WordPress v. my bespoke blog system

As you may recall, my previous blog was run on a bespoke PHP application designed from scratch by myself. This blog is run on WordPress, and I think I’ll enjoy blogging much more because of it.

Firstly, I will say, designing a blogging system from scratch was, for me at least, fun! I got to know a lot about my chosen environment (PHP/MySQL), and learnt many things. The design decisions I had to make along the way also forced me to think carefully about what concepts were essential to a blog system, and which ones were not. And it was a great experiment — to be free from the constraints of another system, and to have complete control (or so I thought) over every aspect of the website. I thought it would be great.

However, despite how intensively I coded the system, there were many issues that persisted with it for a long time, and some have not been fixed even until now. Two issues in particular were particularly irritating — the comment moderation system, despite the integration of Akismet, was never very good at picking up spam, which caused me to have to escrow all comments, taking up a lot of my time. The “approve” button also didn’t work properly, approving all comments instead of just the targeted one. I could have fixed this easily, but in the end just couldn’t be bothered.

Posting was also quite a hassle, as the editor I had built lacked many of the advanced WYSIWYG features of WordPress, as well as missing things such as online media uploading (I actually had to FTP in every time I wanted to insert an image), and for a long time, there was no support for drafts or scheduled publishing, meaning it was not possible to write articles in advance.

In the end I think primary reason why I stopped blogging. The effort of getting a blog post done was just too much, as I was constantly fighting with my own system – sometimes I even had to rewrite parts of it on-the-fly. As is evident, all these missing features were not beyond my ability to implement — but I just wanted to write stuff, not be constantly programming all the time (especially since I had other projects to work on and having to keep all the blog system’s codebase in my mind was not feasible).

This all, obviously, made my blogging experience simply not fun. So this time, I think I’m going to sit back and relax, and leave all the details to WordPress, so I can just write. It may not be as self-fulfilling (or macho)… but it’ll definitely lead to more enjoyable blogging. Of course, I still did develop the theme, so I won’t be completely detached from the development — but it’ll almost definitely be much less effort, and hopefully won’t have to code something every time I want to post an article!

Of course, if your primary intention is to learn about server-side web development, then making your own blog or other web application is a great way to practice your skills. If your primary intention is to actually blog, however, then I don’t recommend using your system to do so. What do you use to run your blog?