Textpattern

Although I have no qualms with WordPress, I’ve always been very curious about Textpattern since it is made by the people who freely gifted A Humane Web Text Generator on the undeserving web.

Despite having a WordPress database importer there were a few problems. Excerpts, links, and categories either did not make it through or were mangled. The content transition was otherwise convenient.

Textpattern appeals to professional bloggers and publishers since it allows for the customization of almost everthing it outputs to a browser and can seem downright unfriendly at times. Plugins and themes are not the drop-in additions found in other blogging software and take a little time to install even for seasoned web workers. The theming engine is simple enough, custom XHTML namespaced tags allow the expected insertion of content from the database. Although these tags are numerous, Textpattern has solid documentation and community support. Of the few prepackaged themes I installed all of them seemed unnecessarily complex evidenced by huge, detailed INSTALL files that required overwriting the current theme (or painstakingly copying each relevant code from the ‘pages’, ‘forms’, and ‘style’ menus). Additionally the ‘Forms’ menu was typically broken into almost a dozen seperate sections.

CSS, Javascript, plugins, and theme structure are all stored in the database which make quick edits by a console-jockey impossible which is the feature that bothered me most. However, the admin interface is quickly navigable once you’re familiar with Textpattern’s semantic naming peculiarities and it even features an integrated CSS editor of sorts.

Uploading files and images happily allows the addition of categorization and meta information but callously renames the uploads to a sequential, meaningless number that requires use of the CMS(Content Management System) to decypher.

It seems to me that Textpattern is an unfinished CMS teetering on the edge of greatness. If I wanted absolute, professional control over my site I would likely switch permanently. Most notably the team needs to work on packaging themes which would go a long way to bringing Textpattern more web-hobbiest than web-professional.

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