over CSS and advanced templates in Typepad, I'd have to pay $15/mo.
>>>
>>> I'm not making any kind of statement about the business model--just about my
>>> current budget.
>>>
>>> I'm definitely interested in the kind of discussion about interface you're
>>> describing. It seems to me that one of the reasons Typepad can charge $5/mo
>>> for the basic, single-blog, non-customizable feature set is because of the
>>> high quality of its UI. When I said that Drupal's interface was "easy to
>>> use," I meant that it has very sensible architecture. The UI is nothing to
>>> speak of, though.
>>>
>>________________________________________________________________
>>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

25 Jul 2008 - 2:14pm
Brendan Cullen
2008

I'm a big fan of Textpattern (http://textpattern.com/) myself.

I found myself stripping out a ton of inline PHP and stuff trying. to
learn how to template Wordpress, Txp seems to just stay out of my way.

I'm pretty much a strictly front-end ((x)HTML/CSS/JS) guy, and found
myself "just getting it" with Txtpattern, had my template plugged
into Txp and was up and running in one night.

There's a super active comunity and a great book (Textpattern
Solutions) that really brought my understanding to a whole new level;
it's a deceptively simple CMS with a lot of power. I consider it to
be somewhere between Wordpress and a full on Framework/CMS like
Joomla or Drupa (nothing against those at all, by the way).

Here's a pretty good Textpattern gallery: http://welovetxp.com/

I've played around a bit with Expresion Engine
(http://expressionengine.com/) as well, but not ready to drop $99 for
the license just yet.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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25 Jul 2008 - 6:16am
Elinesca
2008

There is always Moveable Type - I'm using MT4. It's a bit
complicated, but probably is a bit more flexible than Wordpress. Then
there is something called textpattern - don't know much about it but
it might be worth a look?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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25 Jul 2008 - 11:43pm
Micah Freedman
2008

I did the CMS search a couple of years ago, built a few sites on
WordPress, one with Joomla, and settled on Drupal. Unfortunately, I
can't say Drupal is easy to learn. Also, WordPress does some things
out of the box that you need multiple plugins (they call them modules)
to do w/ drupal. Thinks like automatically creating hierarchical urls,
and breadcrumbs.

On the plus side, it's extremely powerful, especially if you have PHP
skills, and once you know how it works, there's a lot that you can do
fairly easily. It's gotten a little better with v6, and for v7 (which
probably won't be out for 9 months), there's a big push to improve
usability. There are also decent books out there now.

If you just want a basic content site w/ a blog, I might still go w/
WordPress, but if you have something more like an app that you're
building, or you have content types that you want to enter as data
fields, Drupal might be the way to go. There's also a pretty good
ecommerce solution that runs on Drupal called Ubercart.

29 Jul 2008 - 9:53am
Dave VanEsselstyn
2007

*Strongly* recommend Big Medium - great CMS built for designers. Really
intuitive features, great support from the company.

http://globalmoxie.com/projects/bigmedium/index.shtml

--ddv

On Wed, Jul 23, 2008 at 6:05 PM, Elena Melendy <emelendy at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks for raising this issue, Tiago. I'm in the process of designing a
> simple personal website, basically in blog format but on a domain I own, and
> I'm paying for hosting. I started out with Wordpress but got fed up with its
> inflexibility. I've started again with Drupal. Before I invest too much time
> in learning it, does anyone have experience with both Drupal and Joomla (or
> any other free CMS) and an opinion on which offers the most flexibility for
> design (which I can do myself) plus the most available working
> scripts/functions/modules/widgets (which I don't want to learn to code and
> don't have the time to troubleshoot).
>
> I've already done extensive research, but am looking for personal opinions
> from design-sensitive folks. Thanks.
>
> Elena
>
>
>> Tiago wrote:
>>
>>> Hello creative people,
>>>
>>> Can I get your opinion on blogging services? I'm unsure on which one to
>>> start using: Blogger, WordPress or TypePad.
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

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