Making the move to WordPress


I have been running this website for around five years now. Over that time it’s evolved from a few simple pages about marketing consultancy services into a much larger beast.

The first step away from flat HTML pages came in 2003 when I built the site using Textpattern. At the time I remember narrowing down the choice of system to use to Textpattern and WordPress. They had very similar features and it was a close call between the two, but I plumped for Textpattern.

There wasn’t too much of a learning curve with Textpattern, but before long I kept bumping up against limitations. Serving static pages as well as chronologically sequenced blog content was possible, but not as simple or intuitive as it could have been.

More recently I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with getting pings and trackbacks to work on my Textpattern installation for this site. It involves plug-ins, which increases the potential for problems and code errors. Eventually I have to admit I gave up, and started looking into alternative systems.

Having installed and test driven several alternatives I chose WordPress. It handles non-chronological pages easily and includes trackbacks and pings out of the box. It will also handle multiple content areas on the same page, which was always a frustration with Textpattern. A site I found useful when evalutating potential new systems was

I don’t know exactly why this is, but compared to where Textpattern and WordPress were when I initially went down the Textpattern route, there is now a much more obvious difference between the two. WordPress seems much more rounded and complete, whereas Textpattern seems to have only inched forward in terms of functionality and user interface.

Migrating content over from Textpattern was as simple as running a built-in script, which moved the content without any errors. The template migration was quite straightforward – I merged the XHTML/CSS from my old Textpattern templates with code taken from the great Minimalist Sandbox template. I then went through all my old content and removed the Textile (although had I wanted to continue with Textile there’s a plug-in available to run Textile in WordPress).

So this site is now running on WordPress instead of Textpattern. You won’t notice much difference initially, although over time I will be delving into the WordPress plug-in library to add new functionality to the site.

I haven’t abandoned Textpattern altogether as I still have many client sites still running using it. However depending on my experience with this site, I may start migrating client sites as well. I will keep my Textpattern user manual going though, as it’s useful resource that’s downloaded regularly, and if it helps people who want to use Textpattern then that’s a good thing.