I installed Movable Type when I first started this blog, but I’ve been itching to change for months. A small part of that itch is Movable Type’s new pricing model, but it’s really more then that. I have a number of needs that MT isn’t really filling, and I’d like to move to something that works better for me.
The big problem is that I can’t find anything that’s quite right. I looked at Drupal for a while, but there are a few things with it that I just couldn’t cope with:
* It’s a much bigger system then I really need, with a lot of complexity.
* It’s written in PHP. If I could treat it as a black box, I wouldn’t really care, but I couldn’t because…
* It’s essentially hard-coded to need MySQL. In theory, it’ll work with PostgreSQL, but I fought with it for days without actually getting it to work. There were a number of deeply-embedded MySQLisms in the code that I just couldn’t fix, even after digging into the code for a while.
* PHP’s SQL code is too scary to look at. While the core of Drupal goes to great lengths to prevent SQL injection attacks, a number of add-in modules looked pretty clueless. In addition, all of the SQL code is built up using
command = 'insert into foo (a,b) values ("'+value1+'","'+value2'");'-style commands, which are inherently ugly and prone to problems. I really prefer the Perl (and Ruby) DBI version:
insert into foo (a,b) values (?,?), where you provide
value2 as parameters to the DBI
* Template modifications are a royal pain compared to MT. Out of the box, all of the templates used HTML tables, unlike MT’s clean CSS-only templates.
Now, if I was setting up a big community site, none of these would really matter to me. I could spend a couple weeks on templates. Heck, I’d expect to spend a while tweaking things until they worked right for me. If I was doing this from a corporate perspective, I could just hire someone with experience in Drupal, like Bryght. But I’m not building a big community site, and I’m not willing to pay someone to do it for me. I’m largely doing this for the fun of it, and Drupal doesn’t seem to be a lot of fun.
So I’m back looking again. MT has cleaned up their prices, so I could just install MT 3.1 and be done with it. It wouldn’t be a lot of work to upgrade, and there’d be a handful of benefits, but it still wouldn’t give me an HTML photo gallery or a decent interface for static non-blog pages.
I’m fighting off the urge to use Rails to write a blogging system for myself. Hopefully, if I fight off the urge long enough, then someone else will do it for me, and I can just take their framework and adapt it to my needs. One can always hope :-).