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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software Pick of the Week
The macosxhints Rating:
8 of 10
[Score: 8 out of 10]
In addition to running macosxhints.com, in my 'spare time,' I try to keep our family and friends up to date with the goings-on in our lives. Over the years, I've tried various ways of doing this: a version of Geeklog hosted on my home machine, a homebrew solution also hosted at home, and using iBlog (a previous PotW) to update the site on .Mac. While each of these had benefits, they all had downsides. I couldn't sleep the home machine (and upload speeds were limited), Geeklog was overly complex for a home blog, my homebrew solution was a real pain to update, and iBlog really works best if you do your updates from the same Mac all the time. I wanted to find a solution that would work from anywhere, and that was hopefully simple enough that my wife Marian would enjoy using it, too. (Trying to explain how Geeklog works is quite the challenge, since it's a complex system).

Enter WordPress (WP). I had looked at this app a couple of years ago, and wasn't overly impressed. But just this week (today, in fact), they have released version 1.5. It has come a long, long way, and now meets nearly every need I have in a simple-to-use blog package. Since WordPress makes development versions available, I've been using 1.5 since late last week (thanks for the pointer, Merlijn!). In that time, I've managed to migrate all of our various blog posts (we're not prolific, with something under 100 posts in four years :) ) into WordPress, and I've been thrilled with the results.

WordPress is, by far, the simplest MySQL/PHP app installation I think I've ever done. Assuming you have MySQL and PHP working, and you've created the database, installation takes well under two minutes. They claim five in their documentation, but I think that's conservative! I first installed it on my OS X box, and it ran perfectly. I experimented with the engine a bit, and like what I saw, so I uploaded it to our personal site, and started migrating, finding themes, etc.

The admin interface to WP is wonderful; it's amazingly simple to add and (for the most part) manage stories, links, and other content. The editor is brain-dead simple to use, though you'll get the most out of it if you know some HTML for links and formatting. Note: if you're using Safari, you'll probably want to read this hack, which explains how to get "quick HTML" buttons above the editor window. They are disabled due to a Safari bug (apparently), but they seem to work fine when enabled. Version 1.5 of WP now includes the ability to restrict comments to registered users, and there are some additional anti-comment-spam measures as well. The whole admin interface just feels "smooth" and I have yet to find something that I couldn't figure out just by looking at it. Since it's a web-based app, you can post from anywhere you have a browser, and WP even includes a bookmarklet to let you quickly turn any site you're viewing into a new post on your blog.

One of the great things about WordPress is that it's been around for a while, and has a very active community. I downloaded a bunch of themes (the list is near the bottom), and found one I liked (GreenTrack; my modified version is seen above right) to use as a starting point. There are also a ton of plug-ins available (from various sources), a support forum, and a documentation wiki (and probably many other WP-related sites, too). The fact that you can already find a large number of WP 1.5 themes, despite its official release date of today, is a testament to the activeness of the community -- very impressive!

Customizing themes is relatively simple, though WP isn't a completely template-driven setup. For instance, in the theme I chose, there was no "written by" tag, which I wanted. To add it in, I had to find a theme that already had an author line, then find the proper PHP function call, and then insert that into the proper template in the theme I was using. Not impossible, by any stretch, but if you're not comfortable rooting around in HTML and PHP files, it can be a bit intimidating. I had similar issues with the sidebar, where a couple of categories I wanted weren't listed, but I was able to add them using the same method. I even managed to get iTunes info into the sidebar (just because it's fun!) using Freshly Squeezed Software's Recent Tunes, which outputs and uploads (via FTP or SSH) a user-configurable HTML file for current and recent tracks.

WP is simple to install, relatively powerful, and has an easy-to-use admin and writing interface. Add in a strong community developing themes and plug-ins, and you've got a really strong application. It's not perfect, but it's probably the closest I've seen yet for a simple, easy-to-use, yet not 'feature stripped' blog. And now if you'll pardon me, I'm off to find some more cool plug-ins!
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  • Currently 2.00 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (9 votes cast)
 
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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software | 21 comments | Create New Account
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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: Jesuit on Feb 15, '05 03:28:20PM

Very cool thanks for the writeup. I am a contributing developer and a member of the team that is working on the admin interface, so your comments were great to read.

I think you are right, one of the main things going for us is our user community. Whether it is through Podz and the forums, or through myself and a handfull of others on #wordpress you can always expect to find some help.

Thanks again.



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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: robg on Feb 15, '05 06:52:54PM

Thank *you* folks for a great product ... it will probably go up to a 9 or 10 as I use it some more! :)

-rob.



