Moving in to WordPress

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So now the blog is a little over a week old, I figure I may as well detail some of the things surrounding the process behind the scenes.

There seem to be a few major platforms for blogging. Discounting the obvious Blogger / LiveJournal / TypePad / Xanga / MySpace style of blog it seems you have a choice between Movable Type, WordPress, and other. I’ve never used Movable Type myself, but I have heard bad things about it. In the past I’ve worked on setting up a few WordPress installations for friends, so naturally I went with what I was familiar with. Since that time WordPress has upgraded from 1.5 to 2.0, though so the process wasn’t entirely smooth.

According to press-release-style reports about WordPress 2.0, it features an improved administration panel. The only improvements I see in the administration panel are that it has a few new graphical features, but is otherwise unchanged. This is a shame, particularly since I’ve always considered the administration panel counterintuitively designed. Maybe it’s on-par for other blogging software solutions, but it seems to me like WordPress could benefit from having some more sensible organization of its administrative features. For example, the default administration panel is called the Dashboard — It’s one of the main divisions on the administration end, but it’s essentially useless — Just a way for you to get news about WordPress. Another example: There is a section called “Links” which manages the Sidebar / Blogroll. It’s rather counterintuitive considering that when I think of “Links” I think of… links, those things that ideally I intersperse throughout posts, not the things on the side of the page.

Moving on, the first thing I noticed is that WordPress 2.0 has an “improved” (by which I mean inferior) writing panel. Apparently it’s a “rich-text” writing panel and it has given me no end of grief even in only some 14-odd postings. Pressing the Return/Enter key does not insert a break tag but instead inserts a paragraph tag. Not to mention that it seems to have trouble deciding whether or not to close your tag or not, leading to misaligned paragraph blocks and general annoyance. Not to mention the text-box into which I type posts frequently jumps up to the top, forcing me to scroll back down to where my text is while I am editing it. Fortunately I was able to turn this feature off.

The issue of images is another thing that I have been having a bit of trouble with. Largely I’m a text person, but I’m making an effort to spice things up a bit. Resizing images though is a pain, yet at the same time I don’t want to make people download huge images off the front page, nor to waste my bandwidth unnecessarily. With the help of some people in the WordPress support chats I’ve managed to find out where the default thumbnail size is, so I may be able to change the thumbnail images to be much more visible, probably two or three times larger.

Tracking is the last and probably least important issue. I’ve installed several tracking plugins thus far and yet none of them really seem to be working. Counterize was only tracking my activity on the site, Site Meter’s WP plugin wanted me to sign up for Site Meter’s service, and Popularity Contest doesn’t seem to be working at all. I suppose I’ll find a way to get this working when I can get a chance.

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