A wordy move

Jun 15, 2012

I just now made my entire site WordPress-based.

Right up until this point, my site was always a custom-written set of PHP scripts, and when I recently introduced this blog, I was faced with a dilemma: Should I attempt to write my own (simple) blogging system, or should I attempt to integrate an existing, widely-supported system into the site?

You see, I love programming and I generally prefer to write my own stuff, such as my website. Rolling your own software has some pros:

  • You know all ins and outs of it
  • You decide exactly what it does and how it does it
  • You get the awesome feeling of creating something yourself

But so does using existing systems:

  • It saves you time
  • It’s easy to use
  • It’s well-tested
  • It’s full-featured

At first I tried to write my own blogging system. It actually worked and was used to post the first two posts visible on this blog. It used a few regular expressions to convert plaintext to basic HTML and was generally easy to use.

It also turned out to be very limiting. Basic typography such as headings and lists were difficult to parse correctly, it didn’t have a commenting system, it didn’t have search, and it didn’t have tag support, just to name a few of the numerous limitations.

It was partially alright, though. I know HTML/CSS and was perfectly able to write posts using HTML tags, but it quickly became too much of a hassle. That could be fixed by using rich text editors such as TinyMCE, but then I would be using third-party components, which would somewhat undermine the concept of making it myself.

Finally, I decided that if I were to use third-party components anyway, I might just go all in with it. After finding a very basic WordPress theme designed for custom theme development, I began tweaking it until I arrived at something reasonable. At first, my intention was to simply implement the blog part in WordPress, but then decided that it was easier to just run the whole thing with it.

And so, the homemade blogging system, as well as the second site redesign were retired after only two weeks. After the effort I put into moving everything to the new platform, I doubt I will be going back to my old site ever again anytime soon.

As with everything else, I still keep a backup of the old site and the blogging system (contact me if you want the sources for a very basic blog to kickstart your own development). It’s too good to throw out, even though it’s probably not that good.