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WordPress - Plug it in
Authored by: gatorparrots on Feb 15, '05 03:58:44PM
While the base install of WordPress is great, you may appreciate some of Alex King's plug-ins for it, making the overall user experience that much better and more feature-packed (while still maintaining the overall simplicity). I suggest installing his WP 1.2 Plugged In version, rather than the default install of WordPress. Grab it here.

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WordPress - Plug it in
Authored by: robg on Feb 15, '05 04:50:34PM

I'm assuming he'll release a 1.5 version at some point in the (near?) future -- that's the one I'd suggest people wait for. The current one, at least as far as I can tell, is based on the older 1.2 WP version.

1.5 has some really nice new features; I'd hate to give those up to get the plug-ins pre-installed...

-rob.



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WordPress - v1.5 released
Authored by: MtnBiker on Feb 15, '05 10:01:36PM

http://wordpress.org/download/

which is linked from the main page shows v1.5, so I guess your good write up prompted them to release it.

---
Hermosa Beach, CA USA



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WordPress - v1.5 released
Authored by: d00d on Feb 16, '05 11:45:31AM

You've jumped to a silly conclusion. WordPress was the talk of the blogging town long before this writeup and 1.5 was released late Valentine's Day night.

I'm sure they appreciate the positive press, but this hardly prompted them to release 1.5.



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WordPress - v1.5 released
Authored by: robg on Feb 16, '05 06:37:07PM

You are correct -- in fact, I didn't write this up until *after* 1.5 was released, because I didn't want to review a not-yet-done piece of software.

-rob.



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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: MacManX2 on Feb 15, '05 05:17:11PM
Another great WordPress tutorial site: http://www.tamba2.org.uk/wordpress/

---
Contributing Editor
http://www.macmerc.com/

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Template tag reference
Authored by: klimas on Feb 15, '05 05:48:33PM
You don't need to muck around with other people's themes to figure out how to add template items -- there's a reference here.

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Template tag reference
Authored by: robg on Feb 15, '05 06:10:19PM

Thanks; hadn't found that one yet!

-rob.



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Template tag reference
Authored by: mdawaffe on Feb 16, '05 05:21:57AM
There's a better reference at http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags

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Template tag reference
Authored by: robg on Feb 16, '05 07:08:23PM

I get an error page when I try that URL...

-rob.



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Template tag reference
Authored by: mdawaffe on Feb 16, '05 11:53:52PM

Just refresh. The Codex service is a bit new :)



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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: luhmann on Feb 15, '05 09:22:15PM
A great Mac OS X companion to WordPress is Ecto. It allows you to compose your posts in a fully cocoa environment, even pictures, and then upload them to your site. You can even edit older posts. It also works with TypePad, Blogger, Movable Type and some other similar programs.

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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: d00d on Feb 16, '05 11:43:05AM
I personally prefer MarsEdit.

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Is there a built-in captcha?
Authored by: thoughton on Feb 16, '05 07:10:47AM

Would like to avoid having everyone have to register and remember logins and passwords, but I have previously added a captcha to MovableType and it was a royal pain. WordPress sounds good, but not if I have to spend hours getting a captcha to work.



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Is there a built-in captcha?
Authored by: robg on Feb 16, '05 09:39:10AM

I don't see a built-in one, but there are several plug-ins that offer captchas, and they look simple enough to install. I haven't bothered yet, since our site is on a password-protected page. However, I'm also planning on using WordPress on a more public site, and in that instance, I will implement one of them. I've read the install instructions for a few, and they don't seem onerous.

-rob.



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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: ZZamboni on Feb 16, '05 04:38:37PM

I also started using WordPress recently, and have to agree that it is very nice. In particular 1.5 has a highly-polished look and feel, and has many great features. I also use Ecto (mentioned above) for posting to it, and find it a perfect combination.



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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: terceiro on Feb 18, '05 07:20:55PM

WP is indeed very easy to install and use, and, as a special happy bonus, converted all my old Movable Type entries and comments (and categories!) perfectly.

I'm also evaluating the equally easy-to-install Textpattern. Right now I can't decide which one will work better for me. Textpattern has the better interface, but WordPress has better comment management (as of 1.5). Either one will be better than my current spam-o-rama Movable Type blog.



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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: bblog on Sep 25, '08 03:21:00PM
thats very cool, my person mean: i love gospel the best chilling music on earth

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WordPress - Easy to install (and use) blog software
Authored by: early on Oct 06, '09 11:22:38PM
I love wordpress. Wordpress & Gekklog one of the best software in the internet for site creating and blogging.

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