I'm Not a Huge Fan of WordPress

I’m not a huge fan of WordPress. There – I said it! I know many of you out there in the blogoshere are gasping, covering your children’s eyes, and shaking your heads in disbelief, so please have patience with me while I explain.

I have been creating websites for 10 years and using Dreamweaver to make those sites for most of those 10 years. Before Dreamweaver, I actually wrote straight HTML and to this day, I spend more time on the code side of Dreamweaver than on the design side. That means I look at and modify the straight HTML rather than clicking buttons to make changes. I find I have more control on the code side of DW and the design side doesn’t always do what I expect.

A few years ago I decided it was about time I started a blog. I didn’t know much about blogging at the time but really just wanted to check out the various options so I could speak intelligently about blogging. So I did a little experimenting and after eliminating a few blogging platforms, I settled on WordPress. The deciding factor was how well the content is separated from the code.

I have since learned how to modify the code, including CSS so I can make my own design or I can modify the code to make a blog match any website. So now you are wondering about my opening statement. It sure seems like I actually like WordPress. Oh yes, I do like many aspects of WP and it is the most popular blogging platform for a reason. It also has so many plug-ins which greatly extend its functionality.

The downside for an experienced web developer like myself is the control. I like to see my pages like I do in Dreamweaver. In DW all pages are tangible files in a folder on my hard drive and on my desktop. More importantly, they are all files I can backup and save. They are also files that I upload to the server with every other image and file needed to complete a site.

WordPress consists of a ridiculous number of files but very few actual pages. All information is stored in a database and then displayed as web pages. It’s a totally different concept than the way pages are made in Dreamweaver. WordPress creates web pages dynamically, meaning they are created and displayed as the user requests them. All information needed to create the page is stored in the associated database. Pages in Dreamweaver are static, meaning they always appear the same in the user’s browser. There are exceptions to this rule because DW is also capable of creating dynamic pages but here I am talking only about static DW pages.

The purpose of the WordPress platform is different than that of a program like DW so it makes sense that the page information is stored in a database and displayed in the browser dynamically. And non-web developers love what they are able to do with WordPress. They can create a blog or a full website with thousands of designs to suit their needs. They can choose to allow comments on their blog posts and they can add users who have control over pages.

All great capabilities, right? Sure, except for the control. It’s always a control thing with me. If I setup a page in WordPress and allow the site owner control of that page, she can make changes to the text or add new images or text. That’s great but she can also delete that page. I haven’t found a way to let the site owner modify a page but not delete the whole page.

Backup is another issue with WordPress. Many new bloggers setup their blog and start posting and all is going along fine for months until something goes wrong with the database and all is lost. Where did all that hard work go? What happened to the database? Where IS that database exactly? All questions that never cross the mind of the new blogger until that day when it’s mysteriously all gone. It’s similar to the computer user who doesn’t give a thought to backup until his hard drive crashes, but then of course, it’s too late.

Fortunately, there are plug-ins for backing up the WP database and if installed and setup properly will make a backup of all posts and pages as often as the user requests. Unfortunately, most new bloggers don’t know about the plug-ins or don’t understand they need  to use them.

I find that most plug-ins are short on documentation and often leave me with more questions than answers and I don’t use many of them for that very reason. There are some that I have tried and liked but somewhere along the way they started acting up on me and I ended up deleting them.

If you use WordPress or Dreamweaver or both, please share your thoughts.

Written by Laura on October 30, 2010

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